Trent Ball’s focus is on football.

He was injured last February during basketball season and had to sit out for at least six months before learning if he could ever play football again.

For some, the risk for a re-injury could have been too great. For others, the time to wait could have been too much.

Not for Trent.

His focus was always on football.

“I love football, sitting out make it even worse and makes me love it more,” said Trent. “I just try to do my job and just focus on what I have to do. I forget about [the injury]. I don’t feel the pain, so I just keep going.”

“The things I love about Trent is all the little things he does to get better,” said Van Buren head coach Crosby Tuck. “Having the kind of injury that he did and coming back… you have to be tough and he’s proven how tough he is.”

Van Buren’s defense proved its toughness in the opening round of the 7A West by shutting out Rogers on the Mounties first four possessions and just 194 yards in the first half. The Mounties were averaging 509 yards per game in the first three contests of the season.

The Pointers (3-1, 1-0 7A West) will continue to be tested the duration of the season, but the next stop is a Bentonville on Friday.

The Tigers improved to 4-0 after defeating Har-Ber last week 35-21.

Bentonville has won all of the last 11 meetings between Van Buren and the Tigers, including last season’s 44-0 win.

“From watching the game film, I knew the type the player that he was and that he could help us,” said coach Moe Henry. “He brought some of the stability we needed on defense. He’s a safety, who can come in to stop the run, but also play back and provide coverage in the passing game. He also provides the morale for the other players because they know the type of player he is and someone they can depend upon as well.”

Ball went in for a layup during a basketball game and came down hard enough he couldn’t return to the game. Several x-rays and MRIs later, Ball was referred to a neurosurgeon when it was discovered he a pars defect (stress fractures in the bones of his lower back). Ball also had a back hemorrhage, which was the cause of most of his pain.

For the Ball family, Trent’s health was more important than playing football.

The family knew at the time it wasn’t going to be an easy road to recovery, and Ball knew the result could be no football.

But it didn’t slow him down. He still attended all the practices he could. He went to every team meeting held by the coaching staff. The only time Ball would miss a practice, meeting or workout was if he had an appointment for his back. It didn’t go unnoticed by Tuck and the rest of the coaching staff.

After five months of rest, medication, therapy, and “more importantly, prayer,” Ball was released to play with no restrictions.

“As parents, we knew it was going to be difficult for Trent to get back into the game. However, he is the hardest-working kid we know,” said Carrie Ball. “We were more concerned about the mental game in his head. We knew if he could overcome the mental part, the physical part would be easy. We are so thankful for the coaching staff for never giving up on him and his teammates who were always encouraging.”

Farmington at Alma

The Airedales make just their second home appearance in five games as it welcomes the Cardinals (4-0) for Homecoming on Friday night at Airedale Stadium at Citizens Bank Field.

Alma (0-4) dropped a 36-8 decision last week to Vilonia (2-2) to begin 5A West play.

Farmington is rolling after edging out Clarksville last week 22-21.

Charleston at Cedarville

The Pirates (4-0) are back at home to host the Charleston Tigers.

Cedarville is coming off its 24-21 upset at Lamar (3-1). Tommy Metcalf forced a fumble and recovered ti to help seal the win in the fourth quarter.

Kelin Mitchell paced teh pirates with 10 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Darryl Kattich provided the second punch with 150 yards on 19 totes with one TD.

The Tigers (1-3) had a rough start and is looking for some momentum to carry the squad through the duration of the season. Charleston edged out Greenland 35-29 in the 3A-1 opener last week.

Charleston has won all 15 of the last contests between both teams, but that record may stretch as far back as 1985.

Coach Max Washausen said his team is ready to make some more history this season.

Lavaca at Mountainburg

The Dragons host their first official game back at home on Friday night.

Mountainburg did host Lamar’s JV squad last week and won 36-28, but the game wasn’t going to count for or against the Dragons’ total for the season.

It’s also the first game for Mountainburg since it played at Greenland back on Sept. 13.

The Dragons won the first meeting 35-0 at Lavaca in Sebastian County to open the season for both teams. Starter Ethan Gregory suffered a season-ending injury during the contest and Mountainburg has went 1-2 since that time.

“Things have changed here a lot since the first meeting,” said coach Tom Harrell. “I am pleased with the toughness we have shown and the fight. We will continue to improve each week.”

Malachi West has stepped into the role as quarterback for the squad and Harrell said West has shown “great leadership qualities.”

Lavaca (1-3) nabbed its first win of the season as it defeated Johnson County Westside 49-28 last week.

“I’m not sure what to expect from (Mark) Headley,” Harrell said. “I am sure he will have his bunch well prepared and fired up. I am not a fan of playing teams twice, especially him.”