Things are beginning to take shape in the 7AA-East Conference. Bearden won again, 18-9 over Gillett, but had to scratch and claw its way to victory. Hampton fought Prescott hard but lost 28-9. Smackover got its first win of the season with a 22-6 decision over Bernice. Hermitage shutout Sparkman, 34-0, and El Dorado West Side Christian blanked Strong, 34-0.
Norphlet lost a hard fought game to Mayflower, 26-13, and Rison beat a mistake-plagued Harmony Grove team 23-6.
Hampton showed that it will be a contender in the conference with the performance it turned in at Prescott. The Curley Wolves are ranked second in class AAA. Harmony Grove had costly mistakes against Rison that cost the Hornets a chance at victory. But like the Bulldogs, the Hornets showed what kind of team they can have despite the turnovers and penalties.
Norphlet also turned in a good performance despite penalties that cost the Leopards a chance at victory.
After two weeks, we now know that Hampton, Harmony Grove and Norphlet have teams that can get into the playoffs. The question now is whether they can keep improving and get ready for conference.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Norphlet vs. Hermitage
Sparkman vs. Gillett
Smackover vs. Strong
Woodlawn vs. Westside
Hampton vs. Star City
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bearden vs. Rison
A battle of unbeatens will take place in Cleveland County this Friday. Rison open with wins over Fordyce and Harmony Grove. The Bears have beaten Spring Hill and Gillett,
but this is the first true test for Bearden. If the Bears want to be taken seriously, they need to show what they can do against a quality program. And Rison is just that test.
For the Bears to win, they need a big game from running back Ben Owens. He gained 78 yards and scored three touchdowns on nine carries against Gillett. He will need an even bigger performance against Rison.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Craig Coleman, Norphlet
Nick Lambert, Norphlet
Ben Owens, Bearden
Brannin Carter, Junction City
Koby McKinnon, Junction City