Bentonville & Fayetteville Renew Storied Rivalry

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM)--For the past 12 regular seasons, the Tigers have walked away victorious against the Purple Dogs. You almost have see it in writing to believe it.

"And we know that it’s a historic rivalry and we’re trying to do something that a lot of the best classes in Fayetteville history were never able to do," said Connor Flannigan, a junior at Fayetteville.

"Growing up here in Fayetteville, it’s like who are you playing this week," said Purple Dog wide receiver Beau Stuckey. "It’s Bentonville, so it’s a big game but we’re keeping level headed and we’re just trying to go out there and do our best and have fun."

"Oh I think it’s a great rivalry," agreed Bentonville coach Jody Grant. "Bentonville Fayetteville matchup for the last 12 to 15 years has been a great matchup and often we see each other twice in the season."

In those years, Fayetteville has topped Bentonville in four of the past five playoff meetings, all between 2011 and 2016. Second year Purple Dog coach Billy Dawson hasn't experienced a November or December meeting yet.

"The Fayetteville-Bentonville game’s got some history so I’m sure [the kids get up for it more]. We try to approach it the same."

The teams took different paths to hot streaks this fall. Fayetteville ripped through a tough non-conference slate and is 5-1, 2-1 with the lone setback to Bentonville West. The Tigers began 0-3 out of conference but are 3-0 in 7A-West play.

"Both really fast on both sides," Tiger senior Andrew Bartgis said. "Feel like our defense is a little faster hopefully. Yeah I think it’s gonna be a great matchup. It’s gonna be a really fun game. They’re a really good team, they always are. We respect them a lot."

"They’ve always been good and we respect them a lot, but we feel like we can come out and perform cause we both feel like we have pretty good teams," explained Dylan Smith, a Bentonville senior.

"This time of year they play really well. You know, they start playing well this time of year and they’re doing so right now," Dawson added.

"They’re 5-1 for a reason," said Grant. "They’re really talented and they played a really tough non-conference."

"They’re good all around just like every Bentonville team. They’re gonna be well coached. They’re gonna do what they do well and we gotta know that. We can’t underestimate them at all," Flannigan pointed out.

"They’re fast, they’re a big athletic team," added Stuckey. "So we’re just gonna have to matchup well and do our jobs every play. You know it’ll come down to four or five plays."

Fayetteville and Bentonville kickoff on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Depending on what happens between Bentonville West and Har-Ber, the winner of the Purple Dogs-Tigers game could sit atop the 7A-West after the game.

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