Only three points separated the winner and loser last year when Van Buren and Siloam Springs went head-to-head.
"I remember it being really close and really tight," Siloam Springs left tackle Jared Clark recalled. "Especially just how physical they were. I know they've improved, but I know we've improved also."
Van Buren plays for the first time in Crosby Tuck era with some new faces gracing the roster.
"They have a very talented football team," Siloam Springs coach Brandon Craig explained. "Very athletic quarterback. Good wide receiving crew. Solid up front on defense, they're going to be a handful for sure.">
"I think this Van Buren is well prepared, way better than last year," Van Buren linebacker Devin Swearinger said of his team. "We're definitely more physical, bringing more energy to the team."
"We're so much more physical than we were last year. We're just dogs on defense," Van Buren tight end/defensive end Miles Kuykendall added. "We're crazy. Just running around, tackling, everyone's gunning the ball. Offensively, we're executing better. Plays are better. Everybody's better."
Meanwhile, Siloam Springs looks for a third straight win against the Pointers returning size and strength.
"We know they have a huge offensive line," Van Buren coach Crosby Tuck said of his opponent. "I think they average about 306 pounds up front across the board. Very good offensive line. That O-Line was a big reason that they ran for as many yards as they ran for last year against us. That's going to be a big focus to us. It's going to be no secret, they ran all over us last year. We've got to figure out what we can do this year to stop that offensive line, stop that rushing attack."
"They're big, they're moving," Siloam Springs quarterback Taylor Pool said of his offensive line. "We've got a giant guard moving around. They look good."
Expect a physical week zero game from two high-octane offenses looking to start the season out right.
Siloam Springs hosts Van Buren Friday night in the season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00PM.