In 2001, the Wynne Yellowjackets won their first state championship since 1986. Then, in 2002, the Yellowjackets returned four players to both sides of the football and still ran off eight victories in a row before losing in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA state playoffs to Pulaski Robinson.
With four starters on both sides of the football once again – reloading was made popular under former coach Bill Riley long ago – the Yellowjackets can't be overlooked when it comes playoff time. This is a team that definitely won't be overlooked within the ranks of its own league. None of the teams currently in the league have beaten nor finished ahead of Wynne since 1997 when Batesville recorded a 29-20 triumph over the Yellowjackets and finished as the AAAA-East runner-up behind Newport.
Newcomers Vilonia and Beebe already demonstrated just how weak the AAAA-East can be after Wynne. Beebe was tabbed sixth by the conference cvoaches last year, but stormed through the league with a 6-1 mark to finish second.
This year, Vilonia looks like the newcomer waiting to make its mark on the conference.
And speaking of newcomers, watch to see if former Ozark coach Mark Ford can turn things around at Greene County Tech. The flailing football program has gone 11 years without making the playoffs and the Golden Eagles – who have not had a winning season in eight campaigns – have never won a postseason game.
They are the only school in the league not to win in the playoffs.
But then, playoff wins are pretty much left to Wynne. Of the 41 playoff games won by the league's current membership, the Yellowjackets have won 23.
Here's how RPS sees the AAAA-East race stacking up:
1. Wynne 7-0
2. Batesville 6-1
3. Beebe 4-3
4. Vilonia 4-3
5. Paragould 4-3
6. Marion 2-5
7. GCT 1-6
8. Nettleton 0-7