Week Ten Of The FFN Ten: Playoffs, Here We Come

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With the regular season wrapped up, there’s 130 teams that made the playoffs in Arkansas and a bunch more in Oklahoma. 35 teams from the #5NEWSFFN viewing area qualified for the postseason and have a shot to win a state title. Here’s what you need to know from week ten and looking ahead to the postseason. To view all playoff brackets and matchups, click here.

Five Takeaways From Week Ten

  1. Har-Ber Misses The Playoffs – The Wildcats self reported an ineligible player used in three games (Pine Bluff, Van Buren, Rogers) and is thus dealt losses via forfiet in each contest. Har-Ber lost to Fayetteville 42-14 last night and thus misses the playoffs after finishing with an adjusted record of 2-8, 1-6. So thanks to a 33-14 win over Heritage, Rogers sneaks into the playoffs as the six seed.
  2. Bentonville Leaves No Doubt – The Tigers shattered Bentonville West’s hopes of a conference title with a decisive 31-7 win. That’s Bentonville’s 11th 7A-West crown in the last 12 seasons and locks up the top seed for the class 7A playoffs.
  3. Shiloh Rolls Pea Ridge – The other conference title game went the same way as Pea Ridge was blown out by Shiloh Christian at home 49-13. It’s the Saints first conference title since 2010 as Shiloh earns the No. 1 seed out of the 4A-1. Jarrett Russ scored six of Shiloh’s seven touchdowns. You could argue that no one in the state is hotter than Jeff Conaway’s team after nine straight decisive wins to close the season.
  4. Streaks Continue In The Battle of Rogers Avenue – Northside won its third straight over Southside by a final score of 23-13 behind a dominant second half from Deuce Wise and the Grizzly defense. That’s three straight in the series for the Grizzlies who lock up the four seed out of the 7A-Central. Southside drops to the five seed headed into the playoffs.
  5.  Unbeaten Teams – Both Booneville & Poteau locked up 10-0 regular seasons, while a number of other schools finished 7-0 in conference play. Bentonville, Greenwood, Shiloh Christian and Ozark all ran the table heading into the playoffs with a ton of momentum.

Five Thoughts On Week One Of The Playoffs

  1. Well Deserved Byes – For four of our teams including Bentonville (7-3, 7-0), Bentonville West (6-4, 6-1), Greenwood (9-1, 7-0) & Ozark (8-2, 7-0). The Tigers, Bulldogs & Hillbillies have home field advantage until the state championship games if they make it that far. The Wolverines would have to travel to North Little Rock in the semifinals.
  2. Long Trips AwaitLincoln put up 59 points in a win over Prairie Grove to clinch the three seed out of the 4A-1 and finish the year 8-2. But the draw didn’t smile on the Wolves. Don Harrison and company must drive nearly 5 hours southeast to face Hamburg in the first round, while  Prairie Grove gets a three hour trip to Lonoke. Siloam Springs grabbed the five seed in the 6A-West and faces a near four hour trip to play Searcy. Just a couple weeks ago, Elkins was in position for a 4A-4 title, but with a few losses the Elks dropped to the four seed and must head four hours south to face Nashville. And Greenland has a three hour haul to Harding Academy.
  3. 7A Bracket Loaded – It’s hard not to look ahead to a potential quarterfinal matchup of Fayetteville and Bryant. The Hornets stung the Purple Dogs twice last season including in the 7A quarterfinals, but Billy Dawson already got revenge in the non-conference earlier this season. It’s turning into a nice rivalry. One round further, Fayetteville could face rival Bentonville in the semis. And while the Tigers have won 13 straight in the regular season, Fayetteville knows how to flip the script in the playoffs.
  4. Matchups Of NoteAlma at Pulaski Academy. For the Airedales, who started off 5A-West play 4-0, this is a nightmare draw. Alma’s lost two of its past three games and PA finished the season 9-1. Did you know: the last time the Bruins lost to a team from Arkansas was November 22, 2013 to Morrilton in the quarterfinals. That’s 54 straight in-state wins. Gentry at Mena. The Bearcats made a late surge to nab the two seed out of the 4A-4. Gentry has some momentum after a shutout of Gravette in the season finale. Charleston at Clinton. The Yellow Jackets went 10-0 and allowed just 12 points in the past five games, while the Tigers closed the year with a surprise 31-6 win over Lamar.
  5. Favorites To Win State Championships – This is purely my opinion, but I think we see a Fayetteville-North Little Rock rematch (from 2016) in the 7A. The 6A is Greenwood’s to lose. I’m picking against PA in the 5A playoffs. Either Harrison in the semifinals or Texarkana in the finals should knock off the Bruins. My pick is the Razorbacks. The 4A is intriguing as always. In my eyes, the winner of the likely Ozark-Robinson quarterfinal is the favorite, but the right side of the bracket is loaded. Expect either Shiloh Christian and Arkadelphia to make deep runs. The winner of the Booneville-Clinton SF (barring a Charleston upset of the Yellow Jackets on Friday) will win the 3A, while the 2A is up for grabs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Foreman repeat as champion, but I’ll pick Conway Christian to take down the Gators.
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