Week Eleven Of The FFN Ten: Playoffs Heat Up
One week of postseason football down, four more to go. And as good as the football was on Friday night, everyone will talk about the weather for years to come. It was frigid with temperatures in the upper 20s by time games ended. Oh, and it felt like mid-teens thanks to a cutting wind chill. Is that enough to paint the picture? It was very cold! Anyway, on to the football and some takeaways and thoughts on play throughout the six classifications of Arkansas and our teams on the Oklahoma side of the border.
Five Takeaways From Week Eleven
- No Surprises In 7A, 6A or 5A – Fayetteville (d. Little Rock Catholic), Northside (d. Van Buren) and Conway (d. Rogers) all rolled to victories in the first round. Southside took down Springdale 35-28 in a very evenly matched game. Taye Gatewood rallied for TD drives late in the 3rd and 4th quarters to bring the Mavs back from a 28-21 hole. Garrett Vaughan had two scores for the Red Dogs, who fall to 0-8 in the playoffs since 2005. Down in the 6A , Siloam Springs lost a hard fought game 49-42 at Searcy. The Panthers bounce back season ends at 5-6. And Alma lost 57-21 to 5A favorite Pulaski Academy.
- A Down 4A-1 Goes 1-4 – It’s no secret that the 4A-1 hasn’t been as strong this season as in years past. But just one team advancing past the first round? A tad surprising. Pea Ridge got shutout at home 8-0 in overtime to Central, after the Cougars drove five hours. Lincoln lost in a tough draw at Hamburg. Prairie Grove fell to Lonoke and Gentry was rolled by Mena. The lone win, a 49-6 romp, came from Shiloh Christian over Star City. The Saints are one of the 4A favorites and looked the part again.
- 3A-1 Was…Solid -Arguably the top conference in class 3A, the 3A-1 went 3-2 in the first round. Booneville won (obviously) 49-0 over Baptist Prep to improve to 11-0 this fall. Lamar clipped Atkins 28-24 and Mansfield held off Melbourne 27-20. The two setbacks? Greenland fell by two touchdowns at Harding Academy and Charleston was blanked 49-0 by Clinton, making 2018 the first season since 1995 that the Tigers failed to win at least one playoff game.
- An Average Week For The 2A-4 – Mountainburg had no issue with Parkers Chapel at home and Magazine beat Carlisle by 20. Hackett lost by nine to Mountain Pine and Lavaca fell 40-6 at Conway Christian, one of the class 2A favorites. Hector received a bye after beating Mountainburg last week, a position you know the Dragons envy after slugging out an 18 point win in the cold November weather.
- Mixed Results In Oklahoma – We started the postseason with seven teams from Oklahoma in the playoffs and just three remain. 4A top seed Poteau shutout Oologah 16-0, Vian destroyed Hugo 74-21 (Wolverines led 68-8 after three quarters) and Gore got by Wynnewood 22-14. On the other end, Sallisaw Central fell to Wayne, Sprio was blanked by Eufaula, Gans got crushed by Wetumka and Panama lost at Antlers.
Five Thoughts On Week Twelve
- Bentonville West Gets A Rematch – Last season the Wolverines began 9-0 before falling to Bentonville in the 7A-West title game and then suffering a quarterfinal loss to Conway (48-40) after a bye. Déjà vu. West fell to Bentonville in the conference championship, rested on a bye and now welcomes Conway in for the first playoff game at Bentonville West High School. You know Will Jarrett wants to extend his career for at least one more week.
- Fayetteville & Bryant Renew ‘Rivalry’ – The Hornets won in the non-conference and quarterfinals last season. Fayetteville got revenge early in the year and now the two familiar foes square off again. Fayetteville has the best receiving corps in the state led by Connor Flannigan and Beau Stuckey, complemented really nicely by Luke Charboneau. This game wouldn’t be happening in the quarterfinals had Bryant not blown a 21-0 lead in the 7A-Central title game against North Little Rock in week nine.
- Tough Draws – Mansfield got a gritty win over Melbourne. The reward? A trip to 3A power Osceola. Same can be said for Mountainburg and Magazine down in the 2A. The Dragons took out Parkers Chapel and now must go on the road to face Junction City. The Rattlers knocked off Carlisle by 20 at home? Load the bus and head for defending state champion Foreman.
- Around The State – A few matchups to watch out for, just out of sheer entertainment value. In the 5A quarterfinals, Little Rock McClellan looks to avenge a heartbreaking loss to Pulaski Academy in a rematch of last December’s state title game. Little Rock Christian traveling to Texarkana could provide some fireworks as well. Down in the 4A second round, Arkadelphia takes on a Treylon Burks-less Warren team, while Nashville meets Bauxite in a 4A-7 battle. To the 3A, where Rison hosts Mayflower and Clinton welcomes Prescott. Finally in the 2A, Gurdon at Hazen is a crazy good game for the second round.
- Total Teams Remaining – Three schools in Oklahoma plus the following in Arkansas. Two 2A, three 3A, three 4A, one 6A & five 7A. That’s a grand total of 17 schools left, down from the initial 32 headed into the postseason. Check out all the brackets and matchups around the state by clicking here.