Shiloh Christian hunting for playoff success at Stuttgart

Posted: November 10, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Uniforms of every color will be represented on the opening night of the high school playoffs, but there will be one dominant color tonight in the bleachers throughout the state.

That color is orange. Bright orange, like the vests and hats worn by hunters chomping at the bit for the start of the modern gun deer season on Saturday.

I covered a playoff game at Fordyce one year where it looked like well over 50 percent of the male population in the stands that day was dressed in orange. Shiloh Christian will also likely see plenty of folks in hunting gear tonight when the Saints travel across the state to play at Stuttgart, the duck hunting capital of the United States.

Stuttgart also has a reputation for developing top athletes, like the three former Ricebirds (Odis Lloyd, Kerry Owens and Reggie Hall) who became starters with the Razorbacks in the 1980s. Stuttgart (7-3) will have a speed advantage over Shiloh Christian tonight and pass-rusher David Walker is the leader of a Stuttgart defense that only allows 15 points per game.

Shiloh Christian (7-3) is a funny team, and not in a ha-ha sort of way. The Saints blew their chance at a share of the 4A-1 Conference championship by losing to Gravette in Week 9.

The following week, Shiloh Christian returned home to Champions Field and beat unbeaten Pea Ridge to drop the Blackhawks into a first-place tie with Prairie Grove.

Shiloh Christian is certainly capable of going on a playoff run like the Saints did last season when the reached the state semifinals in Class 4A. But the Rice-birds have won six consecutive and I am uneasy about how Shiloh Christian performed the last time it went on the road when the stakes were high.

Rick’s Pick Stuttgart

Other games involving teams from Northwest Arkansas (selections are capitalized).

CLASS 7A

SPRINGDALE at Cabot Fort Smith Southside at FAYETTEVILLE Fort Smith Northside at SPRINGDALE HAR-BER

CLASS 5A

White Hall at ALMA

CLASS 4A

Heber Springs at GRAVETTE

Crossett at OZARK Pottsville at PRAIRIE GROVE

Waldron at PEA RIDGE Gentry at SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE

CLASS 3A

FORDYCE at Elkins Fouke at CLINTON Mountain View at CHARLESTON

Paris at BARTON Lamar at SMACKOVER

CLASS 2A

Poyen at DANVILLE Magazine at RISON Lavaca at EAST POIN-SETT COUNTY

England at MOUNTAIN-BURG

LAST WEEK 20-3 (87 percent) OVERALL 196-48 (80 percent)

Rick Fires can be reached at rfires@nwadg.com or on Twitter@NWARick.