While Dumas and Monticello have played each other the last two years, there is more at stake with this year’s game since the Billies (4-4, 3-2) have moved from Class 5A to the 8-4A Conference.
Dumas (2-6, 2-3) is clinging to its playoff hopes and a loss to Monticello would almost end those hopes for the Bobcats.
“That’s the way we are approaching it,” Dumas coach Mark Courtney said. “It doesn’t mathematically knock us out if we lose, but it makes it really tough for us. It is very important as far as playoffs go.”
Monticello is tied for third in the conference and a win over Dumas would probably guarantee the Billies a spot in the playoffs and possibly a better seed.
“What’s at stake is in terms of playoffs and conference records,” Monticello coach Greg Tiner said. “They are playing for a playoff berth and they will play hard and will be fired up about it.”
Last year, Dumas made the playoffs after winning three games.
The two prior games in the series were both won by Monticello, but Dumas is coming off a win against DeWitt in which the Bobcats rushed for 254 yards in a 29-point victory.
“They are getting better and better every week and they are very athletic,” said Tiner of Dumas. “Courtney does a good job with them and they have speed on both sides of the ball. It will be a battle for us and it will take our best effort and we will come to play.”
Courtney said Monticello is always a tough team.
“We just have to play sound on defense and have to be in the right spot and do the right thing,” he said. “They have to do what they have been coached to do all week and play within the plan.”
Hamburg at Warren
Warren started the season 0-3, but the Lumberjacks knew the season did not officially start until the first 8-4A Conference game.
Since the start of the conference season, Warren (5-3, 5-0) has rattled off five straight wins and are a game up on this week’s opponent, Hamburg (5-3, 4-1), as the two face off for the outright 8-4A title.
“It’s for everything and that’s what we have been working for,” Warren coach Bo Hembree said. “It will be a tough game and they are athletic and big, so we have to play well to have a chance.”
Hamburg has allowed a league-low 143 points, but the Lumberjacks have averaged 41.2 points per game in conference play.
The 0-3 start did not really concern Hembree, either. The last time the Lumberjacks started 0-3, they won the conference title in 2009.
“We know those first three games wouldn’t mean anything and it would not have mattered if we were 0-3 or 3-0,” Hembree said. “The season didn’t start until week four, and I think we are right where we want to be.”
Lonoke at Stuttgart
A week after beating Dollarway, Stuttgart (8-0, 5-0) can claim the 2-4A Conference title with a win over Lonoke (4-4, 2-3) on Friday.
“It’s a big game and we win the conference and not have a share of it,” Stuttgart coach Billy Elmore said. “We are playing a good football team and they have our attention.”
Stuttgart is at the top of the Hootens.com 4A rankings and solidified that spot by beating Dollarway, which fell to No. 4 in the rankings, last week.
Elmore said the 24-14 victory was a very physical one and his players are recovering this week.
“Because it was such a physical game, we’ve had to work on some different things,” Elmore said. “We are a little banged up and have to spend some time recovering, but it’s more of a mental thing this time of season than physical.”
Star City at DeWitt
Star City (6-2, 3-2 8-4A Conference) added another wrinkle to its offense last week that was averaging 31.7 points per game before a 56-30 homecoming win over Lake Village Lakeside.
With the junior varsity season over for the Bulldogs, Ty Brown rotated in at quarterback with senior Zack House and threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns. House also caught five passes for 185 yards last week.
Star City coach Blair Brown said Ty Brown will continue to rotate in at quarterback with House.
“Zack has led us this whole year and we will have Ty taking different packages with what we are trying to do,” Blair Brown said. “Ty gives us more of a vertical stretch and Zack gives us more with the play action and run game. He is great receiver and one of the most vertical receivers we have had.”
Star City is a perfect 7-0 in the series matchup with DeWitt (1-6, 1-4). A win for the Bulldogs and a loss by Hamburg to Warren would put the Bulldogs in a tie for second place in the conference, along with Monticello, which plays Dumas.
Star City is on its second three-game winning streak of the season.
“We are just going to try and sustain the momentum we have picked up the last three weeks and build on some positives, add depth and move on,” Blair Brown said.
Fordyce at Camden Harmony Grove
Camden Harmony Grove (4-3-1, 3-2 6-3A) has had Fordyce’s number over the past couple of years as the Hornets have beaten the Redbugs by six combined points.
Fordyce (7-1, 4-1) is tied with Prescott and McGehee at the top of the conference standings.
Camden Harmony Grove is one game behind the three teams.
“They’ve been a real thorn in our side,” Fordyce coach Tim Rodgers said. “They are one of the top teams in the conference and we have to make sure we beat them.”
Rodgers said the team has been working hard all week to correct the mistakes from the last couple of years against the Hornets.
“They just outplayed us and out coached us and that’s what we have been working on,” he said. “We need to do every little thing right and that’s what it has come down to. They have made the plays and we haven’t.”
Fouke at Drew Central
This week is Drew Central’s homecoming, and Pirates coach James White would like this to be the week the team’s 20-game losing streak comes to an end.
“We are really upbeat,” he said. “We have had a couple of good practices and we are going to stay focused to break our losing streak. We are looking good and hoping to get it done.”
The Pirates (0-7, 0-5 6-3A Conference) face a Fouke (2-6, 1-4) team that has only scored 139 points, which is one more than Drew Central has scored this season in one less game.
But Drew Central has given up 338 points this season, so White knows the defense is going to have to play well to break its losing streak.
“We’ve got to stop the run and they are going to try and line up and run it down our throats,” he said. “They think they can, so we have to step up and stop the run. Offensively, we feel like we have more team speed and hopefully we use that to our advantage.”
Smackover at McGehee
McGehee (7-1, 4-1 6-3A Conference) came back from a 14-point deficit with 4 minutes left to beat Prescott last week to pull into a three-way tie with Prescott and Fordyce in the conference.
This week, the Owls face Smackover (6-2, 3-2), which is a game behind the Owls in the conference and pulled off a comeback of its own. Smackover trailed Camden Harmony Grove 27-7 at halftime before winning 36-33.
The Buckaroos held the Hornets to 129 yards rushing, and last week, Owls senior fullback Steven King ran for 152 yards and four touchdowns.
Strong at Rison
Rison (5-3, 4-2 8-2A) fell to Bearden last week 26-20, but still is ranked third in Class 2A by Hootens.com, the same ranking the Wildcats had last week.
Rison is tied with Norphlet and Strong for third in the conference and the Wildcats host Strong (5-3, 4-2) this week.
The Wildcats have only allowed 135 points this season.
Woodlawn at Parkers Chapel
Woodlawn (0-7, 0-6 8-2A) is looking for its first win this season, but faces a Parkers Chapel (3-5, 2-5) team that is 2-0 against the Bears.
This is the second straight year Parkers Chapel will miss the playoffs and will face a Bears team that has scored just 16 points this season while giving up 313.