First-year Fayetteville Coach Bill Blankenship hasn’t coached on the high school level since 2005, but the former University of Tulsa coach has several key players to rely on to help make the transition easier. The Bulldogs, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s preseason No. 1 team in Class 7A as well as the state’s overall top 10, return several key players from last season’s team that won 14 games and captured its third state championship in the past five years.
When Bill Blankenship interviewed for the Fayetteville coaching position, he told the school's hiring committee he would have preferred the Bulldogs to have been runners-up in the Class 7A state championship the past five years.
Robinson junior Nathan Page was the Senators’ leading receiver last season, catching 44 passes for 731 yards and 8 touchdowns. Coach Todd Eskola said his group of receivers, which includes former Little Rock Parkview quarterback Koilan Jackson, is ready for great things. “The talent is there,” Eskola said.
Joe T. Robinson was one of the state's most talented teams in 2015, but the Senators managed only one playoff victory.
Little Rock McClellan running back Pierre Strong rushed for 2,248 yards and 30 touchdowns last season for the Crimson Lions, earning him a spot on the All-Arkansas Preps preseason team.
MONDAY At War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock
Fayetteville players celebrate their 28-7 win Dec. 5 over Springdale Har-Ber in the Class 7A state championship game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
In 1988, Paul Nielsen and I left the newspaper office in Rogers to write a story and take photos of a planned golf course on the southwest side of town.
Heritage quarterback Trey Kitterman (left) tries to fight off Fort Smith Northside defender Tanner Cross on Oct. 9, 2015, at David Gates Stadium in Rogers.
The 7A-West Conference has seen its share of changes over the past decade.
Here are some questions regarding high school football in Northwest Arkansas for the 2016 season.
Hackett, Mountainburg again seen as top league contendersPosted: at 1 a.m.
LAVACA — High school football in the 2A-4 Conference just became more difficult.
Elkins, Greenland expected to battle newcomer Clinton for the 3A-1 crownPosted: at 1 a.m.
Charleston finished 7-5 a year ago, losing in the Class 3A state quarterfinals. A solid season by most standards, but Tigers coach Greg Kendrick understands Charleston’s standards are a little different.
Zaine Holley of Pea Ridge runs the ball near the end zone against Prairie Grove on Oct. 16 at Blackhawk Stadium in Pea Ridge.
There will be no shortage of outstanding quarterbacks in the 4A-1 Conference this season, and that should make for an exciting race for the playoffs all the way to the end of the regular season.
Alma Quarterback Noah Dotson attempts a pass June 10 during the Championship game of the 7-on-7 Classic at Little Rock Christian High School.
Coach: Time in 7A/6A has team primed for successPosted: at 1 a.m.
“Beat Van Buren!” echoed throughout Airedale Stadium as Alma football players fired out at the end of a recent two-a-day practice.
Quarterback Luke Hales of Greenwood jumps over a Benton defender on his way to a first down during a game in 2015.
Greenwood, Siloam Springs preparing for move to 6A-West conferencePosted: at 1 a.m.
Greenwood’s run of domination in Arkansas high school football didn’t slow down any when it moved up to Class 6A in 2012 and began playing in the 7A/6A-Central Conference.
Taylor Powell of Fayetteville scrambles out of the pocket Oct. 16, 2015, against Har-Ber at Wildcat Stadium in Springdale.
Contenders likely to remain samePosted: at 1 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE — Former Fayetteville coach Daryl Patton’s resignation in May came as a shock to class 7A football and the entire state.
BENTONVILLE HIGH TIGERS
RANK ... TEAM ... CONFERENCE ... 2015 RECORD
2015 — Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, Pulaski Academy, Nashville, Harding Academy, McCrory
Greenwood senior quarterback Luke Hales is expected to share time under center with junior Connor Noland as the Bulldogs, ranked preseason No. 1 in Class 6A by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, try to win their first state title since 2012.
Greenwood Coach Rick Jones doesn't have time to look back.
Vilonia running back Cody Mitchell (center) is brought down by several Sylvan Hills defenders during a game last season. The Bears return fi ve defensive starters from a team that finished 6-4 and gave up nearly 29 points per game in 2015.
Fourteenth in a series profiling Pulaski County high school football teams.
Pulaski Academy junior quarterback Layne Hatcher passed for 4,667 yards and 55 touchdowns last year. The Bruins, who enter the season ranked No. 1 in Class 5A by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, have won back-to-back state titles and are riding a 27-game winning streak.
Pulaski Academy isn't shying away from talking about winning a third consecutive state championship and extending its state-best 27-game winning streak.
SPRINGDALE -- Defending 4A state champion Shiloh Christian started and finished with a flurry en route to a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-21, 25-17) against Rogers Heritage on Thursday.
Nashville’s Darius Hopkins fights for extra yardage during the Scrappers’ 39-20 victory over Prairie Grove in the Class 4A championship game in December. Hopkins is one of 11 starters returning for the Scrappers as they look to defend their Class 4A title.
Scrappers have ingredients to remain on topPosted: Aug 25, 2016 at 2:45 a.m.
Mike Volarvich embraced the expectations of Nashville's football program in his first season with the Scrappers in 2015.
Little Rock Hall hasn't won a game since 2011, yet it oozes optimism and perhaps for good reason.
Coach Mark Kehner (left) talks to his team during Monday’s practice. He leads a Glen Rose team coming off a 10-3 season. The team is led by a senior quarterback and an experienced offensive line.
Aaron Weatherford does not mind taking or delivering a hit. After all, the Glen Rose senior is a sturdy 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds.
Jacksonville's football team has a different name, a different conference and a hope for different results.
Fayetteville High golfer Anna Karen Witte reacts as she just misses a putt Tuesday during a triteam match with Rogers Heritage and Siloam Springs at Paradise Valley golf course in Fayetteville.
Fisher Vollendorf shot an even-par 36 over nine holes Tuesday, and teammate Kyle Robinson added a 39 as Fayetteville battled breezy conditions to post an easy, three-team match victory over Siloam Springs and Rogers Heritage at Paradise Valley Athletic Club.
When its coach took over the England football team in 2012, high expectations and confidence in championship outcomes were virtually nonexistent. Now the Lions have come full circle, to the point where the coach has found them another hurdle to clear.
Little Rock Parkview suffered a huge loss before its season ever began when head coach William Hardiman was placed on administrative leave last week by the Little Rock School District concerning a personnel matter.
Springdale Har-Ber held its annual Pigskin Preview on Thursday night and, as of Friday, coach Chris Wood -- beginning his 11th season at the school -- knows the season is now officially on.
Mills received an upgrade for the 2016 football season.
Injuries crushed Little Rock Catholic's 2015 season, but some of the team's reserves gained valuable experience in the process.
The Little Rock School District placed Little Rock Parkview football Coach William Hardiman on administrative leave Wednesday, pending the investigation of a personnel matter.
DECATUR -- Almost two dozen players clad in blue helmets and jerseys made their way out of the gymnasium to the lush green football field Wednesday afternoon.
It took a little extra -- three innings to be exact -- but the Texarkana Razorbacks came away from Shelby, N.C., on Tuesday night with an American Legion World Series title.