Class 4A state playoffs
W3 Pocahontas, W8 Warren have byes
4th-2 Heber Springs (5-5) at 3rd-8 Star City (7-3)
5th-3 Jonesboro Westside (3-7) at W1 Prairie Grove (9-1)
3rd-2 Stuttgart (5-5) at 3rd-7 Ashdown (7-3)
5th-1 Lincoln (4-6) at W4 Dardanelle (10-0)
5th-4 Baptist Prep (3-7) at 2nd-8 Hamburg (8-2)
4th-8 Pine Bluff Dollarway (6-4) at 2nd-7 Fountain Lake (7-3)
4th-7 Arkadelphia (5-5) at 2nd-2 Helena-West Helena Central (6-4)
4th-4 Pottsville (7-3) at 3rd-3 Highland (6-4)
5th-8 Crossett (6-4) at W7 Nashville (10-0)
3rd-4 Dover (8-2) at 3rd-1 Shiloh Christian (6-3)
5th-7 Malvern (6-4) at W2 Central Ark. Christian (9-1)
5th-2 Lonoke (5-5) at 2nd-3 Gosnell (8-1)
4th-3 Trumann (6-4) at 2nd-1 Pea Ridge (8-2)
4th-1 Gravette (7-3) at 2nd-4 Pulaski Robinson (8-2)
Friday, Nov. 20
Heber Springs/Star City winner at W3 Pocahontas (10-0)
Jonesboro-Prairie Grove winner vs. Stuttgart-Ashdown winner
Lincoln-Dardanelle winner vs. Baptist Prep-Hamburg winner
PB Dollarway-Fountain Lake winner vs. Arkadelphia/Helena-West Helena Central winner
Pottsville-Highland winner at W8 Warren (9-1)
Crossett-Nashville winner vs. Dover-Shiloh Christian winner
Malvern-CAC winner vs. Lonoke-Gosnell winner
Trumann-Pea Ridge winner vs. Gravette-Pulaski Robinson winner
Lions familiar with scheme
As Gravette's football team prepares for its first-round playoff game Friday against Pulaski Robinson, the Lions are almost getting a refresher course on what they have seen the past two weeks.
The Senators (8-2) do a lot of the same things Gravette (7-3) has seen in its last two games against Shiloh Christian and Gentry, and they do it with quality personnel. Tailback T.J. Hammonds gives Robinson a 1,000-yard rusher, and quarterback Brennen Johnson has completed 88-of-131 pass attempts for 1,662 yards and 17 TDs this season.
"Robinson is a lot like Gentry, except maybe on another level," Gravette coach Bill Harrelson said. "They can be very explosive through the air or on the ground, and it's going to be a challenge for our defense.
"What Robinson will do won't be a shock to us because we've seen it the last two weeks, but we'll have to match Robinson's speed and elusiveness."
The best defense might be a good offense, which was illustrated in Pulaski Robinson's two losses against league champion and 4A-4 Conference champion Dardanelle and Pottsville. Both teams controlled the time of possession en route to their wins, and that's something Gravette did in its win over Pea Ridge with its huge offensive line and the running of tailback Jordan Burnett, who enters Friday's game with 1,228 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns.
"We're excited about being back in the playoffs and the challenge ahead of us," Harrelson said. "We'll have to control the ball and hope our players can come through like they have all year. I expect nothing less from them, and we're hoping we can shock the world."
-- Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
Blackhawks on roll
Pea Ridge will ride a three-game winning streak into Friday night's Class 4A playoff game at home against Trumann. The Blackhawks (8-2) ended the season with a 24-21 victory over Shiloh Christian that gave them the No. 2 seed from the 4A-1 Conference.
Linebacker Bradley Beavers led Pea Ridge with 19 tackles in the regular season-ending win. Pea Ridge also came up with four turnovers.
"We are playing pretty well right now," said Pea Ridge coach Tony Travis. "We had a come-from-behind win against Shiloh, and that is a tough place to get a victory. The defense, they had a shutout in the second half and they gave great effort. Then we had a big field goal in the second half that was the difference in the game."
Pea Ridge has been effective running the football with Zaine Holley leading the way with more than 1,300 yards rushing. Drew Winn has also run the football well, while fullback Wyatt Weber is a solid blocker.
"Zaine runs the ball extremely tough," Travis said. "But a guy that doesn't get a lot of credit is Wyatt Weber. Wyatt does a great job lead blocking for us, and he has got better as the year has gone on. The guys up front on the offensive line are also doing a great job, and Zaine doesn't need much of a hole."
-- Paul Nielsen • @NWAPaul
Tigers hope to avoid letdown
Remember Valley View?
Players on the 2013 team at Prairie Grove certainly do.
Prairie Grove was anticipating a long playoff run that year like in 2012, when the Tigers reached the state semifinals and finished 12-1. But those plans ended when Prairie Grove lost at home, 14-12, to a Valley View team that only started a football program in 2006.
Prairie Grove (9-1) hopes to avoid another surprise Friday when the Tigers host Jonesboro Westside (3-7) in a first-round game. Westside and Valley View both play in the 5A-East Conference.
"As coaches, we discussed demeanor and how we should approach this game," Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier said. "It's an unavoidable thing when you come off a really big game and go into a game that is, supposedly, not quite as big. It's hard to keep that level of intensity up, but we have to approach this game with a businesslike feel. We need to improve what we do and be efficient at it."
Prairie Grove finished conference play unbeaten last week with a 62-20 victory over Lincoln while Jonesboro Westside lost 47-6 to Pocahontas, which improved to 10-0. Prairie Grove is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A while Jonesboro Westside is No. 40 of 48 teams.
-- Rick Fires • @NWARick
Wolves back in playoffs
The good news for Lincoln is the Wolves are back in the playoffs after losing eight of 10 games last season.
The bad news? The Wolves (4-6) open the playoffs at Dardanelle (10-0), which is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A.
Lincoln had won three of its past four games before ending the regular season with a 62-20 loss at Prairie Grove. Even in that game, the Wolves led 14-13 in the second quarter before Prairie Grove took over.
Freshman Caleb Lloyd has provided a spark for the Wolves with 207 yards rushing against Gentry and 51 yards rushing against Prairie Grove. Dardanelle, which finished 13-1 last season, relies on a defense that allows 11 points per game.
The Sand Lizards beat Subiaco Academy 50-7 to end the regular season.
-- Rick Fires • @NWARick
Dover's size a concern for Saints
Shiloh Christian will have to contend with a large Dover team when the two square off Friday night in Champions Stadium in a first-round playoff game.
Saints coach Jeff Conaway said the Pirates are loaded in that regard, and his team will have to be prepared for a tough battle.
"They are so big," Conaway said of Dover. "They are big at every position, and they are very physical. They block well, they tackle well. So we've got to meet that physicality."
Shiloh Christian (6-3) is coming off a 24-21 loss to Pea Ridge last week in the final game of the regular season that knocked the Saints from the No. 2 seed to the No. 3. The Saints turned the ball over four times in the loss, including a pair of fumbled punts and a fumble inside the Pea Ridge 10-yard line.
"We have to have better ball security," Conaway said. "We've turned the ball over way too many times and when you play good teams, you can't win. So ball security is a big focus for us this week."
-- Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Sports on 11/12/2015
Print Headline: Class 4A Playoff Report