Everyone is home.
Just a couple of weeks ago all the Crawford County teams were out of town, but this week everyone is back.
Springdale arrives in Van Buren. Huntsville faces Alma. The Paris Eagles swoop into Cedarville while the Hornets travel to Mountainburg.
Springdale at Van Buren
Van Buren hosts Springdale Friday along with two players who burned the Pointers last season in the 7A West contest.
Deandre Murray rushed for 356 yards and four touchdowns while defensive back Qua Rose stopped the two-point conversion with 28 seconds remaining in the game to help the Bulldogs win 41-40.
"They have one of the best running backs in the conference, he’s a very good player," said coach Brooks Coatney. "That defensive back is also one of the best."
Springdale edged Rogers 32-28 to start of the conference season before dropping a 38-14 decision to Fayetteville. Last week, Springdale escaped with a 24-21 win against Siloam Springs (1-4-1, 0-3).
"Springdale will be a challenge, " Coatney said. "We have to eliminate our mistakes. We have to stop their running back from making big plays."
Coatney said that the offensive line played well in the 43-6 loss to Har-Ber last week.
"Joseph (Tyrone) has ran the ball well for us and we just have to keep creating opportunities for our offense," Coatney said. "All of our games become critical at this point."
Huntsville at Alma
Last week, Evan Burris complete a big pass to Tres Rowland to set up the go-ahead TD that was ran in by Burris. Malachi White and Burris scored the final two touchdowns to give Alma the 35-24 come-from-behind win.
"Our kids never showed any panic. They were backed into a corner and came out swinging," said coach Doug Loughridge. "Our staff was very proud of the effort and how we found a way to win."
Alma is the sole undefeated 5A West team in conference play as Greenbrier lost to Morrilton 35-7 last week. With four teams sitting at 2-1, it makes each game more important.
"Each week gets bigger and bigger. There is not any room for an off week," said Loughridge. "We must prepare each week for a playoff team and continue to practice and play at a high level."
This week Alma faces Huntsville (1-5 overall, 0-3 5A-West), a team that has struggled, but lost to Clarksville by seven in Week 5. Last week, Huntsville fell 38-14 to Shiloh Christian.
"Huntsville bases out of the traditional Wing-T formation on offense. It is very big up front and physical," said coach Loughridge. "Defensively, Huntsville does a great job running to the ball and don’t give up a lot of big plays, we have to earn it."
The Airedales have Vilonia (2-1), Greenbrier (2-1) and Shiloh Christian (2-1) remaining after Huntsville. Of the four final games three will be at home after spending four of the first six games on the road.
"We are loving the fact that we only have one more road trip throughout the next four weeks," Loughridge said. "It’s nice to be playing at home in front of our crowd and enjoy each Friday trying to better ourselves for the post season."
Alex Burris continues to lead the defense with 69 tackles, of which 44 are solo.
Evan Burris has completed 71 of 122 passes this season for 943 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. White has rushed for 447 yards on 95 carries (4.7 ypc) and seven touchdowns.
Last season Alma defeated Huntsville 28-7. Alex Burris scored two touchdowns in the win.
Paris at Cedarville
Last week, Cedarville was unable to overcome a late penalty that helped put Lamar deep in Pirates’ territory. The Warriors were able to turn a couple of miscues from a 14-12 lead to a 28-12 win.
"Good teams find a way to overcome penalties like that," said coach Mark Shelton after the game last week. "We just have to find a way to overcome our adversity and just get better each week."
The Pirates suffered another unfortunate setback when it was learned that the team used an ineligible player for three games. The use vacated three of the wins, including the Mountainburg and Conway Christian contests as well as the Atkins’ conference game. This puts Cedarville back to 1-2 in the 3A-4 and in fifth in the conference race.
With just four games remaining (including Mansfield, Charleston and Lavaca), each contest remains crucial.
Paris bounced back to beat Lavaca last week 21-14 after being shut out by Charleston in Week 5.
The Eagles beat Cedarville 21-14 last season. Both teams were tied up going into the fourth quarter. Paris took the lead, and the Pirates were moving into scoring position, but an interception halted the advance.
Dylan Shelton threw touchdown passes to Alex Cantrell and Evan Fincher in the loss.
Hackett at Mountainburg
The Dragons will help its playoff chances with a win Friday night and could take the No. 2 spot if it wins next week’s contest against Magazine.
However, this week it’s conference rival Hackett.
"They’re going to run right at us. Hackett wants to establish a power running game," said coach Tom Harrell. "Defensively, they are extremely quick and aggressive."
The Hornets (3-3, 3-1) are on a three-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3. Hackett has outscored its conference opponents 110-48 over the past three games including its 42-22 win over Union Christian.
Mountainburg fell to Hector 42-7 last week. The Dragons had one score from Samuel Copeland in the first quarter, but the Wildcats (6-0, 5-0) built a 38-7 lead by halftime.
Bobby Gatewood and Clayton Stephenson had seven tackles each for Mountainburg.
Mountainburg’s offense was limited to 167 yards with 122 on the ground. Stephenson led with 52 yards on 11 carries and Copeland added 32 yards on six totes.
Hackett rallied in the second half to beat the Dragons last season 35-14.