Nothing like playing the number one team in the state for a challenge.
And as far as Texarkana running back Brandon Barnett is concerned, there's no time better than the present for his visiting Razorbacks (8-3) to take on No. 1 Springdale (11-0) than tonight.
"We're as healthy as we have been all year long and I thought at the start of the year we had a shot to be that number one team," Barnett said. "They always say to be the best you have to beat they best so now is as good as time as any. It's a great opportunity for us."
The 5-8, 190-pound Barnett, who the University of Arkansas hopes to sign, is one of two running backs that have shined for Texarkana this season.
Barnett has piled up 1,066 yards despite injuries to his ankle and knee while Brian Moore has taken the increased reps with Barnett out to rush for over 900 yards himself.
"I think my being hurt has actually turned out to be a good thing in the end for the team because Brian has come on so much and now we have two fresh guys that we can throw at you," Barnett said.
Barnett has offers and will take visits to front-running Arkansas - possibly Dec. 10-12 - as well as Arizona and Houston (Dec. 3-5) while LSU and Florida have recently requested tape.
"I'm going to take some visits, but it's no secret that Arkansas is my leader and has always been number one," Barnett said. "I grew up wanting to be a Razorback and nothing has changed."
It certainly didn't hurt when the 4.4 speedster came to watch Arkansas' game against Texas back on Sept. 11.
"That was a great, great atmosphere and it made me think that much more about getting a chance to make plays on that field," Barnett said. "The only bad thing is that we (Arkansas) didn't win."
Brandon could once again be playing football with his older brother Freddie, a 6-1, 300-pound defensive lineman who signed with Arkansas in the 2004 class but detoured to Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College.
"He had a great year there, was their defensive player of the year and all-conference," Barnett said. "He's doing great and he'll be up to watch me play tonight. He's planning on coming back to Arkansas and we could both be Razorbacks. That would be cool."
There have been some who question whether Brandon will be eligible or might follow his brother to Trinity Valley.
"That's not the way I am thinking right now," Barnett said. "I got a 16 on my last ACT so that is just one point away from what I need with my grade point average, which I have improved. I have confidence that I am going to be qualified for next year."
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