Northwest Arkansas projections by RPS

Fayetteville tries to stay unbeaten and Farmington plays Gentry for the "The Wooden Spoon." You'll have to read it to find out about it.

An eight-time state finalist and two-time state champion led the Fayetteville Bulldogs 26-19 in the first overtime Friday night. After their first two overtime plays, the Bulldogs had lost five yards and were looking at third-and-15 in an effort to get the tying touchdown.
Fort Smith Northside was bigger and more physical than Fayetteville, nothing unusual for one of the state's greatest gridiron powerhouses. Never mind that Northside had played almost two full months of football and only won a single game.
This was Northside. The Grizzlies. Da Bears. The team which, in past meetings with Fayetteville, owned a Texas-over-Arkansas-like dominance of the series, losing only eight of 58 previous meetings.
But Fayetteville would not go away.
Woody Wilson practically impaled his own receiver, fellow senior Spencer Shackelford, with a pass to get Fayetteville to the 1. That made the next play do-or-die for the Bulldogs.
On fourth-and-goal to go, Fayetteville lined up in a power set that included some of its best athletes. Justin Carr, the all-conference defensive end, checked in at tight end. Mark Bonner, still dazed from a hit earlier in the game, moved in at the slot and Nathan Mahaffey, Bonner's partner in crime at outside linebacker, came in to play fullback in front of touchdown-maker Tristan Thomas.
Among others, there were the sons of former Razorbacks, the program's most dangerous quarterback - possibly ever - three defensive-minded football players who wouldn't think twice about knocking a helmet-covered player's head into the ground and, on the left side of the FHS line, a young sophomore tackle in the middle of it all.
Carrying the name of one of Fayetteville's most influential families, Cass Trumbo lined up for the biggest play of this Fayetteville team's biggest season in a long, long time.
Trumbo, Carr, Bonner and Mahaffey made enough room for Thomas and the Bulldogs' running back squeezed into the end zone for the touchdown that kept Fayetteville's perfect season alive ... for now.
It was just another turn in a winding road through the 2003 schedule.
Think back to games with Mountain Home, North Little Rock and Greenwood - all blowout wins for Fayetteville - and each game was billed as "important."
A trip to Russellville was "crucial." Fayetteville passed with flying colors.
The "Battle of the Bulldogs" was staged for the 104th time and it fell Fayetteville's way. That was followed by a Homecoming thumping of Van Buren - much closer than the 52-3 verdict - and set up the latest of the team's defining moments.
There are more to come.

No. 3 Fayetteville at No. 15 Rogers

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Gates Stadium
Records: The Fayetteville Bulldogs and their new coach, Daryl Patton, are both 7-0 in 2003. The Bulldogs are 4-0 in the AAAAA-West Conference and Patton is 41-20 at the high-school level, having spent five years (1998-2002) at Bryant. The Rogers Mountaineers (5-2) are led by Ronnie Peacock, who is 8-19 in his third season as the Mounties' coach. Rogers is 2-2 in the AAAAA-West Conference, tied with Springdale and Bentonville for third place.
The series: Fayetteville leads, 17-13, since 1973, when the two teams became part of what was then the AAA-West Conference. The Bulldogs have won six of the last seven meetings and, coming in to this season, owned only one "winning streak" over a fellow AAAAA-West Conference member. That is a three-game streak against Rogers.
Last year: Fayetteville was a 13-point favorite to defeat the Mounties and the fired-up Bulldogs made short work of the visitors. Fayetteville blitzed Rogers for a 38-7 halftime lead and coasted to a 45-26 victory.
Notable stats:
Rogers quarterback Johnny Brewer has completed at least 19 passes and thrown for at least 239 in all four of the Mountaineers' conference outings. But the more he throws, the less chance Rogers has of winning. In the Mounties' first two conference victories in three year, Brewer threw the football 32 and 34 times against Bentonville and Northside, respectively. In the last two weeks' losses, Brewer fired 51 passes in a loss to Southside and 41 in a loss to Russellville.
Outlook: Some of the magic that Fayetteville has used to cause its opponents to evaporate appeared to be gone Friday night at Mayo-Thompson Stadium. Fayetteville was sluggish through nearly 44 minutes of a 48-minute game, scoring only on short drives that were set up by interceptions.
Then the defense ran into a team that refused to give up the football. A couple of calls did not go Fayetteville's way. The Bulldogs started showing some bad signs when an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty pushed them out of field-goal range in the third quarter.
But like all good teams do, Fayetteville responded to the adversity - and no, this wasn't the fabricated adversity coaches like to say their team overcame while winning games 36-6, 47-17 or 52-3. This was real - just like the Springdale game - and Fayetteville came through to win a ballgame it could easily have lost.
RPS Bottom Line: In the past two years, Rogers has been a broken team by the time Fayetteville came around on the schedule. This year's Mounties are not broken, but you can vaguely sense the seams beginning to tear. Fayetteville is quite capable of going into Rogers and turning that tear into a full-sized rip ... Fayetteville 33, Rogers 22.


Van Buren at No. 2 Springdale

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium
Records: The Van Buren Pointers are 0-7 and still looking for their first victory under first-year coach and former Pointers standout, Eddie Tipton. The Pointers are 0-4 in the AAAAA-West Conference. Coach Gus Malzahn (23-9) leads the Springdale Bulldogs into the contest with a 4-3 overall record, 2-2 in the AAAAA-West Conference.
The series: Springdale leads, 9-3, since Van Buren's arrival into the league in 1991.
Last year: Springdale was a solid 16-point favorite going into Blakemore Field and came away with its second shutout of the 2002 season by beating Van Buren, 27-0. The whitewash was the third in a row suffered by the Pointers, a string that had begun two weeks earlier in a 30-0 loss to Fayetteville.
Notable stats:
Looking for old-school football? Springdale can do that, too. The Bulldogs hammered away at Bentonville for 308 yards and four rushing touchdowns in a 28-0 win over the Tigers. The Springdale defense also held its opponent under 100 yards on the ground for the second consecutive week and the fourth time this season.
Outlook: The argument goes on about Springdale climbing each week, passing Fayetteville in the rankings - which, by the way, picked only 12 losers in 98 games last week. In Springdale, there are some obvious signs the Red Dogs are getting healthier. When the Red Dogs are at their best, many would agree that they are, indeed, better than Fayetteville.
But Fayetteville won the big game this year and that's enough of a stob to hang anybody's hat on.
This week, there is some potential for Fayetteville to overtake Springdale again in the state's most accurate rankings. The Red Dogs have a lot of points to cover and Van Buren's style of football should not lend itself to high-scoring games.
Fayetteville, meanwhile, has drubbed teams as good as Rogers by as many as 30 points. That could mean a boost for the Purple Dogs.
RPS Bottom Line: Springdale is by no means in the playoffs with Rogers still ahead on the schedule. A stumble here, however, would not put the Red Dogs in much more danger than they already face. The key is to win one more game and to beat Rogers in the season finale ...
Springdale 40, Van Buren 8.

Bentonville at No. 1 Fort Smith Southside

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Southside Stadium
Records: Coach Gary Wear's Bentonville Tigers are 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the AAAAA-West Conference. Wear, in his third year, is 18-11 at Bentonville, but only 6-10 since winning the 2001 state title. Southside coach Barry Lunney (130-52) has the top-ranked Rebels sitting at 6-1 overall and atop the league standings with Fayetteville at 4-0.
The series: Southside leads the series, 9-3. The teams met for the first time in 1991 when Bentonville joined the league.
Last year: Picked to lose, 28-12, Bentonville did good in the kicking game and put 2 extra points on the board in a 28-14 defeat last year at Tiger Stadium.
Notable stats: Tristan Tiarks is back after seeing limited action for three weeks. The Bentonville feature back has gained 347 yards on 84 carries (4.1 per carry) and is coming off a 91-yard performance in a win over Northside and 80 yards in last week's loss to Springdale.
Outlook: In the same boat as Fayetteville, Southside could be caught looking ahead to next week's showdown at Harmon Field.
But it's not likely.
The Rebels are the best-coached football team in the AAAAA-West Conference and, possibly, the entire state. Yes, that includes college teams as well.
Where else are you going to find a team with its own volunteer kicking coach? There are nights when the Southside punting game alone is something to marvel at, just as Rogers did two weeks ago. Anyone who watched Northside and Fayetteville risk losing their confrontation last week because of poor place-kicking can appreciate the fact that Southside's kicking game is a difference-maker - especially in a league with such poor kicking overall.
RPS Bottom Line: Bentonville is hanging on and remains tied for third in the conference. A victory over Southside will be hard enough to manage, but in the scheme of things, it could be worth very little. Bentonville is in a spot where it could defeat Southside and still miss the playoffs or lose to Southside and make the playoffs. The Tigers' two biggest games are still in front of them, including a Halloween home bout with Russellville next week ... Fort Smith Southside 33, Bentonville 9
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Siloam Springs at No. 20 Harrison

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Goblin Stadium
Records: The Siloam Springs Panthers (0-6-1) are coached by Chris McBride, who is 3-13-1 in his second year as head coach. The Panthers are 0-4 in AAAA-West Conference action. Harrison (7-0, 4-0) is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA and battles under the guidance of Tom Tice, who is 177-62-5 with the Golden Goblins.
The series: Dating back to the year of Siloam Springs' only playoff win in school history, the Goblins are 16-1 against the Panthers. The lone Siloam Springs victory in that span was a 21-7 win at home in 1995. The Panthers' last win at Harrison came in 1971, a 21-8 victory.
Last year: Locked in as a 20-point favorite, Harrison blasted Siloam Springs, 38-7, last year at Glenn W. Black Stadium.
Notable stats:
More than any individual statistic, the saddest stat of all last week for Siloam Springs was the final score. The Panthers led, 27-14, and held Greenwood to back-to-back field goals in the final two minutes of the third quarter. The fourth quarter was a disaster with Greenwood scoring 20 more points and maintaining its share of the league lead with a 40-27 win.
Outlook:
True, it has been more than 30 years since Siloam Springs won a football game in Boone County. But the games have not always been lopsided. In fact, there have been stretches where Siloam Springs gave Harrison just about all the Goblins could handle. Just two years ago, the Panthers only bowed, 23-16, on the Goblins' turf.
Some 10 years ago, Harrison needed some breaks to beat the Panthers, 21-14, in two separate trips to Crooked Creek. And in 1989, during the first 10-0 season in Harrison history, Siloam Springs waltzed in on the final night of the regular season and almost caused the Goblins to wad up their "10-0 Way to Go" signs and stuff them ...
Harrison prevailed, however, 14-7.
RPS Bottom Line: Siloam Springs hasn't won this year, but the Panthers have only been out of one game all season - a 39-10 defeat at home to Alma. Last week was another case of not being able to finish. It would be asking a lot of Siloam Springs to hang around until late and make a game of it again this week. While the Panthers are due for a victory, they may be destined for a huge letdown ...
Harrison 30, Siloam Springs 9.

Clarksville at Huntsville
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium
Records: Clarksville coach Michael Banning (17-35) returned only a couple of starters from last year's playoff team and the Panthers have not been able to get into the win column during an 0-7 campaign. Huntsville is 2-5 overall and also stands 0-4 in AAAA-West Conference. The Eagles are coached by Ken Harriman, who is in the second year of his second stint with the team and owns a 72-52-1 record.
The series: Since 1980, the teams have only met four times with Clarksville winning all of them, including twice in 1995.
Last year: Blessed with a strong defense and picked to win, 20-0, Clarksville made its playoff desires known and rumbled past the Eagles, 35-3.
Notable stats: Huntsville has three pretty good receivers in Jason Hargis, Matt Smith and Dustin Canion. The trio has caught 97 passes, almost 14 per game, for 1,267 yards. That's almost 300 more yards than the Eagles have gained on the ground this season.
Outlook: There are two conference games that can still be won by both these clubs. One will win tonight and Siloam Springs remains on both schedules.
Up to now, Clarksville has been rendered fairly helpless by its seven opponents. The Panthers opened the year by giving Ozark a scare, falling 22-15, but have yet to perform to that level since Labor Day afternoon at War Memorial Stadium. In fact, Clarksville has not scored 15 points or more in a game and has not allowed fewer than 22 points in a game since opening day.
Huntsville defeated 1-6 Farmington and a pretty good Yellville-Summit club in what would have to be called an upset. The down side: Huntsville was expected to show a little more than it did in a 27-14 loss to Greenbrier.
Coach Harriman's crew is also struggling to put points on the board. Through four conference games, Huntsville is averaging 10.8 per game.
RPS Bottom Line: It's a case where something has to give. Clarksville will come up big on one side of the ball or the other, possibly, but asking for both ailments to be cured in one night is asking for a lot. Huntsville's offensive funk is most likely to be cured and the Eagles, who are not a real strong defensive team, can prevail in a relatively high-scoring game ...
Huntsville 28, Clarksville 22.

No. 37 Prairie Grove at Green Forest
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Red Tiger Stadium
Records: The Prairie Grove Tigers (5-2, 4-0) are ranked eighth in Class AAA and coached by Danny Abshier, who has posted a 67-48-2 record as a head coach. The Green Forest Tigers are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the league under the dean of 1AAA football coaches, Bill Gotto, who enters the contest with a 97-84-2 record.
The series: First meeting in 1972, the Red Tigers and Tigers have squared off every year since with Green Forest dominating the series, 22-9. Prairie Grove is 4-6 against Green Forest under Abshier.
Last year: Prairie Grove was a 16-point favorite at home against Green Forest and walloped the Red Tigers, 35-13.
Notable stats:
Prairie Grove shares the wealth, scoring three touchdowns per game on the ground, Zac Sigmon and Robbie Abshier have both run for seven touchdowns. Sigmon leads the Tigers attack with 519 yards on 90 carries.
Outlook: It's true, "Rich has a glitch."
Two weeks ago, after Prairie Grove concluded an improbable back-to-back sweep of preseason favorites Shiloh Christian and Berryville, the words were uttered  in Carroll County.
RPS had failed.
Upon further review, let's not forget how RPS arrived at the conclusion that Prairie Grove would not be able to defeat either Shiloh Christian or Berryville - much less both of them.
In a word: Dover.
A second-half collapse against the Pirates backed up the original thinking of most 1AAA Conference pundits: Prairie Grove was not in the same class as Shiloh Christian and Berryville. If ever a loss was good for a team, though, the Dover defeat has paid dividends. When Prairie Grove goes into the locker room with halftime leads now, the first thing the Tigers think about is Sept. 19. That's the night Dover zipped out of town with a 44-21 come-from-behind victory.
If Dover and Prairie Grove were to meet again tonight, RPS would bank on Class AAA's eighth-ranked Tigers by at least a touchdown. The glitch is gone - until Prairie Grove makes it reappear again.
One more addendum: Prairie Grove is ranked 37th in the state this week. This is the second week in a row the Tigers have been ranked and only the fifth time in the school's history that RPS has had the Tigers in the Top 40.
Prairie Grove was first ranked in the Top 40 in 1999 and then made it for back-to-back appearances in 2001.
RPS Bottom Line: And, oh yeah, there's a game on the docket tonight in Green Forest. Green Forest, thanks to its win over Gravette, is probably going to the playoffs. That's OK with Prairie Grove. Abshier's Tigers have already beaten the league's other two playoff teams ... Prairie Grove 32, Green Forest 12.

Shiloh Christian at Gravette
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Bernard McAbee Field
Records: Shiloh Christian coach Chris Wood (20-11-1) has led the Saints to a state title and, this year, a 5-2 overall record and 3-1 mark in the 1AAA Conference. Gravette is 5-2 and 2-2 in the league. Coach Charlie Phillips is 64-47 as the head coach of the Lions.
The series: Shiloh Christian is 4-1 against Gravette in a series that began in 1991.
Last year:
The Saints were 5-point underdogs and had their four-game winning streak against Gravette snapped in a 35-34 defeat at Field of Champions.
Notable stats:
Ryan Holloway had a season-best 143 yards on the ground last week, but it paled in comparison to Nathan Emert's 17-of-19 passing night against Green Forest. Emert threw for 316 yards and five touchdowns, three of them to Brady Arthur.
Outlook: Since losing to Prairie Grove, 20-8, Shiloh Christian has regrouped and returned to the kind of football that brought three state championships to Class AAA's 12th-ranked Saints in the last five seasons. The games have been over by halftime and the margins have been healthy: 49-14 over Gentry and 48-0 over Green Forest.
Gravette already lost to Green Forest and is going to need some help to get into the playoffs. The best help the Lions can get is via the upset route - beating either Shiloh Christian or Prairie Grove - and creating a three-way tie somewhere in the standings.
Of the two, Shiloh Christian is within reach. The Lions can pull even with the Saints with a victory in Gravette.
RPS Bottom Line: Ball control and some defensive stops are the key to stopping the Shiloh Christian machine. Gravette has four interceptions on 95 passing attempts by its opponents this year. That equates to the possibility of two picks against Emert & Co. tonight. In order to win, the Lions might need three or four turnovers while playing spotless football themselves ... Shiloh Christian 26,
Gravette 9.

Gentry at Farmington
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Allen Holland Field
Records: Gentry coach Jeff Stewart is in his first year with the Pioneers and is going through some hard times. Gentry has lost six in a row and stands 1-6 overall, 0-4 in the 1AAA Conference. Farmington can match the hard luck with a 1-6 overall and 0-4 league record under Mike Adams, who is in his first year at the Cardinals' helm.
The series: The longtime conference companions have shared the same dwelling for many years. Over the past 20 years, Gentry had been closing the distance on Farmington. The Cardinals have won 14 of the last 21, but only five of the last 12 meetings.
Last year: Installed a 7-point favorite, Farmington took offense and annihilated Gentry, 44-0, at Pioneer Stadium. The following week, Farmington sewed up a playoff berth with a 32-24 win over Green Forest.
Notable stats:
Three of Gentry's last four opponents have gobbled up more than 300 yards on the ground. That's good news for a Farmington rushing attack that was handed over to Bobby Harkreader last week. Harkreader had the Cardinals' third 100-yard game of the season, gaining 123 and scoring a touchdown against Gravette.
Outlook: This is the game for the "Wooden Spoon." The Wooden Spoon is not a good thing. It goes to the team that finishes last in other parts of the world.
Losing tonight would practically assure Farmington of the 1AAA's Wooden Spoon, barring a turnaround in the final two weeks. Gentry will spend Halloween with Lincoln in town next week and could break off some of the Wooden Spoon to share should the Pioneers lose tonight.
Gentry's lone victory came over Cedarville, a 1-6 team that the Pioneers clobbered, 41-0. Farmington defeated winless Paris, 36-24.
RPS Bottom Line: It really is a tough call. Gentry seems to be rolling downhill after a promising start. Farmington defeated a better team, but was not nearly as emphatic in doing so. Gentry runs the ball better; Farmington passes it a little better. When it gets down to it, though, Gentry's defense is a little weaker against the run, statistically. This game really comes down to "who wants it more" and not who wants the Wooden Spoon. Nobody wants that ... Farmington 22, Gentry 21
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Berryville at Lincoln
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Wolves Stadium
Records: Doug Scheel's first year at Berryville has seen the Bobcats go 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the 1AAA Conference. Lincoln is 1-6 and 1-3 in the league. Coach Mike Guthrie (2-15) is in his second term with the Wolves.
The series: Berryville has won 17 of the last 21 meetings and, since the two teams began playing again annually in 1993, the Bobcats have gone 8-2 against the Wolves.
Last year: Picking Berryville to win, 40-6, RPS failed to note that Lincoln would kick for the conversion instead of going for 2 points. The Wolves made the kick and lost at Berryville, 40-7.
Notable stats:
Lincoln matched its season-high for completions when Travis Lange went 4-for-12. The passing game netted only 35 yards, however, and no points for the Wolves in a 34-0 defeat.
Outlook: The difference between the top three teams in the 1AAA Conference and everybody else is pretty sizable. Lincoln is a good indicator of that difference. When the Wolves have played Green Forest, Gravette and Farmington, they were competitive. Last week against Prairie Grove, the Wolves were in a little over their heads.
For Lincoln, though, the difference between winning one or two games and making the playoffs is not too big a jump. No, the Wolves are not going to make that jump this year, but they can look back and find just a couple of plays in a few of their losses that could have/would have changed things.
RPS Bottom Line: Depending on Berryville's injury status, it would not be a surprise to see Lincoln give Class AAA's 18th-ranked team, Berryville, a good battle tonight. The Bobcats did not overwhelm Gentry (21-6) last week and Lincoln has demonstrated that it is every bit as good as Gentry. Maybe better ... Berryville 18, Lincoln 0.


Mansfield at Greenland
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Jonathan Ramey Memorial Stadium
Records: Mansfield is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the 4AAA Conference. John Mackey (14-22) is in his fourth year as the coach of the Tigers. Greenland is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference under Lee Larkan, who is 21-10 in his third year as the Pirates' skipper.
The series: This is the ninth consecutive meeting between the Pirates and Tigers. Greenland holds a 7-1 lead, losing only in 1996.
Last year: Greenland was a 4-point favorite and fireworks were expected. Yet, both teams stepped it up on defense and Greenland had to work for a 20-12 victory at Mansfield.
Notable stats:
Any doubts about where Greenland wants to throw the football have been answered in the past two weeks. Senior receiver Travis Grogan caught eight passes for 139 yards and has hauled in 19 receptions for 341 yards and five touchdowns in the last two weeks' wins over Ozark and Subiaco Academy.
Outlook: Is it the second-place Greenland Pirates?
Last week, the Pirates slapped the sleeper hold on Subiaco Academy and then waited to see if they were granted a share of first place with a Booneville victory over Waldron.
Booneville did not win, however, and Greenland woke up Saturday tied with Ozark - a team the Pirates defeated - for second place.
A trip to Booneville still looms for Greenland - a game that, if lost, could send Greenland all the way to Prairie Grove for a first-round playoff game.
But the losses become greater if Greenland is caught napping tonight against Mansfield. The Tigers are on the outside looking in right now, but rate as one of the top fifth-place teams in Class AAA.
RPS Bottom Line: Mansfield can tie Greenland in the standings with a victory and, if the two teams match records in the final two weeks, the Tigers would get the nod in a head-to-head tie-breaker with the Pirates. This is not a game the Pirates can afford to lose and Mansfield cannot be underestimated. Mark it down: The Tigers are awfully good ... Greenland 26, Mansfield 22.


Booneville at West Fork
Kickoff:
7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
Records: Booneville coach Ken Rippy (132-34) leads the Bearcats in with a record of 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the 4AAA Conference. Bryan Dougan is in his first year at West Fork and has the Tigers off to a 3-4 start. West Fork is 1-3 in the 4AAA Conference.
The series: The teams have met three times in the last 35 years, two of those times in the playoffs. Booneville has won all three games at home and with ease, including 1985 and 1988 playoff clashes.
Last year: Favored by 25 points, Booneville won with the kind of ease that is expected from one of the two titans of the 4AAA Conference. The Bearcats rolled to a 42-12 victory.
Notable stats:
West Fork had one 100-yard game this year before last week. T.J. Rennie, who had 139 yards and a touchdown against Gentry, was joined by Cody Prater in the 100-yard club last week. Rennie had a career-high 163 yards and two touchdowns and Prater, coming on after an 88-yard performance at Mansfield, had 153 yards and two touchdowns of his own for the Tigers.
Outlook: The 4AAA Conference is still a purple-colored league. It's going to be either Booneville or Ozark in most years.
With two league losses, Booneville has its most conference defeats since going 6-3 in 1997. At 2-2, the Bearcats are two defeats away from their first sub-.500 conference finish since 1980.
And the Bearcats, ranked 13th in Class AAA, still have Greenland to play.
West Fork shined in spite of a 14-0 loss to Ozark, proving that the Tigers can play on the same field with the purple-titans of the Arkansas River Valley. The Tigers were 0-3 in the league before getting back on the right track with last week's 55-27 victory over Paris. Entering this game, West Fork has a chance to pull even with Booneville in the standings and, with Subiaco Academy and Greenland still to play, can put itself into playoff position with a victory.
RPS Bottom Line: West Fork's offense had been held to 13 points in the Tigers' three conference-opening losses. It would be great to think the offense is going to have another big night like it did last week, but the 55 points came against a team that has given up 47, 48, 56 and 55 in its last four games. Unfortunately for West Fork, there will be some resistance tonight ... Booneville 20, West Fork 0.


Hackett at Elkins
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at John Bunch Memorial Field
Records: Former Prairie Grove assistant Ed Baker has led the Hackett Hornets to a 1-5 overall record, 1-3 in the 1AA Conference in his first year in charge. Coach Aaron Clark (20-20) has the Elks at 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference.
The series: Elkins has won the previous three meetings with Hackett dating back to 1979.
Last year: A 23-point favorite, the Elks rampaged to a 41-0 victory last year at Hackett.
Notable stats:
Josh Finkus had another outstanding game and his third consecutive two-touchdown showing last week against Charleston. In the past two weeks, Finkus has rushed 56 times for 395 yards and five touchdowns.
Outlook: Ranked No. 14 in Class AA, the Elkins Elks are well on their way to a home date in the playoffs. Charleston, Pea Ridge and Lavaca are all behind them on the schedule.
So the next three weeks are prep work for the Elks. Take care of their own business, keep improving, stay focused and the winning will take care of itself. There may also be the occasional glance toward Little Rock, from where the first-round playoff opponent is likely to emerge.
At this point, the first-round playoff foe appears to be Arkansas Baptist, a team Elkins whipped 33-0 to open the 2002 Class AA Playoffs.
While some say it is never wise to look ahead, it seems to go against the Boy Scouts of America motto: "Be Prepared." After last week's performance, even in a losing cause, Elkins should have the right to start looking ahead.
RPS Bottom Line: Losing by 3 points to a team that is among the best in Class AA is worth some celebration. Elkins has been heading toward the top of the mountain for two years now and the pinnacle is almost in sight. The Elks are underrated as the No. 14 team in Class AA and the only regret right now is they will not have much of a chance to improve on their ranking in the next three weeks ...
Elkins 29, Hackett 0.

Cedarville at Pea Ridge

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Blackhawk Stadium
Records: Shannon Rhea is in his first year at Cedarville and the Pirates are struggling along at 1-6 overall and 1-5 in the 1AA Conference. Coach Mike Harrod (14-12-1) has the Blackhawks at 4-2 overall and alone in third place at 3-1 in the 1AA Conference.
The series: Pea Ridge leads the all-time series, 7-3. Cedarville had decisive back-to-back victories in 1098 and 1999, but has since lost three in a row to the Blackhawks, giving up at least 40 points each time.
Last year: Pea Ridge was expected to win by 17 points, but Pea Ridge's offense exploded for 40 points and the Blackhawks rumbled to a 40-15 victory.
Notable stats: Ryan Barnett should be the first area running back to go over 1,000 yards this season when the Blackhawks line up against the Pirates. Going into tonight's game, Barnett has 963 yards and 13 touchdowns on 151 carries.
Outlook: While Elkins can ease into the playoffs, the season is just about to get going for Pea Ridge.
The Blackhawks have probably played just one playoff team this season (OK, Green Forest will probably make it, too) in the Elkins Elks. After tonight's visit from Cedarville, the Blackhawks are staring at back-to-back road trips to Lavaca and Charleston.
Pea Ridge will be tested going into the playoffs, but closing with Charleston is not a bargain. Not only is Pea Ridge going to be the underdog at Charleston, but the Blackhawks could come away from that game as battered and bruised as they have been in 2003.
In this case, looking ahead is not wise. Pea Ridge was a bit lethargic in the first half of its second game of the season against Hackett. The Blackhawks led, 7-0, before grinding down the Hornets for a 27-0 victory.
RPS Bottom Line: Cedarville lost at Hackett, 27-14, last month and only owns a single victory - 36-14 over Hartford. Pea Ridge has had played two kinds of teams this season: There are the teams the Blackhawks can overpower and the teams they can't. Cedarville falls into the first category ... Pea Ridge 33, Cedarville 10.


This week's projections
Last week's record: 86-12 (87.75 percent)
Season record: 579-115-5 (83.4 percent)
Since 1986: 14,690-3,181 (82.2 percent)

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Class AAAAA
Bryant 35, at LR Parkview 22
at Conway 47,  LR Hall 6
LR McClellan 18, at LR Catholic 13
at LR Central 32, North Little Rock 10
Cabot 41, at Blytheville 6
at Jacksonville 13, Forrest City 12
at Jonesboro 27, Searcy 14
West Memphis 36, at Mountain Home 16
at Pine Bluff 33, Benton 26
at Camden Fairview 29, Sheridan 14
at El Dorado 20, Lake Hamilton 16
Texarkana 27, at Watson Chapel 21
at Fort Smith Southside 33, Bentonville 9
Fayetteville 33, at Rogers 22
at Russellville 28, Fort Smith Northside 18
at Springdale 40, Van Buren 8

Class AAAA
at Batesville 28, Paragould 11
Beebe 20, at Nettleton 16
Vilonia 36, at Greene Co. Tech 15
at Wynne 34, Marion 6
at Crossett 20, Sylvan Hills 17
West Helena Central 16, at Monticello 15
Stuttgart 24, at LR Mills 14
White Hall 28, at North Pulaski 20
Pulaski Robinson 14, at Arkadelphia 13
Hope 22, at LR Fair 20
at Hot Springs Lakeside 30, Hot Springs 18
Malvern 23, at Magnolia 21
Alma 24, at Greenbrier 12
at Huntsville 28, Clarksville 22
Greenwood 25, at Morrilton 21
at Harrison 30, Siloam Springs 9

Class AAA
Berryville 18, at Lincoln 0
at Farmington 22, Gentry 21
Shiloh Christian 26, at Gravette 9
Prairie Grove 32, at Green Forest 12
Corning 21, at Highland 15
at Mountain View 38, Heber Springs 8
Pocahontas 27, at Hoxie 12
Newport 24, at Yellville-Summit 19
at Osceola 24, East Poinsett Co. 19
at Gosnell 28, Harrisburg 6
at Rivercrest 38, Jonesboro Westside 0
at Trumann 23, Piggott 12
Booneville 20, at West Fork 0
at Greenland 26, Mansfield 22
at Ozark 48, Paris 12
Waldron 35, at Subiaco Academy 15
at Atkins 29, Dardanelle 17
at Clinton 26, Lamar 22
Pulaski Oak Grove 25, at Dover 23
at Mayflower 32, Perryville 27
Bald Knob 25, at DeWitt 15
Lonoke 19, at Brinkley 17
Central Arkansas Christian 47, at England 10
at Pulaski Academy 30, Marianna 0
at Ashdown 36, Fountain Lake 8
Nashville 31, at Fouke 19
at Prescott 31, Mena 0
at Dollarway 38, Hamburg 19
at Fordyce 24, Dumas 22
Star City 32, at Lake Village 0
at Warren 35, McGehee 25

Class AA
at Pea Ridge 33, Cedarville 10
at Elkins 29, Hackett 0
Charleston 45, at Hartford 0
at Lavaca 26, Mountainburg 17
at Cross County 24, Salem 12
at Hughes 21, Earle 17
at Marked Tree 34, Turrell 25
at Palestine-Wheatley 38, Parkin 0
Walnut Ridge 36, at Rector 17
Hector 22, at Arkansas Baptist 13
at LR Lutheran 25, Bigelow 18
at Danville 28, Ola 8
at LR Christian 29, LR Episcopal 7
at Magazine 30, Marshall 14
at Centerpoint 22, Cutter Morning Star 21
at Glen Rose 41, Magnet Cove 15
Mount Ida 27, at Mountain Pine 9
Bauxite 35, at Pottsville JV 7
at Barton 46, Marvell 0
Carlisle 33, at Clarendon 16
Hazen 25, at Des Arc 15
Harding Academy 29, at Elaine 25
at Bearden 34, Sparkman 0
at El Dorado West Side 23, Harmony Grove 16
at Junction City 26, Hampton 10
at Norphlet 24, Smackover 16
Gurdon 24, at Dierks 13
at Foreman 20, Horatio 17
Lafayette County 33, at Murfreesboro 12
Mineral Springs 30, at Spring Hill 12
at Altheimer 35, Hermitage 14
Dermott 24, at Eudora 23
Gillett 35, at Strong 0
at Rison 42, Woodlawn 8


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