This wasn’t how it was supposed to be for Watson Chapel.
Had Chapel held on to a large lead over Hot Springs Lakeside and won Friday night, the Wildcats would have had a shot at a share of the 5A-South Conference championship. Instead, Lakeside’s 25-21 come-from-behind victory wrapped up the No. 1 seed for Camden Fairview (9-0, 6-0 in 5A-South), which hosts Watson Chapel on Friday.
“As far as bounce back, you just come back and go to work,” Wildcats coach George Shelton said. “In this business, you’re going to win football games, lose football games. You have to try to recover, so we’ll come back to the practice field and try to get prepared for the next one. Simple as that.”
Trying to upset the Cardinals might not be as simple. Camden Fairview hasn’t won by fewer than 28 points all season or allowed more than 14 points since Week 2, pitching four shutouts.
No matter the result, Watson Chapel still has a spot sealed in the 5A state playoffs, but can only finish as high as third, meaning it will not host a playoff game in the first round. Lakeside can take the third seed by beating Hot Springs on Friday and having Camden Fairview win, while Hot Springs can only earn the fourth seed with a win.
Co-Conference champs still in the Cards
Dollarway’s win over Batesville Southside guaranteed the Cardinals at least the third-seed in the 2-4A Conference, and they have a chance at the top seed yet.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios in place,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said.
Dollarway (8-1, 5-1) is currently second in the conference and behind Stuttgart, which took its only conference loss when Lonoke beat the Ricebirds this past week.
That loss kept the Cardinals in play for the No. 1 seed a and chance at being c0-conference champions.
“That game shows that any team can be beat by anyone in our conference,” Lee said. “Anything can happen.”
If Dollarway beats Heber Springs and Stuttgart loses to Marianna, which is 0-8 on the year, the Cardinals will get the No. 1 seed.
If the Cardinals beat Heber Springs and the Ricebirds win, then the two teams will be co-conference champions, but Stuttgart will get the top seed because the Ricebirds beat the Cardinals this year.
“This week is important because of the implications of being co-champions and we would like that title along with being the second seed or better,” Lee said. “One of our goals was to be conference champions.”
If Dollarway loses to Heber Springs, it would set up a three-way tie for the second through fourth place seedings with Dollarway, Heber Springs and Newport.
Lee said it is very important for his team to get that No. 2 seed.
“We really like that number two spot based on how the bracket is set up,” he said. “It’s very important for home field advantage not just for the first game, but for down the road in the playoffs.”
Bulldogs safe at No. 2
With White Hall’s win against Hope, the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 5A-South) locked themselves into the No. 2 seed in the conference and will face the third seed from the 5A-East.
“It’s a big deal,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “Anytime you have a home game off the bat in the playoffs, it’s a moral booster and it’s just a fun deal.”
Camden Fairview is ahead of White Hall and undefeated in the conference. If the Cardinals lose to Watson Chapel, they still hold the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs since they beat them earlier in the year.
If White Hall were to lose to De Queen, the Bulldogs still hold the tiebreaker over Watson Chapel if it wins.
Vaughn said a lot of hard work has gone into earning the No. 2 seed.
“You never know what to expect and we would have to be really fortunate and go our way,” he said. “Everything has fallen into place. The kids have played hard and gotten better every week, so it’s been a really enjoyable year.”
Pine Bluff earns top seed
Pine Bluff’s win over Sheridan guaranteed the Zebras (8-1, 6-0 7A/6A-South) at least a share of the conference title and the top seed from the conference.
Even if Pine Bluff loses to Benton, it would tie the Zebras with the winner of the Bryant/El Dorado matchup, which are both 5-1 in the conference.
Because Pine Bluff beat both of those teams, the Zebras would hold the tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed.