Bentonville & Northside Take Different Paths To 2nd Round Showdown

(KFSM) -  Playing deep into November isn’t just an expectation in Bentonville; it’s a way of life.

"I mean, it’s the way we’ve been growing up, we grew up just going to these games and just watching the Tigers be great on the field every Friday night," says senior kicker Sam Younger.

Meanwhile, Fort Smith Northside hasn’t played beyond the second round since 2005. Two years ago they had a chance, playing at home against the Tigers. It’s a game the Grizzly seniors, including Greg Washington, remember well.

"Trust me, my sophomore year, we lost to them out here in round two; all the seniors have not been past round two, so it’s the biggest deal ever."

That year, it was Northside coming off a bye week and Bentonville coming off a first round victory; this time around the roles are reversed, but each team is confident in their path.

"We look at (the bye) as a positive," says Bentonville coach Jody Grant. "it gives you a chance to get healthy, it gives your kids a bit of a mental break and your coaches as well."

Younger says the bye was also an opportunity for some scouting.

"We got to watch their game last week against Van Buren and it’s huge just getting to watch their team compete."

Washington, on the other hand, is happy the Grizzlies got to play last week.

"I didn’t want a bye because I fell like it would have taken way too long for us to get going again. I feel like we need football every week, and that’s big going into this game."

Last year, both teams saw their seasons end at the hands of North Little Rock. Neither is ready to go home this week.

"We don’t want to give up yet we want to keep going, so we got one 7A-West team, now we’ve got another one going down too, so here we go," says a confident Washington.

Younger and the Tigers are just ready to get back out in front of their home fans.

"Antsy is definitely a great way to describe it, we’re all just super excited to get out on the field, we have a lot of unfinished business we’re ready to go to."

It all goes down at Tiger Stadium Friday in the Football Friday Night Game of the Week.