Magnolia lost its first game of the season to last year's 5A-West Conference champion Harrison.
But Coach Mark King saw potential in his Panthers despite their 42-35 loss to the Goblins on Aug. 28 in a neutral-site game at Little Rock Christian's Warrior Field.
"Our kids have grown since that game," said King, who is in his second season at Magnolia after arriving from Foreman. "That game gave us a lot of confidence. We let that one slip away with five turnovers. But when you open a season with a game like that and a team can prepare for the triple-option and work on defending it all summer and you can move the ball like we did, it generates a lot of confidence for your team."
Since the loss, Magnolia has won at Crossett and Little Rock Christian, then held on to defeat El Dorado 27-23 on Friday night.
The Panthers (3-1) were led by sophomore running back Garrion Curry, who rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
King said he's been impressed with Curry.
"For a sophomore, he's really good," King said. "We knew he could be good. He's so stocky. He runs extremely hard. He makes big plays."
The victory over El Dorado was big for the Panthers.
"El Dorado is the best team we've faced, top to bottom," King said. "Their record [0-3] doesn't show it, but they played Cabot. Cabot is tough. They scrimmaged North Little Rock. They've been in all of their games.
"The kids are starting to believe in themselves. They're playing for each other."
Up next is Texarkana in the 5A-South Conference opener Friday at Panther Stadium in Magnolia.
The Panthers played four nonconference games this season because the 5A-South has only seven teams this season, leaving an open date. King didn't want to have an open date, so he scheduled four games.
King said Texarkana will be a challenge.
"Texarkana is a good football team," he said. "They've got almost everybody back. They've got a lot of playmakers."
Arkansas high school football teams were 7-1 against teams from out of state Friday.
Two of the state's most high-profile games were interstate matchups, with two-time Class 7A champion Bryant holding off Cedar Hill (Texas) Trinity Christian 44-40 in Bryant, and defending Class 5A state champion Pulaski Academy earning a 31-20 victory over Life Christian Academy of Virginia at Joe B. Hatcher Stadium in Little Rock.
In another interstate game inside the Arkansas borders, Greenwood defeated Choctaw, Okla., 23-12.
Five Arkansas teams went out of state Friday, with four of them earning victories.
Bentonville traveled to Shawnee, Kan., and knocked off 2019 Class 5A state champion Mill Valley 35-28.
In Missouri, Rogers routed Springfield Central 43-14.
Fort Smith Northside and Prairie Grove traveled to Oklahoma and picked up wins over Moore and Stilwell, respectively. Northside defeated Moore 28-21 and Prairie Grove rolled over Stilwell 48-13.
Shiloh Christian blew a 26-21 lead and lost 27-26 at Sand Springs, Okla.
With conference play beginning for most of the state this week, there is only one interstate matchup Friday. Harding Academy of the 3A-2 Conference heads to Memphis Briarcrest.
There will be a new No. 1 team in a classification's Super Six for the first time this season.
Benton was the preseason No. 1 team in Class 6A and held that spot until a 35-28 loss Friday night to Little Rock Catholic. The Panthers (1-2) dropped three spots to No. 4 in the Super Six.
Greenwood (3-0) takes over as the top team in Class 6A after a 23-12 victory over Choctaw, Okla.
The Bulldogs' defense has allowed 15 points in three games this season, including a 33-0 shutout of Springdale Har-Ber on Sept. 11.
Greenwood also moves up one spot to No. 7 in the overall top 10.
Benton drops out of the overall top 10 from its No. 5 spot, which means there are some teams moving up.
Cabot (3-0) is the new No. 5 overall team. Other teams that moved up a spot this week in the overall top 10 include Conway (2-1) at No. 6, Greenwood (3-0) at No. 7, Pulaski Academy (3-0) at No. 8 and Lake Hamilton (3-0) at No. 9. Little Rock Parkview (3-0) enters at No. 10 and will travel to Greenwood on Friday.
In Class 4A, Nashville (2-1) and Arkadelphia (3-0) each move up one spot to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, despite being off Friday. Shiloh Christian (2-1) lost 27-26 at Sand Springs, Okla., and the Saints go from No. 2 to No. 4 in Class 4A.
Games are off
m Conference play begins Friday for most of the state, but there are six games that have been affected by the coronavirus as of Saturday. The canceled games will be considered a “no-contest”, meaning there will be no winner or loser in the matchup.
Conway at LR Southwest*
Blytheville at Cave City^
Warren at Crossett*
Hamburg at DeWitt*
Lincoln at Hackett*
Horatio at Prescott*
*Will not be made up
^Game is rescheduled
NOTE Little Rock Southwest also canceled its Oct. 2 game against Cabot.