With all that talent, Bruins are AAA's No. 1 team

The jabs thrown around the Little Rock area revolve around the fact that Pulaski Academy ought to be the best small-school team in the state. After all, the Bruins' recruiting area is, as the jabbers put it: "the universe." Forces outside the universe seem to be blocking Pulaski Academy's path toward a Class AAA crown, however. In 2003, the Bruins turn to a seasoned quarterback and a new head coach to see if they can't find their way to a state football championship.

Pulaski Academy's curse is an inability to string three wins together in postseason play. Heading into the 2001 state playoffs, the Coach Kirby Norwood's Bruins were the No. 1 team in the state according to Rich's Power System. Three weeks later, before they were able to reach the semifinals, the Bruins had been bumped out of the picture. Kevin Kelley, Pulaski Academy's offensive coordinator under Norwood, hopes to change the trend. Seven starters on both sides of the football and the state's most highly acclaimed quarterback, Adam Thrash, make Pulask Academy the team to beat in 2003. Last year's state finalists, two-time champion Warren and runner-up Rivercrest, look to be the most viable challengers. Warren's playoff success stretches to 10 consecutive postseason victories. While the Lumberjacks' success is recent, Rivercrest is the bastion of historical achievement: The Colts have earned 21 consecutive playoff berths and have had 22 winning seasons in a row. Prescott is a dangerous postseason team, boasting a 37-11 playoff record. The Curley Wolves will be tested in the 7AAA Conference and a team to avoid on the playoff bracket. RPS has some surprises, too, including fifth-ranked Central Arkansas Christian. The Mustangs posted their first winning football campaign in eight years and return 17 starters from an 8-3 club that lost only to PA, Brinkley and Dover. First on CAC's list of "things to do," though, is to win its first playoff game. Stand-bys Nashville, Dollarway, Newport and Booneville fill out the next four spots with Gosnell, a club that won 12 straight games before losing to eventual champion Warren, rounding out the top 10. Also be on the lookout for 11th-ranked Berryville, favored to beat out Shiloh Christian for the 1AAA Conference title; No. 12 Pulaski Oak Grove, a heavy favorite to win the 5AAA Conference; and Brinkley, the team most likely to pick up the pieces in the 6AAA Conference if PA should inexplicably crumble.
Class AAA RPS
1. Pulaski Academy 101.5
2. Warren 101.4
3. Rivercrest 100.5
4. Prescott 95.4
5. Central Arkansas Christian 94.2
6. Nashville 94.2
7. Dollarway 94.2
8. Newport 94.0
9. Booneville 93.9
10. Gosnell 93.6
11. Berryville 93.1
12. Pulaski Oak Grove 92.5
13. Star City 92.4
14. Brinkley 92.3
15. Shiloh Christian 92.3
16. Ozark 92.1
17. Osceola 90.9
18. Pocahontas 90.9
19. Prairie Grove 90.8
20. Ashdown 89.6
21. Dumas 89.5
22. Yellville-Summit 89.0
23. McGehee 85.9
24. Greenland 85.7
25. DeQueen 85.6
26. East Poinsett Co. 85.3
27. Dover 85.2
28. Hamburg 85.1
29. Waldron 85.0
30. Atkins 84.9
31. Fordyce 84.8
32. Trumann 83.3
33. Dardanelle 81.6
34. Fountain Lake 79.9
35. Clinton 79.8
36. Highland 79.7
37. Fouke 79.7
38. Gravette 79.6
39. Subiaco Academy 79.6
40. Jonesboro Westside 79.5
41. Harrisburg 79.5
42. Mena 79.4
43. Mansfield 79.3
44. Mayflower 79.2
45. Lonoke 79.2
46. Piggott 78.8
47. Hoxie 78.7
48. Mountain View 78.5
49. Lake Village 78.4
50. Corning 78.2
51. DeWitt 78.2
52. Green Forest 78.1
53. Bald Knob 78.0
54. West Fork 78.0
55. Farmington 77.1
56. Marianna 77.1
57. Gentry 76.6
58. Perryville 70.4
59. Lincoln 70.3
60. Heber Springs 67.3
61. Lamar 66.9
62. Bismarck 66.5
63. Paris 66.3
64. England 58.4

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