Special to The Commercial/Mike Adam
Dollarway senior Jeremiah Young rushed for 199 yards last Friday in a win over Little Rock Parkview.
Dollarway assistant coach Darrin Kidd figured it’s been 20 years since the Cardinals last started a season 3-0.
That was the season after he and head coach Cortez Lee graduated from Dollarway — and the last time Dollarway finished undefeated. Tonight, the Cardinals can reach the mark again with a victory at home over a Crossett team that took their place in the 8-4A Conference.
The 3-0 mark is a goal of theirs for the season, but just starting 2-0, which Lee and Kidd did each of their high school seasons, gives them a good feeling.
“It just confirms the hard work that we’ve done early in the offseason, after our season was over with last year,” Lee said. “So we’ll just continue to try to get better and win.”
So far, the 4A third-ranked Cardinals have been really good, holding both Helena-West Helena Central and Little Rock Parkview to 15 or fewer points and averaging 38. Dollarway is coming off a 332-rushing yard performance in a 32-15 win over Parkview.
Lee credited the Cards’ preparation and ability to execute for their success.
“The mental preparation has been positive,” he said. “The attitudes have been one where the guys are pulling for each other. We could stand to have guys learn more and show more of their technique on film, but overall, just the execution.”
Dollarway’s execution on offense and prowess on defense have proven to be a winning combination, as Lee called it. But the coach doesn’t mind challenging his team to do even better defensively.
“We would like for that defense to be on a lower side because our defense is the way to a championship,” he said. “Coach Kidd, coach (Tyler) Gibbs and coach (Rick) Martin, those guys have done an excellent job with the defense. If we can get our defense to pitch shutouts, that would even be better.”
To do that against Crossett (1-1), the Cardinals will have to break down the Eagles’ Spread offense, which started the season with a 51-26 win over Magnolia. But last Friday, 3A seventh-ranked Fordyce had a handle on the Crossett offense and dominated in a 34-6 home victory.
This will be the second week in a row the Cardinals go up against the Spread, but they may blitz more this time. Against Parkview, Dollarway employed a containment system that prevented the Patriots from attacking the defense from the outside.
“We were a little vanilla in our scheme with Parkview because they had a quarterback who we thought was fast and elusive and seasoned,” Lee said. “At the same time, we’ll try to employ some of those things against Crossett but we’ll be a little more aggressive and try to push the pedal on them.”
Crossett moved into the 8-4A from the 5A-Southeast along with Monticello for this season. The shift helped force reigning 8-4A champion McGehee down to the 6-3A and led to Dollarway’s lateral move to the 2-4A.
While conference play in 4A isn’t for another week, the Cardinals are getting a chance to measure themselves against a like team early.
“Of course, every victory you get, you would like for it to be (in) conference,” Lee said. “Conference details seeding. It helps with the mentality of you going to the playoffs and those types of things. We realize they can possibly be a future opponent depending on how well they do and how well we do. It’s just another way to gauge your team.”