The state playoffs have been delayed a week because of wintry weather, pushing the Class 7A state championship game to Friday Dec. 13.
Jack Kraus, an Arkansas commit and Bentonville tight end, said he and his teammates are using the extra week to better prepare for Cabot.
"We're studying Cabot a lot and they run a different, defensive machine that kind of features a five-man front," Kraus said. "So we have done a lot of studying and this extra week is going to be good for us to get extra time to prepare for them.
"I think they are very good at what they do offensively with the Dead T. They take up a lot of time of possession and make it very hard for your defense to get off the field. So I think they're going to try to establish the run and keep our offense off the field. They're a very hard-nosed, physical team. They'll be looking to own the clock and keep it a low-scoring game."
Bentonville has lost back-to-back state title games to Fayetteville, meaning this would be Kraus' first state championship with the Tigers.
"I mean, our team has been there the last two years, we've just struggled to finish what we started," he said. "It would mean everything to me and the team and all the seniors that have been through so much in those previous two state championship runs that ended in losses."
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end said when the Tigers and the Panthers take the field next week, one aspect of the game will prove to be crucial in taking home the state title.
"It's going to be all about who wins the battle in the trenches, both offensively and defensively," Kraus said. "Who wins those battles is what will be the greatest deciding factor in the outcome of the game."
Kraus was scheduled to take an official visit to Arkansas next week, but said he will re-schedule with the date of the state championship game moving. He said he plans on taking his visit during the weekend of Jan. 17 or Jan. 24.
Once Kraus steps onto campus, he will be joining several former 7A-West players like Brandon and Austin Allen, Alex Brignoni and Brooks Ellis of Fayetteville, Brey Cook of Springdale Har-Ber, Mitch Smothers of Springdale and Marcus Danenhauer of Bentonville. But he could also be joined by a few fellow freshmen from the conference.
Jake Hall, a defensive end from Springdale Har-Ber, is committed to Arkansas, Rogers linebacker Zach Wary has been offered by the Razorbacks and Springdale tight end Josiah Wymer is considering walking on at Arkansas.
"After playing against them, I think they deserved them," Kraus said of Hall and Wary's scholarship offers. "They both have a lot of upside and potential.
"Jake Hall is a pretty big kid and Zach's a great athlete. I think it will be good for Arkansas."
Hall recorded 67 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, and forced two fumbles and recovered another.
"He's a big guy and hard to move," Kraus said of Hall. "Plus, he's pretty athletic for his size, so that makes it difficult. He's definitely a good player."
Wary recorded over 100 tackles for the Mounties this year and was offered by Arkansas earlier this week. He is visiting Dec. 13-15.
"He's a good athlete," Kraus said of Wary. "He's fast, he's a very good tackler and he covers well."
Kraus said having local players wearing "Arkansas" across their chest is good for the program.
"I think it means a lot to these guys," Kraus said. "I'm sure it's been their dreams to play at the next level for their home school. I've been a fan of Arkansas ever since I moved here and it's awesome knowing I can play for them next year. Just being so close and being familiar with the campus.
"It's really cool to know that we're getting the chance to represent Arkansas at the next level. It shows how talented the conference is and I think it's good for the area because a lot of places are being represented at the next level."
Kraus prepares for Cabot
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