NWA picks for Week 5

Bentonville to get first victory and Rogers stays unbeaten with third win ever over Fort Smith Northside. Happy Homecoming to the Mountaineers.

Rich's Power System
The definition of a rivalry - no matter what the series record
Is it time for the worm to turn?
For too many decades, Springdale has had every right to claim superiority in the state's most prolific rivalry - in any sport. The two football sides will meet tonight for the 104th time with a whole lot of bragging rights on the line.
Having covered both teams and seen how the game is approached from both sides of the fence, a few things are crystal clear:
* Fayetteville's approach has changed in 2003.
* Springdale's approach continues to evolve under its second regime in 35 years.
* The game means everything to both football programs.
The "Battle of the Bulldogs" has always been taken seriously by both sides, but there has always been the feeling that Springdale, even in its recent dominance, played the game like it had more to prove.
Community spirit has been much more apparent in Springdale when it comes to football. Anybody with hair on the back of their neck could sense the importance of the game on the Red Dogs' side of the field. Springdale does not lack for much, but their football teams play with the passion of teams from Pennsylvania coal-mining towns (the ones with 25-percent unemployment) or an Oklahoma oil town that had run dry.
Springdale always plays Fayetteville with purpose.
Fayetteville has often played Springdale with fear.
Pardon, for a moment, the use of creative license, but the approach sensed from the FHS bleachers was always "We can't let them beat us. We can't allow this to happen. We can't have any turnovers."
In the end, the final answer from Fayetteville has been, all too often, "We can't."
That kind of attitude runs through the community and creeps through the minds of the players themselves. FHS coaches try to stamp out those negative thoughts, but too often, those coaches have had to walk a much thinner tightrope among Fayetteville's patrons, trying to do the impossible task of keeping everybody happy.
Yet, since the first day Daryl Patton stepped into the Bulldog Field House office of the head coach, the message has been pretty clear: "We can. We will."
At Fayetteville, the game has become more and more important as the wins continue to pile up on the Springdale side of the ledger. The past two years, despite losses, Fayetteville has turned in good efforts. The Purple Dogs have simply fallen short.
Springdale recognizes that. Sources inside the Springdale program have said that the Red Dogs have treated Fayetteville like it was "just another game" the past couple of years. This year, the source said, "Fayetteville has gotten [Springdale's] attention."
Last week, RPS posted another successful record of 84-13. The power system is 332-69-5 (82.8 percent) this season. In its 18th year, RPS is 14,443-3135 (82.17 percent).

No. 2 Springdale at No. 3 Fayetteville

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Harmon Field
Records: The Fayetteville Bulldogs and their new coach, Daryl Patton, are both 4-0 in 2003. Patton is 38-20 at the high-school level. Gus Malzahn (21-8) has a 78-10-1 record since 1997 and is 2-0 against Fayetteville. The Springdale Bulldogs are 2-2 this year, 0-1 in the AAAAA-West Conference.
The series: Springdale holds a 59-31-13 lead over Fayetteville and has won 21 of the last 23 meetings.
Last year: Ranked No. 1 in the state and unbeaten at the time, Springdale was a two-touchdown favorite and held on to defeat Fayetteville, 15-7, at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium.
Notable stats:
Zach Butler has accumulated 572 yards rushing. That's more rushing yardage than Fayetteville's top two rushers, Woody Wilson and Tristan Thomas, combined. Wilson and Thomas have split almost evenly a total of 497 yards.
Outlook: It's a new era in Fayetteville, but that doesn't mean the outcome has to change. Fayetteville has changed coaches many times before and still has been unable to stop the runaway train that is Springdale's dominance in the series.
This time, there's an added element to the game. Springdale has its back to the wall and Coach Gus Malzahn is facing his first three-game losing streak since he lost his first four games as the head coach at Shiloh Christian in 1996.
Springdale has not lost three in a row since 1997, when Fort Smith Northside, Rogers and Russellville defeated the Red Dogs.
Fayetteville has not been unbeaten going into the Springdale game since 1984, when both teams were 9-0. Springdale won that game, 13-10.
RPS Bottom Line: Fayetteville has not beaten Springdale since 1999 and none of the current Purple Dogs were on that team. The Purple Dogs came from behind to record an 18-17 victory - a win that RPS projected. This game won't be looked at as an upset either way, but it is a more important game for Springdale to get off the deck at this early stage of the conference race. Fayetteville has been the perfect remedy in the past and, if things have not changed enough, will be again ...
Springdale 27, Fayetteville 26.

No. 37 Bentonville at Van Buren

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Blakemore Field
Records: Bentonville coach Gary Wear (16-10) has seen his team struggle to an 0-3 start. The Tigers, like the Van Buren Pointers, are 0-1 in the AAAAA-West Conference. Van Buren is 0-4 overall under former Pointer player Eddie Tipton, who is in his first year as head coach. He is Van Buren's third coach in three years.
The series: In 12 conference meetings, Van Buren and Bentonville are tied, 6-6. Bentonville has won the last three meetings.
Last year: Bentonville won in double overtime, 31-30, at Tiger Stadium.
Notable stats:
Caleb Loyd picked up some of the rushing slack with 13 carries for 77 yards last week against Rogers, but the Bentonville passing game is struggling. Blytheville transfer Chris Harralston has not yet thrown a touchdown pass while firing six interceptions.
Outlook: Bentonville has not been winless this deep into the season since 1979, when the Tigers began the year with losses to Berryville, Springfield (Mo.) Kickapoo, Grove (Okla.) and Siloam Springs. That team was 0-4 and finished 2-8. The first win came in, you guessed it, the fifth week of the season when Huntsville came to Tiger Stadium.
Times of changed more at Bentonville than just about anywhere in Northwest Arkansas. The Tigers play with the big boys now and, while Van Buren has been down for the past few years, the Pointers still present a lot of problems for a Bentonville team looking for its first victory.
RPS Bottom Line: The AAAAA-West Conference is no place to be 0-1 and particularly if the losses suffered have been to a pair of teams, Rogers and Northside, that are not expected to make the playoffs, anyway. A win doesn't put either team into playoff contention, but the loser is fairly well doomed from participating in the 2003 postseason ... Bentonville 28, Van Buren 26

No. 26 Fort Smith Northside at No. 10 Rogers

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Gates Stadium
Records: Fort Smith Northside is 1-3 and Darrell Henry (6-8-1) could not have asked for a better time to get the first win of 2003. The Grizzlies toppled Van Buren, 12-6, in AAAAA-West Conference play. The Rogers Mountaineers (4-0) are led by Ronnie Peacock, who is 7-17 in his third season as the Mounties mentor.
The series: Northside won the first 15 meetings with Rogers after joining the conference and owns a 21-2 series edge against the Mounties. All but one of those games was a league meeting and Northside won that one, 17-10, to open the 1974 campaign.
Last year: A 10-point favorite at home, Northside won its first conference game of the 2002 season, 19-7.
Notable stats:
Rogers spread out 261 yards receiving among seven different pass-catchers last week in a 28-7 win at Bentonville. The Mountaineers are averaging a little over 240 yards per game through the air.
Outlook: Rogers' only victories in the series came in succession, a 1996 overtime win at Mayo-Thompson Stadium and a 31-24 victory at Rogers in 1997. Northside had Rogers' number before the pair of losses and has reeled off five more wins in a row going into tonight.
But this is easily the best Rogers team since Northside started its winning streak. The Mounties had topped out with a pair of four-win seasons and have not done any better since advancing to the semifinals in 1997. A win tonight and the Mounties notch their fifth victory, their most wins since the 8-5 team of 1997.
The last time Northside failed to win five games happened 25 years ago. As members of the Class AAAAA Conference, the Grizzlies went 3-7-1.
RPS Bottom Line: Give Northside credit for the strong competition it has faced in the non-conference schedule, but none of the teams the Grizzlies met will test the secondary like Rogers will. Johnny Brewer has a 14-to-1 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio and the Grizzlies, who have been hard pressed to find the end zone, won't be allowed to give up too many points to the mighty Mounties ... Rogers 21, Northside 13

Morrilton at Siloam Springs

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Glenn W. Black Stadium
Records: The Morrilton Devil Dogs are 2-2 under first-year coach Chris Hill and 1-0 in the AAAA-West Conference. The Siloam Springs Panthers (0-3-1) are coached by Chris McBride, who is 3-10-1 in his second year as head coach.
The series: Morrilton, ranked 14th this week in Class AAAA, leads the series, 7-5, since the two teams were placed in the same conference back in 1991.
Last year: Morrilton, a 12-point favorite, won by a 21-7 count for its first league win of the season.
Notable stats:
Siloam Springs has only allowed 37 points in four games, but still has not won a game. The Panthers have been tough against the run, holding three of their four opponents under 100 yards rushing and to an average of 75 yards through the air.
The key to Siloam Springs breaking into the win column is finding a way to score some points. The Panthers, in four games, have scored 7, 3, 7 and 7 points. The consistency is great, but is reminiscent of Ken Hatfield's promise of a balanced offense in the 1989 Cotton Bowl when the Razorbacks gained 21 yards passing and 21 yards rushing.
Consistency is not always a good thing.
Defensively, Siloam Springs could not ask for much more. No other winless team in Arkansas is as good as the Panthers are at stopping their opponents. At some point, you get the feeling that something is going to break and the chances are 50-50 that it's the Siloam Springs vault-like defense that might get broken.
RPS Bottom Line: Only one team has struck for multiple touchdowns against Siloam Springs in a game this year - Ozark. Morrilton has been limited to a single touchdown by both Russellville and Batesville, but showed some firepower last week while scoring 62 points against Clarksville. This is a team Siloam Springs can keep off the scoreboard, but the constant lack of Panthers offense is still the big concern ...
Morrilton 17, Siloam Springs 10.

Huntsville at Alma
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Airedale Stadium
Records: Huntsville and Alma are both 2-2 and 0-1 in the AAAA-West Conference. Alma coach Frank Vines is 240-84-4 during his time with the Airedales, which began in 1976. The Eagles are coached by Ken Harriman. In the second year of his second stint with the Eagles, Harriman is 72-49-1.
The series: Alma has won all four previous meetings during the Frank Vines era. The teams met once in the playoffs, a 25-14 Alma victory in 1981, and in a home-and-home series during 1983 and 1984. The Airedales won last year at Huntsville, 19-3.
Notable stats: Jason Hargis has played four games this year and has caught at least six passes per game for at least 93 yards per game. Hargis leads Northwest Arkansas in receiving with 29 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns.
Outlook: It may not seem like much, but last week was a big week in the AAAA-West Conference for Greenbrier. With Greenbrier winning and Alma losing, the Panthers found themselves ahead of Alma in the AAAA-West standings for the first time since Greenbrier began competing in the league in 1996.
OK, so much for the trivial stuff.
But the fact that Alma lost its opener to Harrison plays a big part in this week's game. The Airedales, ranked ninth in Class AAAA, had not lost a conference opener since 1991. Back then, Alma rebounded from a 19-14 defeat at Pulaski Robinson to defeat Pulaski Oak Grove, 34-14, at the Alma Bowl.
Even with the slow start out of the gate, Alma won five games in a row and qualified for the state playoffs for the first of 12 consecutive postseason berths.
RPS Bottom Line: Could this be the end of the string for Alma? It'd very doubtful. The only way the Airedales could get themselves in postseason trouble is to lose to two of the league's "bottom five" of which Huntsville is a member. The Airedales are averaging less than 12 points a game, though, so it's not as if this game is out of Huntsville's reach ... Alma 20, Huntsville 7.

No. 33 Berryville at Farmington
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Allen Holland Field
Records: Berryville is ranked No. 6 in Class AAA and, under the tutelage of Doug Scheel, the Bobcats have reeled off three wins in a row. Berryville is 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the 1AAA Conference. The Farmington Cardinals and their new head coach, Mike Adams, are 1-3, 0-1 in the league.
The series: Since joining the 1AAA Conference in 1987, Farmington has won eight of the 16 games it has played with Berryville.
Last year: Berryville won a high-scoring shootout at home, 56-30, the most points ever scored by the Bobcats in a 1AAA Conference game and, for that matter, in any game over the last 25 years.
Notable stats:
The Cardinals are giving up at least two rushing touchdowns per game and have not held anyone under 135 yards rushing in a game this year. Jesse Shelley, who had nearly 200 yards rushing for the Cardinals against Paris, was held to 16 yards on 14 carries last week by Shiloh Christian.
Outlook: It's a two-horse race in the 1AAA with one other possibility, Prairie Grove, a good length (one touchdown) or so behind. Berryville and Shiloh Christian will match their contrasting offenses on Halloween evening at the Field of Champions for what ought to be the conference championship.
In between now and then, Berryville and Shiloh Christian need to take care of business.
In the meantime, teams like Farmington are having trouble getting the ol' pull cart moving because the Cardinals were cursed by a schedule-maker's cruel trick: They opened with Shiloh Christian and then turn around and have to play Berryville this week.
RPS Bottom Line: All is certainly not lost for Farmington. After getting past the tough part of the schedule, fans will begin to see a gradual improvement and a climb by the Cardinals in the Class AAA rankings. That climb could possibly begin tonight with a strong showing - even in a losing cause ... Berryville 30,
Farmington 7.

No. 38 Shiloh Christian at Prairie Grove
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
Records: Shiloh Christian coach Chris Wood (18-10-1) has led the Saints to a 3-1 record overall and a 1-0 start in the 1AAA Conference. The Prairie Grove Tigers (2-2, 1-0) are coached by Danny Abshier, who has gone 64-48-2 as a head coach.
The series: Having played almost every year since Shiloh Christian began its program, the Saints and Tigers are tied at five wins apiece.
Last year: Prairie Grove won, 12-7, stopping Shiloh Christian an inch short of a first down on fourth-and-1 from the Prairie Grove 10-yard line to preserve the victory.
Notable stats:
Zac Sigmon became Prairie Grove's first running back to get 100 yards in a game, rushing 12 times for 100 yards on the button in last week's 52-8 pummeling of Gentry. Meanwhile, Shawn Fisher became Shiloh Christian's first 100-yard back of the season with 117 yards on 16 carries in a 41-7 victory over Farmington.
Outlook: A pair of playoff teams go at it and a home playoff berth is probably at stake. Shiloh Christian is hungry to get back to the playoffs, having an eight-year postseason streak halted last year in the Saints' first try at making the Class AAA playoffs.
The Saints are in much better shape this year. They have not suffered through the injury bug that ravaged them last year. They have survived through playing two Class AAAAA teams that only last year left them battered and bruised.
Prairie Grove is shooting for its eighth consecutive playoff berth and appears well on its way after last week's shellacking of Gentry. The win was Prairie Grove's first conference-opening road win since 1983.
RPS Bottom Line: Prairie Grove has started 2-0 in the conference each of the last two seasons and three of the last four years. While the Tigers are usually quick starters in the league, they were fortunate to have caught Shiloh Christian when they did last year. This time around, the Saints are not the unfortunate and battered souls who finished 3-7 ... Shiloh Christian 24, Prairie Grove 17

Lincoln at Gravette
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Bernard McAbee Field
Records: Lincoln is 0-4 to start the year and the Wolves have lost 12 in a row. Coach Mike Guthrie (1-13) is in his second term with the Wolves. Gravette is 3-1 and Coach Charlie Phillips is 62-46 as the head coach of the Lions. Both teams are 0-1 in the 1AAA Conference.
The series: Gravette has won the last seven in a row over Lincoln, the last two by a cumulative score of 90-21.
Last year: Gravette got halfway to a 10-0 regular season with a 48-14 triumph at Lincoln.
Notable stats:
Ryan Holloway is averaging 8.1 yards per rush and he has run the football 44 times this season for 355 yards and four touchdowns. Lincoln's run defense has allowed two teams to go for right around 300 yards against them in four games. The Wolves have allowed an average of 198 yards per game on the ground and 5.3 per carry.
Outlook: Gravette had the state's longest regular-season winning streak stopped at 17 consecutive wins in a 34-0 loss at Berryville last Friday. The Lions not only saw the winning streak go down the tubes, but also saw a chance at back-to-back conference titles pass before their eyes. It was the first time Gravette had been shut out since 1999 and only the second time in 36 games this century that the Lions had been held under double figures.
Lincoln's scoring troubles have been oft-noted. The Wolves still haven't reached double figures in eight games, scoring 4.0 points a contest over that period. Last week's 18-7 loss at Green Forest was a case of a season-high 255 total yards, but no finishing ability to get into the end zone.
RPS Bottom Line: Gravette boss Phillips expressed some concern about Lincoln after seeing what the Wolves did against Green Forest with 237 rushing yards on 38 attempts. Gravette gave up 245 yards on the ground last week and must keep the Wolves under control in order to win their first conference game of 2003 ...
Gravette 20, Lincoln 6.

Gentry at Green Forest
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
Records: Gentry is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the 1AAA Conference under Jeff Stewart, who is in his first year at the Pioneers' helm. The Green Forest Tigers are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the league under the dean of 1AAA football coaches, Bill Gotto. With a 95-83-2 record and a some good luck, Gotto could be in line for his 100th victory in the near future.
The series: Gentry leads, 9-7, since joining the 1AAA in 1987. The 1987 meeting marked the first between the two schools.
Last year: Green Forest romped over Gentry, 27-6, at Pioneer Stadium. It was the Red Tigers' last win in a 3-7 campaign, however, as they finished out with five consecutive losses.
Notable stats:
Gentry's passing game was expected to get a big boost with the addition of former Decatur standout Ray Ryan. In four games, however, Ryan has completed only 19 of 50 passes for 263 yards and no touchdowns.
Outlook: Thanks to the favorable early-season schedule, Green Forest may give somebody a run for a playoff spot before it's all over. A victory over Gentry would not be the deciding factor in Green Forest's return to postseason play, but a loss would be detrimental to the cause.
Gentry opened the year in promising fashion, but some former Cedarville student who chose to "drink swiftly and carry a big stick" might have tapped some of the fire out of the Pioneers. Since Gentry's 41-0 win at Cedarville, the Pioneers have been blanked by Greenland, edged by West Fork and then annihilated by Prairie Grove.
RPS Bottom Line: Green Forest gave up a ton of yardage last week to Lincoln, but kept the Wolves to a single penetration of the end zone. Gentry has a more potent offense, but the questions for the Pioneers are on the defensive side after giving up 26 to West Fork and then 52 to Prairie Grove ... Green Forest 23, Gentry 18.

Waldron at West Fork
7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
Records: The Waldron Bulldogs (2-1) are coached by Alan Rettmann, who is 29-34 in his sixth year at the helm. Bryan Dougan is in his first year at West Fork and has the Tigers off to a 2-2 start.
The series: Waldron leads, 1-0, following last year's initial confrontation at Sawyer-Wright Field.
Last year: Sean Kearney had 309 yards of total offense, rushing for 243 and four touchdowns, and Waldron defeated West Fork, 35-20.
Notable stats:
Ignore the yardage, but how about West Fork limiting Ozark to just 14 points? That, in itself, is a remarkable statistic. The trouble was, West Fork only had 54 yards rushing and 31 passing in suffering its first shutout of the season.
Outlook: Last week's 35-26 victory by Waldron indicated that the Bulldogs are now the "No. 1 contender" to break up the marriage of purple-clad teams from Booneville and Ozark in the 4AAA pulpit. The Bulldogs should finish third and have all the playoff obstacles out of their way.
But wait, there's West Fork.
Although they did not win, the West Fork Tigers gave Ozark its toughest conference battle - outside of games with Booneville - in two years. The Tigers may have proven themselves a playoff contender with the win and could be a handful for teams like Waldron and Greenland.
RPS Bottom Line: Now ignore the score from last week and consider the statistics: Ozark racked up 270 yards rushing against the West Fork defense last week and the Hillbillies don't have a Sean Kearney in their backfield. Waldron, to West Fork's chagrin, still has him ... Waldron 29, West Fork 24.

Greenland at Paris
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Field
Records: Greenland is 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the 4AAA Conference under Lee Larkan, who is 18-10 in his third year as the Pirates' skipper. Paris is 0-4 and Coach Jay Chalk is still looking for his first victory in 14 starts.
The series: Greenland is 3-0 against Paris, winning 14-13 in 2000, 48-27 in 2001 and 49-6 last year.
Last year: Greenland continued to widen the margin on Paris with last year's victory, paced by 360 yards in total offense by Aaron McPherson - before halftime.
Notable stats:
Andy Wesoloski is pulling the trigger in Greenland's passing game this year and, one week after clearing the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, he threw for 313 yards last week against Waldron. For the season, Wesoloski is 47-of-94 for 681 yards.
Outlook: This is one of the four games Greenland must win in order to return to the playoffs and extend the postseason streak, started by John Karnes, to seven seasons in a row. It's also the easiest of the four games the Pirates have to have. Ideally, both Greenland and West Fork will have at least three conference wins when they collide in November for the regular-season finale. That would set up a winner-take-all, loser-bags-the-equipment match at Greenland.
Paris had a streak of 12 consecutive games where it scored 14 points or fewer before the Eagles scored 24 against Farmington and then 19 last week against Subiaco Academy.
RPS Bottom Line: Paris is improving gradually, but not at the speed necessary to make a strong playoff run in 2003. While the Eagles continue to "get their wings" as it were, Greenland's business must be completed in a decisive manner. This is a good time for the Pirates to grab their first conference win ... Greenland 38, Paris 18.

Elkins at Cedarville
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Pirate Field
Records: Coach Aaron Clark (18-19) has the Elkins Elks off to a flying 3-0 start that includes a league-leading 2-0 record in the 1AA Conference. Cedarville is under the guidance of first-year coach Shannon Rhea. The Pirates are 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
The series: Elkins lead, 10-2, but Cedarville has earned a split in the last four meetings.
Last year: Elkins romped to its fifth consecutive win of the 2002 campaign, whipping Cedarville 35-0. It was the first shutout in the series since a 6-0 win by Elkins in 1995.
Notable stats:
Two different Elks have turned in 100-yard games so far this season. Josh Finkus, the sophomore wonder who had over 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns last year, had 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Elks' 20-6 win over Pea Ridge two weeks ago. A week prior to that, Eric Short had 106 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries.
Outlook: As long as Elkins takes care of its knitting, Class AA's 16th-ranked Elks are going to head to Charleston in two weeks with a 6-0 record.
Normally, a statement like that would be putting the cart before the horse. But the Elks are in good hands with Clark, who overcame a tumultuous two-year period where they won only five times - and still made the playoffs both years. A well-placed open week on the schedule allowed for the Elks to heal a little bit before tackling an important three-week swing that culminates with the Charleston game. Next week, Elkins takes on Lavaca, so there is the opportunity for the Elks to get caught looking ahead.
RPS Bottom Line: The Elks have blanked two of their first three opponents and all three of them, on paper, are better than the team on the other sideline tonight. Cedarville has scored 22 points in its first four outings. It will take more than that to overcome what Elkins ought to get ...
Elkins 27, Cedarville 0.

Mountainburg at Pea Ridge

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Blackhawk Stadium
Records: Tom Harrell (54-75-2) has Mountainburg sitting at 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the 1AA Conference. The Pea Ridge Blackhawks are 2-2 and alone in third place at 2-1 in the 1AA Conference. They are led by third-year head coach Mike Harrod, who is 12-12-1 at the school.
The series: Since becoming permanent conference mates in 1991, Mountainburg and Pea Ridge have battled to win six games apiece.
Last year: A 10-point favorite, Pea Ridge drummed the battered Dragons, 33-0, at Mountainburg. The Dragons played only two more games before calling an end to their season following the seventh week and a 27-7 loss to arch-rival Cedarville.
Notable stats:
Ryan Barnett has 594 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Blackhawks and all area ground-gainers. He had five touchdowns last week in a 37-0 whitewashing of Hartford.
Outlook: Quitting has been something that for years has been a sore spot for RPS. When teams quit their programs, RPS usually showers down the hate on them.
When Rush Limbaugh quit in his fight to keep his ESPN gig this week, he got labeled a quitter by some of us.
But Mountainburg did not quit last year. The Dragons simply packed up and retreated. It was the right move for the survival of the football program and kudos to Harrell and the Mountainburg administration for doing the best they could in such a tough situation. Less than a year later, Mountainburg football is back on its feet and the Dragons are legitimate threat to knock some unsuspecting team out of the playoffs.
RPS Bottom Line: Pea Ridge is not the team that Mountainburg should be able to beat. The Blackhawks play a pretty fail-safe game on most nights and will simply line up and overpower the Dragons. Pea Ridge plays the kind of football that will make the weak-kneed give up. Mountainburg may not win this game, but the Dragons definitely won't quit ...
Pea Ridge 21, Mountainburg 6.

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