While many may feel that the high school football season just started, for us journalists, it has been a long, but exciting year. With Bryant, Benton and Sheridan automatically in the playoffs before the season even starts, the special rule leave many with a "huh?" look on their faces. I’m one of those people.
How in the world does an 0-10 Little Rock Fair team get in the postseason while a 4-6 Harmony Grove team sits at home or in the stands and watches Round 1? But, I didn’t make the rules and instead, it gives the Saline County area more chances to bring home a trophy.
The Glen Rose Beavers led all area teams with an almost perfect 9-1 record, including a 7-0 5-3A conference title. The Beavers also own a nine-game winning streak heading into the first round of the playoffs. Bauxite and Harmony Grove are the only two teams not playing this week.
Here are my picks for the opening round of the playoffs:
Bryant (7-3) vs. Cabot (5-4)
After finding out that the Hornets would be playing mostly 6A schools this season. I, along with many others, had the idea of Bryant coming out of the regular season with maybe one loss, if not an undefeated season.
Coming out with a 7-3 record, losing to Conway, Walter Ashley and the Pine Bluff Zebras and the three-time defending 6A champs El Dorado, the Hornets have me thinking twice about my preseason predictions.
Now that the Hornets shift back into the 7A for the postseason, it is going to be a long and crazy road for Bryant. Luckily, the Hornets get a so-so Cabot team to open the first round. And the Hornets are at home Friday. While Bryant has not been the most consistent team this year, the first round is almost a gift.
Though it is a tough road for Bryant to the state title, the second round has the Hornets’ name all over it. Bryant escapes playoff opener with 42-24 win.
Benton (3-7) at Russellville (6-4)
While most teams would not even get a sniff of the playoffs with a 3-7 record, the Benton Panthers are back in the postseason after another tough year. But, despite coming off three straight losses to end the season, Benton may surprisingly have the early edge coming into the first round Friday.
The Cyclones of Russellville are coming off two losses where they were outscored 44-7 combined. But, Benton still has lingering injury issues. With quarterback Terek Beaugard’s status up in the air, the Panthers really need a momentum boost before getting to Russellville on Friday. Just a positive practice today could lift the Panthers’ spirits and give them the boost need to get to the second round.
I know Russellville has struggled this season, but Benton’s health is a big red flag for me. I hate to say it, but, Benton will not be going any further. Russellville moves on after 35-20 win over Panthers.
Sheridan (4-6) vs. Little Rock Parkview (3-7)
How in the world does a team with a losing record get to host a playoff game? I guess when all but one team struggles badly, as long as your record is a game better, you get the game. While that is minor talk, the Yellowjackets have a chance to win a second playoff game in as many seasons after going 20 plus years without a postseason win.
With a struggling Parkview team coming to Sheridan on Friday, the Yellowjackets should have just enough to get to the next round once again. But, if the defense is not clicking and Dylan Flores doesn’t pass well, it could be a long night and even longer offseason for Coach Louis Campbell and the Yellowjackets.
I don’t think that is the case. Sheridan advances to Round 2 with 33-23 win.
Glen Rose (9-1) vs. Elkins (2-7)
Glen Rose has been the best team in the surrounding area all season. Yes. I said the Beavers could beat anyone in the Saline County area. After finishing the year on a nine-game winning streak, Glen Rose has the best chance of bringing home a state title in 2012
Glen Rose already has a conference title from this season, so why not a state trophy too?
Elkins brings a small and inexperienced team into Glen Rose on Friday, while the Beavers have a quarterback that threw for over 1,600 yards, a running back with 21 touchdowns and three wide receivers who averaged over 20 yards per catch in 2012.
Would you give any other team a chance against the Beavers? Didn’t think so. I have said too much already. Glen Rose romps to 10th straight, shoots Elks 49-6.