Tigers Off To The Races After Slow Start To Season

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -  "I think any time you’ve got an 0-3 football team there’s concern."

You wouldn't blame Jody Grant and his Tigers for being feeling that way after a winless non conference slate, but they weren’t exactly worried, explains Grant.

"We as a staff and as a team knew we were a good 0-3 football team. The only issue was making sure the kids stayed up, and don't listen to some things they might hear from the outside."

It also isn't exactly a new spot for Bentonville, as Grant knows.

"We went 1-2 last year and ended the season playing in a state championship game, so some of it is by design."

On a younger than normal Bentonville team, it took the leadership of the senior class to right the ship, says senior Andrew Bartgis.

"We kind of came together after a rough non conference and figured we needed to change something, we kind of realized that we do need to lead,and there needs to be some vocal leaders, and leaders by action, and i think we finally have that"

Dylan Smith, another senior, echoed the sentiment.

"We knew we had a good team, so once we got clicking it just kind of rolled. I think once we figured out this isn't how we wanted our season to go, kind of flipped it around and got rolling."

The Tigers regrouped and now sit atop the 7A West, a perfect 3-0 record in conference play. They’ve averaged 48 points in those three games, while their starting defense has yet to surrender a score. When the Bentonville machine is rolling, they only know one speed.

"They play fast," says Grant.  "Our front 7 is as fast as we’ve had in a long time here."

Again, this uptempo mindset is one that extends from the senior class down, says Smith.

"We take pride in it, we like to play fast, it’s something that we’ve just gotten used to throughout the years, starting as a team as freshmen we’ve always played fast and that’s something we got used to."

Their biggest test comes this Friday, when arch-rival Fayetteville comes into town. The Tigers have beaten the Purple Dogs in 12 straight regular season games.