Week 4 of the high school football season was the first clear week from the rain and lightning. After Hurricane Isaac dropped many inches of rain in Week 1 and carried over into Weeks 2 and 3, many games were canceled or called early throughout the state. As for last week, the Saline County area teams did not fare too well. Bryant beat Benton for the seventh straight time in Salt Bowl XIII, 55-21. Glen Rose won big over Harmony Grove, 48-21 and Bauxite and Sheridan fell in their conference openers. The loss for Bauxite marked the 13th straight, dating back to last season. Hopefully, this week will be much better. Here are my Week 5 picks:
Bryant (3-1) at Pine Bluff (3-1)
Bryant has been a part of both thrillers and blowouts already this season. After opening the year with a loss to Conway, the Hornets have won three straight. But this week, another 3-1 team sits on the schedule. The Pine Bluff Zebras have put up some scary numbers already this year. After scoring 53 in Week 1, the Zebras tacked on 48 more in Week 2 to get to 2-0. After losing to North Little Rock next, the Zebras got past Texarkana last week in a close 23-17 victory. But, the Zebras have also given up plenty of points, including a 47-point showing to North Little Rock. For Bryant, Hayden Lessenberry seems to have settled down when it comes to passing the ball effectively after routing Benton last week, 55-21. With his ability to pick secondaries to pieces, Lessenberry, and the rest of the Hornets should feel very comfortable about making it four straight on Friday. I’m sticking with the Hornets in Week 5. Hornets stay hot, beat Zebras 42-33.
Benton (1-3) vs. Little Rock Fair (0-4)
The Benton Panthers have hit a bit of a brick wall since beating Jacksonville in Week 2. After falling to their arch rivals from Bryant last week, the Panthers will be out for blood Friday when they welcome Fair to town for Homecoming. Fair sits at a terrible 0-4 heading into Week 5. The War Eagles have been held to just 32 total points on the year and has given up 115. Panther running back Wallace Foote has been very impressive all season, along with a number of the Panthers defenders, but depth has plagued the team in the later quarters with many of the athletes playing on both sides of the ball. With that said, I still feel that Benton comes out of this week with a very big and much-needed win. Panthers roll on special night, beat Fair in 41-24 rout.
Sheridan (1-3) at El Dorado (2-2)
The El Dorado Wildcats are the defending, back-to-back 6A state champions. But, the 2012 season has been anything but expected with the Wildcats starting the year with a 2-2 record including a 0-2 start. Since Week 2, the Wildcats have put together back-to-back wins before welcoming the Yellowjackets into town. Sheridan has not had a very good season either, starting with only one win in the first four games. The Yellowjackets have lost three straight and this week doesn’t look promising. With El Dorado figuring things out week in and week out, it will be tough for Sheridan to come away with a win on the road against the champs. I can’t take the Jackets this week. Sheridan falls hard to ’Cats, 39-10.
Bauxite (0-4) vs. Ashdown (3-1)
Bauxite, Bauxite, Bauxite, where do I even begin? Dating back to last season, the Miners are 0-13 and 0-4 this year. Needless to say, the past year or so has not been kind to the once powerhouse Bauxite football program. Dealing with depth issues and overall numbers in general, the Miner have had a tough go for quite some time. After opening the season with two straight shutouts, the Miners have not been able to get much of anything going on either side of the ball. Turnovers have cost the Miners many, many points thus far in 2012, much like they did last season. And the year doesn’t get any easier when Ashdown comes to town Friday. Sitting at 3-1, the Panthers have shown that they are very capable of scoring in droves. Unfortunately, I believe they will romp once again this week. Panthers add to Miners' woes, win in “The Pit” 35-8.
Glen Rose (3-1) vs. Jessieville (4-0)
If the title of “Game of the Week” was to be given, this would get it, hands down. The Beavers have been playing very good football since losing to Malvern in Week 1 in a 31-28 heartbreaker at home. Since then, the Beavers have romped on their opponents, thanks in a big part to running backs Carlos Burton and Dillon Coney. With Coney out this week with a wrist injury, the Beavers will still be absolutely fine in the back field with Clay Holicer and Burton running the ball. But, Jessieville is a sleeper in the 3A conference. Sitting at a perfect 4-0, the Lions have played almost flawless football this season. But, Glen Rose quarterback Collin Hunter has been putting up all-state caliber numbers to this point. Leading the county in nearly every passing stat, Hunter is a beast on offense. I can’t stray away from the No. 1 team in all of 3A. Glen Rose wins again, makes it four straight with 32-17 win over Lions.
Harmony Grove (1-3) at Bismarck (0-4)
The Bismarck Lions entire football program has fallen off the face of the earth over the past few seasons. Opening the 2012 season with a 0-4 start, it doesn’t seem as if this year will be any better. But, for Harmony Grove, each season since 2010 has gotten better every year. The Cardinals lost to the Lions last year, 20-6 at home. Going into the game, the Cardinals were the favorite by a small margin. The outcome proved otherwise. This year’s match between the two still has the Cardinals coming out the victor. Not only are the Cardinals getting better each and every week, they are really starting to look like a seasoned ball club. Let us not forget that this year’s Cardinals dropped 21 on the Glen Rose Beavers last week. Cardinals get win number two, beat Lions on the road 34-21.