Cards look to stop defending champs

Harmony Grove senior Shane Small blocks Bauxite senior Carson Collins in Week 6’s loss to the Miners. The Cardinals will travel to Arkadelphia on Friday to take on the defending 4A champions. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier

The Harmony Grove Cardinals (4-2, 2-1) suffered their first conference loss of the year in Week 6, falling to the Bauxite Miners 35-18.
The loss was the first in three contests against the cross-county rival, dating back to the inaugural Saline River Showdown of 2015.
This week, the Cardinals continue with the grueling task of taking on 7-4A opponents when they travel to Arkadelphia to take on the defending 4A champion Badgers.
Arkadelphia is not off to the greatest start, sitting at 1-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play after a 44-0 blowout of Fountain Lake (3-3, 0-3).
“I have sat here and watched film and I cannot figure out how they have only won one game,” said Head Coach Mike Guthrie. “They have had some things go bad for them at bad times, but their schedule is crazy hard. They are, by far, the best team we have faced to this point. There is no comparison.”
The Badgers are led by junior quarterback Cannon Turner, who has completed 47 of 109 passes this season, totaling 736 yards and six touchdowns. He also has been picked off five times.
On the ground, Turner leads the team in rushing with 450 yards and four TDs. He also has eclipsed the century yards mark three times this season, carrying the ball 74 times.
“All of their skilled kids are back, they just lost their offensive line that was very, very good last year,” Guthrie said. “In my opinion, from three weeks ago until this week, their offensive line is getting better and better every week. If you wanted to beat Arkadelphia you had better get them early. Those new starters are getting better and better every week and it makes them dangerous.”
Defensively, junior Kyren Harrison leads the team with 40 tackles, followed by senior Carlos Haynie with 36.
The two also have a sack each on the year.
As for the healthiness of Harmony Grove, Guthrie said his team is a bit banged up.
“We have been banged up for the last three or four weeks and we had a kid break his finger in practice (Wednesday), who will likely miss Friday,” Guthrie said. “We had a kid sprain an MCL in practice and it is that time of year, we just have to persevere through it.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Badgers Stadium.