BENTONVILLE (KFSM) - 0-3 typically doesn't sound like the record of any type of champion.
But don't tell that to the Bentonville Tigers.
After a winless non-conference schedule, the team has now gone undefeated in the 7A-West and has a chance to take the the conference title with a win on Friday night.
"A lot of people wanted to panic early," head coach Jody Grant explained. "Our kids and our coaching staff did not. It's just about winning the right games. The non-conference is truly just basically a warmup for conference. That's the mentality. We're right or wrong. Obviously we try to win every game, but those don't matter."
After some shuffling and changes added on with experience - the Tigers have turned around their season and are now fighting to lead the league entering playoffs.
"Seniors had to become leaders. I'll ever take some blame in that," quarterback Easton Hughes said. "We didn't have leadership like we needed. The pace of our practices weren't as fast as they needed to be. We've changed that and I think that's shown."
Since entering conference play, Bentonville has outscored their opponents 245-56 - giving the team a new confidence as they've coasted through the season.
"We've never given up on ourselves. We've always wanted to go out there and win," said center Nick Brown. "We keep on doing that so far in conference."
Now, the Tigers will end the regular season than against rivals Bentonville West.
This game has a little more on the line as the Wolverines are also undefeated in the 7A-West. In a winner-take-all matchup with a number one seed for playoffs on the line, Bentonville will fight to get their 11th conference title in the past 12 years.
"Winning conference is a tradition here," Brown explained. "We want to do it every year and we've put ourselves in the position to do that."
"The legacy of this team is to get conference championships," added Hughes. "Being the senior leader of this team, I feel like we gotta carry it on and keep it going.>
"This is the second year in a row that this game has got the magnitude that it has," Coach Grant concluded. "If we can duplicate the atmosphere that we had last year, it'll be awesome."