Week Five Of The FFN Ten: Six Unbeatens Remain
We’ve officially hit the halfway point of the high school football season. After playing five games over six weeks in August and September, the most important stretch of the fall is upcoming with five conference games left before the playoffs. There’s a sense of urgency blossoming everywhere from Northwest Arkansas to the River Valley. This is the point of the season where every team still has a chance to rattle off a few conference wins and make the postseason.
Five Takeaways From Week Five
- Six Unbeaten Teams Remain – Halfway through the season, six teams are 5-0. Elkins’ offense continues to roll through the 4A-4. Booneville, Mansfield and Lamar have represented the 3A-1 well, each with 2-0 conference marks and 5-0 overall records. Two schools in Oklahoma continue to dominate competition. Poteau has rolled its way to the top of class 4A, while Central Sallisaw has outscored opponents 205-30.
- Two More Undefeated Teams Fall – Springdale traveled to Centerton and had a 13-0 lead on Bentonville West before falling 35-22. Lincoln faced its first big test of the season and fought admirably before falling 24-14 at Pea Ridge. At this point in the season, a 5-0 record is no joke. It’s likely that more teams will make the ‘no longer unbeaten’ list each week.
- Another Good Week For Bentonville – The Tigers and Wolverines are the only 2-0 schools in the 7A-West after Bentonville shut out Van Buren and West came back to knock off previously undefeated Springdale. Jody Grant and Bryan Pratt have proven themselves as great coaches, especially come the conference portion of the season. West looks deep under backup QB Dalton McDonald. Imagine if Will Jarrett comes back healthy.
- Order Restored In The 4A-1 – Shiloh Christian, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove all took different paths to 2-0 starts in conference play. But the three preseason favorites are in position to make the playoffs. The Saints (4-1) and Tigers (3-2) play on Friday and the Blackhawks (3-2) still must face both teams. The next five weeks will be very telling of who could win a state title from Northwest Arkansas.
- Fort Smith Back On Track – Northside won by four touchdowns at Little Rock Central while Southside held off Cabot 30-24. It’s hard not to look ahead to that week ten matchup at Northside. It could decide playoff seeding and, of course, pride in the rivalry for 365 days.
Five Thoughts On Week Six
- Another Test For Siloam Springs – After heading to Benton and getting blown out 55-14 in Brandon Craig’s first true conference test, the schedule ramps up even more on Friday. Defending state champion Greenwood comes to town after a 44-27 win over El Dorado.
- Can Alma Continue Its Hot Streak? – After a winless non-conference play, the Airedales are streaking with a 2-0 record in the 5A-West. Alma has topped Vilonia and Farmington and sits atop the standings in a tie with Harrison. Doug Loughridge’s crew still must face powers like Morrilton on Friday, Harrison and Greenbrier later in the year. But Alma has positioned itself to make the playoffs again.
- Game Of The Week – As mentioned above, how could you pick anything outside of Prairie Grove at Shiloh Christian? Danny Abshier has righted the ship as the Tigers offense has began to click the last few weeks. Shiloh took a beating against 5A power Texarkana in week zero but it toughened up the Saints, who’ve rolled the last four weeks.
- How Long Will Darius Bowers Be Out? – You could argue the Fayetteville signal caller is the best in the state. But a knee injury has sidelined bowers the last two weeks. Hank Gibbs has filled in admirably, throwing for nearly 400 yards and 5 touchdowns in a rout of Rogers last night.
- Who’s Likely To Stay Undefeated? – Elkins hosts Subiaco Academy and should move to 6-0. Booneville welcomes Greenland, Lamar heads to West Fork and Mansfield gets Charleston. I anticipate at least two of the 3A-1 schools to stay unblemished. Poteau takes on Tulsa Central and Central Sallisaw faces Talihina. Each of those schools are favored to move to 6-0.