Alma and Van Buren head out of town for their final regular-season contests, while Cedarville and Mountainburg are back home.
The Pointers travel back up the hill to face Heritage while Alma takes on Greenbrier in another key 5A West contest.
Cedarville hosts 3A-4 powerhouse Charleston and the Dragons are locked in a decisive 2A-4 contest that would determine the post-season fate for both teams.
Van Buren at Heritage
Van Buren dropped a 38-7 decision to Bentonville last week after the Tigers led 38-7 with 8:43 remaining in the third quarter. The Pointers prevented the shutout when Bradley Eversole connected with Andrew Martin for a 12-yard pass.
Eversole finished with 12-of-19 passing for 89 yards and one interception.
Tyrone Joseph pace Van Buren with 70 yards on 16 carries. Martin had six catches for 49 yards.
Heritage began the season 3-1 to suffer three consecutive losses. After falling to e Har-Ber 42-21 in Week 5, the War Eagles lost to Bentonville and Fayetteville by a combined four points.
Heritage came back last week to beat Springdale 43-10 after scoring 33 points in the second half. Brandon Gates leads the War Eagles’ ground game with 1,386 yards on 193 carries.
Last season, Van Buren led 25-14, but Heritage scored two touchdowns in a three-minute span in the final minutes of the first half to take the lead and then scored 28 unanswered points in the second half.
Gates had 196 yards and four touchdowns while the War Eagles gained 322 yards through the air with a pair of touchdown passes.
Alma at Greenbrier
Greenbrier is battling for a playoff spot and will have to win one of the next two games for a post-season berth.
"Greenbrier is going to give us a four-quarter ball game. Everything is on the line for (the Panthers)," said Loughridge. "Greenbrier is going to be hungry and we are expecting a big ball game there."
Alma has its playoff spot. However, the squad can carve its own path to its first league title since 2004 and hosting duties for the playoffs. Or… Alma could finish as low as third in the conference and hit the road in the post season.
"We are expecting our guys to load the bus with a business-trip type attitude," said. Loughridge. "We have lots to play for these next two weeks and it’s our job to protect it." We must get off to a fast start, play great defense and get the ball back to our offense in great field position."
After Greenbrier, Alma ends the season hosting Shiloh Christian (4-1 5A West).
Senior Alex Burris, the two-time all-state selection, had 11 tackles (seven solo) to reach 92 tackles for the season and now has 316 tackles for his career at Alma High School.
Junior Jake Marrs added eight tackles while Junior Edwards and sophomore Jacob Wells had seven tackles each.
Alma’s offense finished with 261 yards against Vilonia after averaging 187 yards per game through the first seven contests. Both quarterback Evan Burris and Malachi White each had 79 yards rushing while White scored two touchdowns.
Evan Burris completed 8-of-10 passing for 123 yards with two touchdowns.
Last season, Alma was looking for a share of the conference title and was poised to upset Greenbrier, who was 8-0 at that time, as the Airedales led 14-6 at halftime. Greenbrier rallied back to win 36-20.
"Greenbrier is one of the best-coached teams in the league and are not going to beat themselves. Greenbrier has some great skill players on offense and put up lots of points," Loughridge said. "Defensively, they do thing right and run to the football very well."
Charleston at Cedarville
The Pirates (2-6, 1-4) is looking to bounce back after a 33-26 loss at Mansfield.
Cedarville threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Charleston (8-0, 5-0) is on the cusp of winning its sixth league title in seven years, and will need to win at least on of its next two games for that to happen.
The Charleston Tigers defeated Lavaca last week 42-13 as Charleston reeled off 42 point before Lavaca could get back on the board.
Charleston features all-state junior Ty Storey, who has continued to put up strong numbers as quarterback. Storey has completed 149 of 213 passes for 2,078 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Storey has verbally committed to University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and has thrown for 6,475 yards and 70 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
Junior Taylor King and senior Chance Shelby are the leading receivers. King has 38 receptions for 583 yards and three touchdowns, and Shelby has 522 yards on 39 catches for nine TDs. Shelby, an all-state pick last season, is Charleston’s all-time receiver with 135 catches for 2,151 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three seasons.
Charleston won each of its five conference games by an average of 28 points.
The Pirates led 26-13, but three turnovers — two of which were converted to touchdowns allowed Mansfield to rally back for the win.
Corey Fincher paced Cedarville with 15 carries for 65 yards and Austin Soehlman added eight totes for 40 yards. Dylan Shelton completed 8 of 18 passes for 159 yards. Abe Hernandez hauled in four catches for 112 yards.
Last season, Cedarville scared Charleston as the Tigers only scored late for the 14-8 win and held off the Pirates in the waning seconds of the game.
Storey was limited to 198 yards and was picked off twice by the Pirates.
Magazine at Mountainburg
The Dragons host Magazine for the final 2A-4 Conference game for Mountainburg this season.
Magazine currently enjoys the No. 2 spot in the league with a 5-1 record. The Dragons can take the spot with a win and host a first-round playoff game. A loss could send Mountainburg as far back as fourth, depending upon how Hackett concludes its season.
After a 33-8 loss to Hackett, Magazine has outscored its opponents 100-7 over the next three games.
"We are going to have to play well on defense," said coach Tom Harrell. "Magazine’s quarterback is very quick. The (Rattlers) don’t throw much, but they run right at you with the option and the Wing-T offense. Magazine’s defense is not big, but quick as the (Rattlers) get a lot of people to the ball."
Mountainburg is coming off a 40-28 win over Western Yell County. Harrell said that quarterback Josh Skattebo had his best night as the senior rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns. Skattebo has 383 yards rushing this season with 28 TDs. As a team, Mountainburg has 1,746 yards on the ground with a combined 968 yards from a pair of sophomores, Samuel Copeland and Clayton Stephenson.