Teams battle for playoff spots and look to finish season with wins.
The season is slowing down, but there is still much to play for in the final weeks of the 2016 football campaign.
Van Buren and Mountainburg host their final regular-season home games. Alma heads to Greenbrier and Cedarville visits Paris.
Har-Ber at Van Buren
The Pointers have not lost more than two consecutive games this season.
After opening losses to Alma and Northside, the Pointers defeated Siloam Springs. For Week 4 and 5 Van Buren traveled to Bentonville for a pair of losses, but the Pointers topped Heritage in Week 6. With back-to-back losses to Rogers and Springdale, Van Buren turns its attention to Har-Ber to halt another two-game skid in the home season finale of the 2016 campaign.
“This is a good group of kids who refuse to quit,” said Van Buren coach Greg Werner. “I’m very proud of them. I think we’re going to have a good week practice. These guys have a lot of pride to play for and I don’t think I have to worry about them being motivated.”
Har-Ber (6-2, 4-1) hasn’t lost back-to-back games this season.
The Wildcats opened the year with a pair of wins but suffered a 55-14 loss to Jenks (Okla.) in Week 3. Har-Ber won four straight before it was shut out by Fayetteville last week, 28-0.
“Har-Ber is really good,” said Van Buren coach Greg Werner said. “It may have one of the best defenses we’ll see all year. This will definitely be a huge challenge for us.”
Har-Ber sport a number of players on offense who can break out and have a big game on offense. Through the first seven games this season, Payton Copher has the most carries, 87 for 576 yards. Copher rushed for over 100 yards in Week 4 (12 carries for 178 yards, 3 touchdowns) and in Week 6 (16-152, 2 TDs). Logan Collins has 589 yards on 74 totes. He rushed for 230 yards against Jefferson City (Mo.) on 21 carries and had 190 yards at Rogers in in Week 4. Collins opened the season with 135 yards against Southside.
Connor Sikes has 422 yards on 49 carries through the first seven games but has seen little action since Week 4. Sikes did have his best game against Bentonville West (Week 7) as he finished with a team-high 10 carries for 121 yards.
Cooper is 30 of 65 for 484 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Van Buren’s Walter Green had his fourth 100-yard game of the season as he led last week’s contest with 22 carries for 128 yards and one touchdown. Green has 752 yards on 95 totes with seven touchdowns. Caleb Salisbury is 26 of 71 for 475 yards, three interceptions, and five touchdowns.
Next week, Springdale finishes the season at Rogers (5-3, 2-3), while the Pointers travels to Fayetteville (7-1, 4-1).
Alma at Greenbrier
The 5A West Conference title and the No. 1 seed for the playoffs reaches fruition as the Airedales take on Greenbrier (7-1, 5-0) at Don Jones Stadium on Friday.
The last time Greenbrier won a conference title was during the 2012 season. Alma won its last title in 2013.
“We have to take one game at a time,” Alma coach Doug Loughridge said. “After the Morrilton game there were four steps to a conference championship, and (the Greenbrier game) is No. 3. We must focus on the task at hand and look no further than that. From here on out… all weeks are big.”
Last week, Alma senior quarterback Noah Dotson accounted for 321 yards of offense as the Airedales dismantled Harrison 49-14. Dotson threw for 259 yards and ran for 62. Brayden Johnson hauled in six passes for 152 yards (all in the first half) and junior Garrison Jensen ran for three touchdowns.
Through eight games this season Dotson has rushed for 542 yards on 97 carries and Jensen has 41 yards for 226 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dotson is 105 of 181 for 1,709 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Jensen is also a beast on defense with a team-high 67 tackles (46 solo) and nine tackles for a loss, an interception, and three sacks.
Greenbrier senior Carter Burcham is comparable with 114 of 193 passing for 1,693 yards with 24 touchdowns and two INTs. He also has 28 carries for 427 yards and four scores.
Seniors Brandon Thomas and Alex Massey are favored targets of Burcham as both have 39 receptions each. Thomas has 621 yards and 10 touchdowns while Massey has hauled in 594 yards and nine TDs.
Junior Grant Brown has a team-high 79 tackles (49 solo) this season.
“Greenbrier has been rolling all year,” said Loughridge. (The Panthers) have not slowed down offensively this season. They have the best quarterback we have seen since Greenwood. Burcham is a playmaker and does things a lot of high school quarterbacks can’t.”
Greenbrier finishes up the season hosting Vilonia (4-4, 1-4) while the Airedales travel to Maumelle (2-6, 2-3). So, Alma has to win the final two games of the season to secure the No. 1 seed for the Class 5A tournament and a share of the league title.
The 5A West No. 1 seed will host the first two playoff games but could travel to face playoff rival Wynne in the semifinals.
Cedarville at Paris
The Pirates were just three touchdowns from a 4-4 overall, 3-2 season with close losses to Perryville (three points), Mansfield (eight points) and Lamar (two points). Instead of reflecting on the could-have-beens, Cedarville (1-7, 0-5) is moving forward.
“We have to continue to play hard. Paris is a very good team,” said coach Max Washausen.
Last week, Lamar led Cedarville 14-12 at the end of the first quarter and the Warriors took a 20-12 lead going into the break. The Pirates scored again in the fourth, but came up short with the two-point conversion for the final margin, 20-18.
Caleb Stockton, Dakota Hopewell and Bryson Craft each scored touchdowns for Cedarville, who nearly upset Lamar last week.
The Pirates were unable to make a two-point conversion with about four minutes remaining in the game. Lamar was able to run out the clock to win 20-18. On a third and 20, Hopewell caught a jump-ball pass, fell out of the grasp of a Lamar defenders and covered 94 yards for the touchdown.
Paris (5-4, 3-2) suffered back-to-back losses at Charleston and Atkins and has bounced back to take wins in contests against Perryville and Two Rivers. The Eagles led Two Rivers 35-0 at the break after scoring 21 points in the first quarter.
Paris finishes the season at Lamar (4-4, 3-2) to see who gets the No. 3 spot for the playoffs. Perryville is also 3-2 in conference play, but has Charleston (8-0, 5-0) and Atkins (5-2, 4-1) remaining.
Cedarville wraps up the season at home next week with Two Rivers (0-8, 0-5).
Magazine at Mountainburg
The Dragons complete its two-game homestand with their final regular-season home game and senior night after a 46-6 loss to Hackett in a nonconference game last week.
Mountainburg hosts Magazine (3-5, 1-4) in the final 2A-4 Conference game for the Dragons this season.
Magazine has scored just 20 points in league play with an 8-6 win at Decatur and a 6-0 loss in overtime.
“We need to rebound from last week,” coach Tom Harrell said. “Magazine’s offense always concerns me. (The Rattlers) present you a lot of gaps to defend.”
Last week, the Hornets had 403 yards of offense with 286 through the air. The Dragons had just 206 yards with 155 yards on the ground.
Sophomore Austin Taylor had four carries for 83 yards and one touchdown to lead the offense. Senior Jaden Carver had two catches for 29 yards.
Junior Connor Rogers made 12 tackles for the Dragons to lead the defense. Rogers has 66 tackles (26 solo) this season.
Taylor has 342 yards on 37 totes for the 2016 campaign with three touchdowns. Senior Shane Rye leads the offensive running game with 79 carries for 396 yards and seven TDs. Rye had just 40 yards on eight totes against Hackett.
The Dragons (5-3, 4-2) wrap up the No. 3 seed with the win on Friday and could face the loser of the Dierks-Murfreesboro game on Nov. 12.