One single loss dilutes how dominant Bentonville has been the last three years. Their record in that span is 34-1. That one stings the most; last year’s state championship with Fayetteville.
“They really turned it on in December, the playoff game and we just can't let it happen again,” said Bentonville senior running back Tearris Wallace. “We have to focus and come in their ready.”
“We kind of put it in the back of our mind a little bit,” said Bentonville senior defensive back Nate Gneiting. “But at the same time it is something that happened to a lot of these defense players and a lot of offensive players as well.”
There's more than revenge on the line Friday night; the number 1 seed with a bye in the playoffs and an outright Conference Championship.
“I think sometimes we lose sight of that,” said Bentonville coach Barry Lunney. “We all tend to look towards December, but I think you have to celebrate the success along the way.”
Many people who have seen Bentonville play this year don't think there's anyone who can hang with them an entire 60 minutes.
“It's easy to say all these great things, but listen anybody can beat anybody,” said Lunney.
Especially the defending state champs. But if Fayetteville has any chance on the road against a punishing defense and a dominant running game, their quarterback and Arkansas commit Austin Allen will have to play hero.
“He's a dual threat he can run the ball as well,” said Gneiting. “He's mobile in the pocket. He can get outside.”
Head coach Barry Lunney has always told his players that everyone will give Bentonville their best shot. They expect nothing less Friday night.