Same old 'HAGs' keep reins on AAAA-West Conference

To get to the top of the AAAA-West Conference, teams have to fly like Superman, run like The Flash, own a mean streak like The Incredible Hulk and a utility belt full of tricks -- a la Batman -- wouldn't hurt. Truth is, there are no superheroes in the AAAA-West capable of toppling the mighty triumvirate of Harrison, Alma and Greenwood. Fourth place is about as good as anybody is going to do.

AAAA-West

Go backwards in time and you would have to go all the way back to the joining of the "old" 1AAA and 4AAA Conferences in the 1980s to find a time when either Harrison, Alma or Greenwood was not in the conference-championship picture.

It's a three-team juggernaut that is as powerful as any current trio in Class AAAA and matched only by the "NOW" generation – Newport, Osceola and Wynne of the AAAA-East Conference before enrollment figures took Newport and Osceola out of the picture.

The diddy goes a little like this:

2001 and 2002 it was Alma

2000 belonged to Greenwood, the eventual state champions.

1999 was all Harrison, 14-0 and Tom Tice's first state title.

1998 was a three-way tie between the HAGs.

1997 Greenwood and Alma shared the title

1996 was Greenwood's first conference title since 1988

1992-95 were the Alma years

and 1989-91 were Harrison's years of dictatorship.

Only two other schools even shared what is now the AAAA-West Conference title between 1988 and 2002 and both of those schools – Van Buren in 1990 and Pulaski Robinson in 1991 – are now playing in different conferences.

Morrilton could make this a foursome, but the Devil Dogs, inexplicably, have not enjoyed even a piece of conference pie since 1982.

The rest of the league is made up of newcomers or clubs that have been beaten so far down over the years that only the most optimistic believe they can challenge for a conference title.

Leading the way is Siloam Springs, which joins Morrilton as the only other schools in the league to make the playoffs in the last three seasons. Clarksville broke through and made the playoffs in its first season of AAAA football; Huntsville just became a Class AAAA school last year as well and found the going tough, even with one of the state's top coaches returning to the helm. And Greenbrier has not won more than one conference game in the last six years.

The league is again cut and dried to a point: It will be interesting to see if Morrilton can stay in the upper echelon with a new coach, Chris Hill, while the four cellar tenants take aim at toppling the Devil Dogs.

 

Here's how RPS sees the AAAA-West race stacking up:

6-1 Alma

6-1 Harrison

5-2 Greenwood

5-2 Morrilton

2-5 Siloam Springs

2-5 Clarksville

1-6 Huntsville

1-6 Greenbrier

 


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