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Helena is an east Arkansas delta town with a rich cultural and musical history.

It's home to the annual King Biscuit Blues Festival that draws blues fans each October from throughout the Mid-South. Helena is also the home of former Arkansas player and coach Ken Hatfield; former Confederate General Thomas C. Hindman, who led the South in the Battle of Prairie Grove; and former country crooner and music Hall of Fame member Conway Twitty.

Hello, darlin'. Nice to see you.

Helena is not known for high school football. Even the Cougars' 8-2 record isn't overly impressive until you realize who they've beaten.

Helena-West Helena Central will roll into Pea Ridge tonight for a first-round playoff game after destroying Warren 60-36. That's Warren, a high school football power in Arkansas and the previous No. 1 team in Class 4A.

The score should get the attention of the Blackhawks (7-3), especially after they were hammered 49-13 by Shiloh Christian last week.

Central senior Armonie Calhoun is a dual-threat quarterback who drives defensive coordinators crazy. He ran for more than 200 yards and completed 10 of 14 passes for 174 yards against Warren. Pea Ridge will also try to contain Ahmaud Jones and Joseph Robinson, who each had touchdown runs of over 40 yards against the Lumberjacks.

Pea Ridge is a capable team, despite its loss to Shiloh Christian. Sam Beard is a 1,000-yard runner, and quarterback Carson Rhine is a threat with nearly 500 yards rushing.

Pea Ridge went 12-2 and reached the semifinals last year before being eliminated by Arkadelphia, which went on to win the state championship in Class 4A. The Blackhawks could make a quick exit if they're not ready for a Helena-West Helena team fresh off one of the biggest wins in school history.

RICK'S PICKS Pea Ridge

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

CLASS 7A

Fort Smith Southside at SPRINGDALE

Rogers at CONWAY

Van Buren at FORT SMITH NORTHSIDE

Little Rock Catholic at FAYETTEVILLE

CLASS 6A

Siloam Springs at SEARCY

Sylvan Hills at RUSSELLVILLE

CLASS 5A

Alma at PULASKI ACADEMY

White Hall at HARRISON

CLASS 4A

PRAIRIE GROVE at Lonoke

Lincoln at HAMBURG

Gentry at MENA

Elkins at NASHVILLE

CLASS 3A

ATKINS at Lamar

Melbourne at MANSFIELD

Greenland at HARDING ACADEMY

Baptist Prep at BOONEVILLE

CHARLESTON at Clinton

CLASS 2A

CARLISLE at Magazine

Parkers Chapel at MOUNTAINBURG

Hackett at MOUNTAIN PINE

Lavaca at CONWAY CHRISTIAN

LAST WEEK 23-3 (88 percent)

OVERALL 204-48 (81 percent)

Sports on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Helena-West Helena could pose problem for Pea Ridge

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