Today's Paper Latest stories Most commented Obits Traffic Weather Newsletters Puzzles + Games

WEEK 12 PREDICTIONS (favored team in ALL CAPS followed by points spread)

Class 7A

  1. North Little Rock (11-0)

  2. Bryant (8-2)

  3. Bentonville West (7-4)

  4. Fayetteville (9-3)

  5. FS Northside (8-4)

  6. Conway (9-3)

  7. Bentonville (7-4)

  8. FS Southside (6-6)

  9. Springdale (7-4)

  10. LR Catholic (5-6)

  11. Cabot (3-7)

  12. Springdale Har-Ber (2-8)

  13. Van Buren (4-7)

  14. Rogers (3-7)

  15. LR Central (1-8)

  16. Rogers Heritage (0-10)


No. 5 FS Northside at NO. 2 BRYANT (13): Northside coach Mike Falluer was not pleased when these teams’ first meeting of the year (Sept. 21) was canceled in the 2nd quarter due to lightning at Bryant. Northside trailed 16-7 when officials called the game. “I’d hate to give somebody a win after playing less than a half, too,” says Bryant coach Buck James. Northside’s other losses came on consecutive Fridays in October at Conway (35-21), vs. North Little Rock (40-3) and at Cabot (35-23). The Grizzlies beat rival FS Southside (23-13) Week 10 to earn a No. 4 playoff seed, mercy-ruled Van Buren 35-0 in the first round of the playoffs and ended Bentonville’s seven-game win streak last Friday, 30-17.

Northside, which hasn’t returned to the state finals since winning it all in 1999, owns one of the state’s better defenses. It allowed just 63 yards in the first half last week at Bentonville and just 30 yards rushing on 16 carries for the night. Northside recorded five QB sacks, forced three turnovers and allowed only one TD (Bentonville returned a kick for its other TD). Northside senior LB Anthony Travis (6-2, 215), a basketball standout playing football for just the second season, makes big hits and knocks down passes in coverage. The Grizzlies committed no turnovers at Bentonville with senior QB Derrick Wise operating the option attack to near perfection. Wise carried 24 times for 133 yards and completed 9 of 14 passes at Bentonville. “The option makes you have to cover the whole field,” James says. “We’ll have to play assignment football and make one-on-one tackles.”

Bryant makes it’s third consecutive semifinals appearance looking to play in its first state title game. Hard-running senior all-state RB Latavion Scott gains 6.77 yards per carry, totaling 1,470 yards this season. Senior all-state linebacker Jakob Neel blocked a field goal with 19 seconds remaining to beat Fayetteville 28-25 last week. Neel missed the first seven games of the season with injury, including a 36-35 loss to Fayetteville on Sept. 14 at Bryant. All Hornets are healthy and ready for the semis, James says. “This team’s motivation has been different since the offseason. They get it. I like our team. I think they’re ready to be able to do this. Nothing short of winning a state championship is what we’ve set out to do. We’re not here to just play in the semifinals.”

No. 3 Bentonville West at NO. 1 NORTH LITTLE ROCK (15): Talented defending champ NLR advances to its third straight state title game with a win while Bentonville West looks to play for it all in just its third season of football.

West waltzes into the semis loaded with three-year starters and four-star recruits. Senior receiver and Ole Miss commit Jadon Jackson totals 107.2 all-purpose weekly. Senior three-year starting QB Will Jarrett, out with injury in three of West’s 4 losses this fall, completes 58 percent of his passes for 223 yards weekly. Senior Tucker Swoboda (6-3, 180) totals 74.5 all-purpose yards weekly. The Wolverines pass for 218 yards and rush for 125 weekly to average 32.6 points. West allows 21.7 points with 25 QB sacks and 11 interceptions this season. Senior linebacker Austin Embank makes 10.1 tackles per Friday, but Vanderbilt LB commit Kendall Young will not play for the second consecutive game due to undisclosed reasons. Undefeated North LR outscores opponents 40-21 weekly. The Charging ’Cats failed to cover consecutive onside kicks in the fourth quarter last week but survived FS Southside 48-45. It was NLR’s closest outing since beating Tulsa (Okla.) Washington 29-28 in the season opener. North LR has three 1,000-yard rushers: seniors Oscar Adaway and Tyler Day and junior Brandon Thomas. Thomas carried 11 times for 218 yards while Day added 177 rushing yards last Friday. NLR’s robust rushing attack is bad news for Bentonville West, which allowed 5.49 yards per carry to Conway last Friday.

Class 6A

  1. Greenwood (10-1)

  2. Benton (9-2)

  3. West Memphis (11-0)

  4. Jonesboro (7-5)

  5. Marion (8-3)

  6. Searcy (9-3)

  7. Pine Bluff (5-6-1)

  8. El Dorado (5-6)

  9. Sylvan Hills (4-7)

  10. Russellville (7-4)

  11. Siloam Springs (5-6)

  12. Lake Hamilton (5-6)

  13. Sheridan (2-8)

  14. Jacksonville (3-7)

  15. LR Hall (1-9)

  16. Mountain Home (0-10)


No. 2 Benton at NO. 3 WEST MEMPHIS (7): West Memphis eliminated Benton in last year’s quarterfinals 39-21 at Hamilton-Shultz Field, the site of this game. In that game, West Memphis scored the final 18 points in the fourth quarter. Benton scores 42.4 points weekly, second in Class 6A. West Memphis boasts the top scoring defense (10.5 PPG) in Class 6A.

Benton survived Jonesboro’s upset bid last week, winning 38-37 when Jonesboro missed a game-tying extra point with no time remaining. Jonesboro led 28-16 in the fourth quarter. “They brought more energy than we did early on,” Benton coach Brad Harris says. “They did a great job of tempoing us. Jonesboro ran 87 plays. We didn’t play our best, but a lot of that was Jonesboro.” Benton senior running back Zack Wallace totaled 125 yards with a TD against Jonesboro in his first action since Week 8 at Greenwood.

West Memphis senior playmaker Devin Olloway, an all-conference running back last season at Barton, scored three TDs on seven touches in last week’s 34-6 quarterfinal victory over Pine Bluff. Olloway, who totaled 152 yards against Pine Bluff, ran 6 yards for a TD as a Wildcat QB, took a jet sweep 45 yards for his second score and went 83 yards with a screen pass for his final tally. “He’s lightning in a bottle,” Harris says.

Sylvan Hills at GREENWOOD (21): Sylvan Hills is the first No. 6 seed to advance to the semifinals since the advent of the six-classification system in Arkansas in 2006. The Bears, who had not won a state playoff game since 2007, has won two straight playoff games. Sylvan Hills ripped Russellville two weeks ago in overtime and last week avenged a 26-7 loss in September at Marion with a 17-14 win.

Greenwood has not allowed a point in nine quarters, dating to a 42-14 Week 9 win at Sheridan. Greenwood, Class 6A’s top scoring offense (43 PPG), slammed Searcy by 35 points last week behind senior QB Peyton Holt’s 382 yards and four TDs.

Class 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy (11-1)

  2. LR Christian (11-1)

  3. Harrison (12-0)

  4. Morrilton (8-4)

  5. Texarkana (10-2)

  6. LR McClellan (10-2)

  7. Blytheville (7-5)

  8. Wynne (7-5)

  9. LR Parkview (5-6)

  10. Greenbrier (7-4)

  11. Camden Fairview (6-5)

  12. HS Lakeside (5-6)

  13. Valley View (7-4)

  14. Alma (5-6)

  15. Nettleton (8-3)

  16. White Hall (5-5)

  17. Batesville (4-6)

  18. Magnolia (6-4)

  19. Forrest City (4-6)

  20. Beebe (4-6)

  21. Watson Chapel (3-6-1)

  22. Vilonia (3-6)

  23. Farmington (4-6)

  24. Maumelle (4-6)

  25. Paragould (1-9)

  26. Greene County Tech (3-7)

  27. Clarksville (2-8)

  28. Huntsville (2-8)

  29. Hot Springs (1-9)

  30. De Queen (1-9)

  31. Hope (1-9)

  32. LR Fair (1-9)


No. 3 Harrison at NO. 1 PULASKI ACADEMY (12): This is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, which Pulaski Academy won 57-20.

Pulaski Academy averages 567 yards and almost 50 points weekly. They’ve won nine straight games since losing Week 3 by eight points at Bossier City (Parkway), La. “Pulaski Academy likes to pressure you with offense,” says White Hall coach Mike Vaughn, whose Bulldogs lost to Pulaski Academy 63-21 Week 10 and the next week in the playoffs at Harrison 49-7.

Bruin junior quarterback Braden Bratcher completed 278 of 408 passes this year (68 percent) for 4,103 yards and 47 touchdowns. He’s thrown at least four TD passes in eight games, including 377 yards and seven TDs at White Hall. He passed for 331 yards and five TDs in last week’s 50-point win over Little Rock McClellan.

Undefeated Harrison puts up 399 yards and 44 points per game. Junior running back Gabe Huskey paces Class 5A with 240 carries for 1,957 yards and 30 TDs this year. He’s also Harrison’s top receiver with 24 grabs for 656 yards and six TDs. Junior QB Ben Johnson completes 60 percent of his passes (72 of 120) for 1,581 yards and 20 TDs this year, with just three interceptions. Huskey missed last year’s game at Pulaski Academy with a shoulder injury. Jones was limited with a shoulder injury. “We were handcuffed last year,” Wells says. “Our players are excited and confident. We are better defensively than last year.”

LR CHRISTIAN (3) at Morrilton: Morrilton hosts its first semifinal game since 1977. The Devil Dogs downed Blytheville 45-20 a week ago, jumping to a 10-0 halftime advantage and building a 30-0 third quarter lead behind stout special teams. Little Rock Christian, which started varsity football in 2002, returns to the semifinals for the third time in school history and first since 2015.

Morrilton outscores its opponents by 20 points weekly. The Devil Dogs led Blytheville 10-0 at halftime last week and stretched it to 30-0 in the third quarter behind solid special teams. Junior QB Jacolby Criswell missed two months after injuring his knee in a preseason scrimmage, but returned a month ago and “has shaken off the rust,” McNabb says. “He’s rounding into form.” Criswell has completed 63 of 96 passes (66 percent) for 868 yards and eight TDs with two interceptions since returning, and rushed 34 times for 2424 yards and a pair of TDs. Criswell passed for 208 yards and a TD and ran for 77 yards and a TD at Blytheville. Xavier Clemons paces Morrilton’s ground game with 1,025 yards and 20 TDs, including a three-TD effort at Blytheville. Seniors Mason Adams and Reggie Toney are the top receivers with six TDs each. Morrilton’s defense improved over the past four weeks since junior cornerback Marquis Criswell returned from a hamstring injury, and QB turned tackler Dylan White settled in full time at outside linebacker. White (four tackles per game) “brings us athleticism at linebacker,” the coach says.

Class 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian (11-1)

  2. Joe T. Robinson (10-2)

  3. Rivercrest (11-1)

  4. Ozark (9-2)

  5. Dumas (11-1)

  6. Nashville (10-2)

  7. Arkadelphia (7-5)

  8. Stuttgart (10-1)

  9. Warren (9-2)

  10. Bauxite (9-3)

  11. Helena (9-3)

  12. Mena (8-4)

  13. Dardanelle (9-3)

  14. Heber Springs (7-5)

  15. Hamburg (8-4)

  16. Lonoke (6-6)

  17. Trumann (7-4)

  18. Elkins (7-4)

  19. Pea Ridge (7-4)

  20. Lincoln (8-3)

  21. Prairie Grove (5-6)

  22. Gosnell (5-6)

  23. Pottsville (5-6)

  24. Jonesboro Westside (7-4)

  25. CAC (5-6)

  26. Southside Batesville (6-5)

  27. Fountain Lake (6-5)

  28. Star City (4-7)

  29. Pocahontas (4-7)

  30. Gentry (3-8)

  31. Harmony Grove Haskell (5-5)

  32. Bald Knob (4-6)

  33. Crossett (2-8)

  34. De Witt (4-6)

  35. Ashdown (3-7)

  36. Berryville (4-6)

  37. Riverview (2-8)

  38. Brookland (2-8)

  39. Dover (2-8)

  40. Gravette (1-9)

  41. Waldron (2-8)

  42. Cave City (1-9)

  43. Highland (1-9)

  44. Subiaco Academy (1-9)

  45. Monticello (0-10)

  46. Malvern (0-10)

  47. Mills (0-10)

  48. Green Forest (1-9)


No. 6 Nashville at NO. 1 SHILOH CHRISTIAN (3): Shiloh is in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years, while Nashville returns to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2015.

Nashville limited Bauxite to 81 yards in the second half of last week’s 41-18 come-from-behind victory. The Scrappers rely on a relentless ground attack running behind senior tackles Robert Dunham and Bubba Reeder, senior guard Miguel Hernandez and juniors Kendrix Holcomb (tackle) and Ryan Brown (center). Junior Carmillias Morrison (149 carries, 1,064 yards and nine TDs) and sophomore Keyshawn Stewart (167 carries, 1,143 yards and 13 TDs) pressure defenses with different running styles.

Shiloh Christian has won 11 straight games since losing the opener to eventual 5A South champion and quarterfinalist Texarkana. Senior safety Micah Button (64 tackles, four interceptions) and middle linebacker Nathan Chojnowski (56 tackles) are leaders of a defense that held seven opponents to a TD or less this year, including both playoff opponents. Versatile sophomore Jaiden Henry works at QB and receiver. He completed four of five passes for 79 yards and a pair of TDs in last week’s 52-point win over Mena, caught a 15-yard TD pass, ran 45 yards for a TD and returned a punt 41 yards for another score. Henry has 11 TD passes, five TD runs and three TD receptions this fall.

JOE T. ROBINSON (20) at Ozark: Ozark is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. The Hillbillies forced five turnovers last week, shutting out Lonoke 34-0, their first postseason shutout since 2002. The swarming Hillbilly D limited Lonoke to 92 yards. Senior running back Eddie Graham has scored two TDs in every game since returning from an injury four weeks ago, highlighted by a 12-carry, 131-yard effort Week 10 at Elkins. Sophomore Tyler Sanders paces Ozark with 129 carries for 1,160 yards and 13 TDs. Senior dual-threat QB Dawson Dietz completes 63 percent of his passes for 1,892 yards and 19 TDs, and he has 76 carries for 534 yards (7.0 yards per carry) and six TDs.

Class 3A

  1. Booneville (12-0)

  2. Smackover (10-1)

  3. Osceola (11-1)

  4. Prescott (11-1)

  5. Rison (12-0)

  6. C. Harmony Grove (9-3)

  7. McGehee (9-3)

  8. Clinton (11-1)

  9. Lamar (10-2)

  10. Mayflower (10-2)

  11. Newport (9-3)

  12. Glen Rose (9-2)

  13. Danville (8-4)

  14. Walnut Ridge (9-3)

  15. Mansfield (8-4)

  16. Harding Academy (8-4)

  17. Charleston (6-5)

  18. Melbourne (7-4)

  19. Atkins (7-4)

  20. Piggott (6-5)

  21. Centerpoint (6-5)

  22. Barton (4-6)

  23. Greenland (6-5)

  24. Hoxie (5-6)

  25. Baptist Prep (4-6-1)

  26. Harrisburg (4-6)

  27. Cedarville (4-6)

  28. Yellville-Summit (4-7)

  29. Jessieville (4-6)

  30. Lake Village (6-5)

  31. Palestine-Wheatley (4-5)

  32. Fouke (4-7)

  33. Dollarway (3-8)

  34. Mountain View (2-8)

  35. Perryville (2-8)

  36. Manila (3-7)

  37. Drew Central (1-8)

  38. West Fork (1-9)

  39. Bismarck (2-8)

  40. Horatio (3-7)

  41. Genoa Central (1-9)

  42. Marshall (1-9)

  43. Corning (0-10)

  44. Paris (0-10)

  45. Two Rivers (0-10)

  46. Cedar Ridge (1-4)

  47. Rose Bud (0-3)

Lamar at RISON (14): First meeting of these schools, which enter after impressive second-round victories. Lamar is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2015 after routing Harding Academy 32-13. The Warriors allowed just 43 yards rushing (2.7 yards per carry) and led 26-0 in the fourth quarter. Junior QB Ike Pelts totaled four scores (two rushing and two passing) and Brady James scored twice. Rison scored the last 38 points of last week’s convincing 62-20 victory over Mayflower. The Wildcats rolled up 403 yards (all rushing) and allowed Mayflower to score less than half of its season scoring average (47 PPG). Senior playmaker RoShawn Martin ran four times for 73 yards, highlighted by a 17-yard TD sprint. Martin also recovered a fumble and intercepted a screen pass and returned three kicks for 103 yards, including one for 64 yards. University of Arkansas commit Malik Chavis ran for 81 yards and two TDs. Sophomore running back Jamerian Frye darted for 181 yards on 22 totes and two scores.

C. Harmony Grove at BOONEVILLE (7): This marks the third straight quarterfinal appearance for Harmony Grove and the first as a member of Class 3A. The Hornets swarmed the Glen Rose Beavers 47-28 last week behind junior Damion Daniels’ two TDs and late interception. Classmate Xaylon Falls ran 70 yards for a TD and caught scoring strikes of 28 and 43 yards. Harmony Grove goes behind senior QB/middle linebacker Gannon Bearden, senior receiver/safety Kentrell Hill and disruptive noseguard Daniel Hicks. Harmony Grove’s three losses are to Class 2A power Junction City, Prescott and Smackover (combined record: 30-4). Booneville is 12-0 and just two of its games have been settled by 21 points or less. Its 28-26 Week 2 win over Class 4A Pottsville is its closest win. Senior fullback Carson Ray joins his father, Gator, and grandfather, Bruce, as Booneville 1,000-yard rushers. Rick Ray, brother to Bruce, also ran for 1,000 yards. Carson Ray ran for 98 yards and a TD in last week’s 41-13 win over Walnut Ridge. Junior QB Evan Schlinker zipped for 55 yards and a score. Booneville led 21-0 after the first quarter and 34-6 at halftime.

Class 2A

  1. Foreman (10-1)

  2. Hazen (11-0)

  3. Junction City (9-2)

  4. Conway Christian (10-2)

  5. Mount Ida (10-2)

  6. Hampton (8-2)

  7. Des Arc (9-3)

  8. Gurdon (9-3)

  9. Fordyce (6-6)

  10. Earle (9-3)

  11. Mineral Springs (9-3)

  12. Salem (9-2)

  13. Mountain Pine (8-4)

  14. Hector (7-4)

  15. Mountainburg (8-3)

  16. E. Poinsett County (6-5)

  17. England (4-7)

  18. Magnet Cove (5-6)

  19. Magazine (6-5)

  20. Quitman (6-5)

  21. Poyen (6-4)

  22. Hackett (4-5)

  23. McCrory (5-5)

  24. Rector (5-5)

  25. Lavaca (4-6)

  26. Bearden (3-7)

  27. Bigelow (4-6)

  28. Carlisle (4-6-1)

  29. Parkers Chapel (2-8)

  30. Clarendon (3-7)

  31. Dierks (3-8)

  32. Murfreesboro (3-7)

  33. Marianna (2-7)

  34. Brinkley (2-8)

  35. Strong (1-9)

  36. Midland (2-7)

  37. Marked Tree (1-8)

  38. J.C. Westside (2-8)

  39. W. Yell County (2-7)

  40. Cross County (3-8)

  41. Lafayette County (1-9)

  42. Spring Hill (1-8)

  43. Cutter M. Star (1-9)

  44. Marvell (0-10)


No. 5 Mount Ida at No. 4 Conway Christian

This could be a shootout. Mount Ida averages 34 points and 343 rushing yards per game, led by senior quarterback Cade Jackson (1,169 yards, 12 rushing touchdowns) and halfback Jonathan Lagrange (1,171 yards, 17 TDs). Mount Ida has knocked Conway Christian out of the playoffs the past two years. Mount Ida leads this series 3-1. Mount Ida defeated CC 34-28 in the 2017 quarterfinals, 41-29 in the second round of the 2016 playoffs and 31-27 in the 2013 regular season. In 2012, CC crushed MI 48-15 in the regular season.

Earle at FOREMAN (19): Both teams coming off sloppy performances where they got past less-talented opponents. Earle topped Salem 36-22; Foreman downed Magazine 38-26. No. 10 Earle fumbled at least 10 shotgun snaps last week at Salem, but backup QB Donerius Crowder managed to corral most of the loose balls and then find receivers Quinlan Allen and Alex Coleman for big gains.

Des Arc at JUNCTION CITY (21): After some early-season adjustments, JC’s 5-2 defense has tightened behind senior DL Semaj Livingston (36 tackles, 6.5 TFL) and sophomore Tanner Barnett (team-high 72 stops). Junction City allowed 103 points in its first three games. It has allowed 61 points in the eight games since.

Hampton at HAZEN (13): No. 2 Hazen comes off its best performance of 2018, holding fifth-ranked Gurdon to 8 rushing yards and 64 total yards in a 46-0 beatdown. Hampton has steamrolled its past four opponents and last week avenged a 2017 first-round playoff loss to Mineral Springs by burying Mineral 54-14.

Print Headline: Hooten’ high school football rankings

Sponsor Content


You must be signed in to post comments