Bentonville Looks To Spoil North Little Rock’s Perfect Season

BENTONVILLE (KFSM)--Sometimes, you just can't explain trends.

In an odd twist of fate, for the fourth straight time the 7A state championship game has kicked off at Noon on a Saturday, Bentonville will be playing. The Tigers also qualified in 2014 (beat Fayetteville), 2011 (lost to Fayetteville) and 2008 (beat Southside).

"You play all your regular season games, even playoff games are special. But state championships there’s nothing like it, you just don’t get many," Charging Wildcats coach Jamie Mitchell said.

"Well it means a lot. We did have a slow start, starting off the non-conference 1-2. A lot of people started questioning what type of team this was gonna be," Bentonville coach Jody Grant added.

Both coaches can win their first Arkansas state championship as a head coach. Mitchell took Starkville, Miss. to the 2012 state title, and Grant won multiple titles as an assistant under Barry Lunney Sr.

"[Our players] kind of understand it’s gonna be a different deal just like I was telling them, we play at twelve o’clock on Saturday," Mitchell explained. "We don’t ever do that in the regular season so it changes our routine. We’re gonna be out of our norm and we gotta be able to handle that. One team will and one team won’t."

"Coach Mitchell, what a great hire North Little Rock made in him. These kids are very disciplined. 24-1 in their last 25 football games," Grant said. That one loss came to Fayetteville in last year's 7A state championship game.

Both offenses have been rolling in the playoffs, especially Bentonville's.

"And they’ve got the best wide receiver I think that’s out there [Kam'Ron Mays-Hunt]. Quarterback is a lights out player, we’re gonna have to do a great job containing him," Mitchell said.

On the flip side, North Little Rock has been defined by it's stellar quarterback.

"He’s as scary as they come, I mean such an athletic kid, dangerous with the ball in his hands throws the ball good and he’s got some people around him that sure doesn’t hurt," said Grant.

"Our quarterback David Chapple he’s just been the difference for us on offense. He’s been the catalyst, the guy that makes us go and he distributes the ball, runs the show for us. And he’s certainly exceeded everything we could have hoped for," Mitchell said.

Bentonville looks to win its fifth title in ten years, while North Little Rock can end the Central’s drought of 12 years without a state champion.

The game kicks off at 12 p.m. on Saturday, December 2 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.