I included Bentonville in our Football Town series, which prompted a skeptic to argue against its inclusion because Bentonville West High School is actually located in Centerton.
Then, why I asked, was the school not named Centerton High or Benton County Central, as our man Henry Apple suggested when construction began? Bentonville is most certainly a football town and proof of it will be on display again tonight when Bentonville West and Bentonville High meet at Tiger Stadium with a No. 1 seed and a league championship at stake.
Bentonville (8-1, 6-0) will claim the 6A-West Conference championship with a win over Bentonville West (7-2, 5-1), which could earn a piece of the league title with a victory over the Tigers. That's yet to happen for West, which is 0-6 against the Tigers. West has beaten the more established school in other sports and there'll come a day when it happens in football as well. But Bentonville is determined it won't happen on this day, especially after the Tigers were beaten out for the conference championship last season by Fayetteville.
Bentonville and Bentonville West enter tonight's game with plenty of momentum after Bentonville defeated Springdale 45-7 and Bentonville West turned away Fort Smith Southside 35-24. The football field at Tiger Stadium tonight will be filled with talented players like Jake Casey, Carson Morgan, Ty Durham, and Nick Bell for Bentonville West and Josh Ficklin, Carter Nye, and Joey Su'a for Bentonville High.
Former Bentonville High all-state running back Preston Crawford said during our Football Town series that Bentonville vs. Bentonville West couldn't be described as a rivalry because the Wolverines have yet to beat the Tigers. He's probably right but that doesn't diminish the passion and all-out effort that'll be displayed by players on both sides of the field.
Bentonville West is definitely a threat but Bentonville High doesn't like to share conference championships with anyone, especially neighbors who include the word "Bentonville" on their jerseys.
For the Tigers, there's only one Bentonville.
RICK'S PICK Bentonville High
(Here are some other games involving teams from our coverage area. The picks are capitalized).
FAYETTEVILLE at Springdale Har-Ber
ROGERS at Rogers Heritage
Springdale at FORT SMITH SOUTHSIDE
Little Rock Southwest at FORT SMITH NORTHSIDE
Greenbrier at MOUNTAIN HOME
GREENWOOD at Little Rock Christian
Lake Hamilton at PULASKI ACADEMY
VAN BUREN at Siloam Springs
Alma at SHILOH CHRISTIAN
Pea Ridge at HARRISON
PRAIRIE GROVE at Farmington
GENTRY at Gravette
GREEN FOREST at Berryville
OZARK at Huntsville
Central Arkansas Christian at LAMAR
BOONEVILLE at Cedarville
CHARLESTON at Lavaca
GREENLAND at West Fork
Hackett at MANSFIELD
BIGELOW at Decatur
JOHNSON COUNTY WESTSIDE at Mountainburg
MAGAZINE at Conway Christian
LAST WEEK 23-1 (95%)
OVERALL 189-41 (82%)