The last time Dollarway faced Newport, the Cardinals beat the Greyhounds for a trip to the 2008 Class 4A state title game.
At 7 p.m. today, the two schools will meet as conference opponents since Dollarway moved to the 2-4A Conference.
Since 2008, Newport has not topped more than five wins in a season. Dollarway, however, made it to the 4A semifinals last year before falling to Pulaski Academy.
Even though Newport went 4-7 last year, the Greyhounds were able to extend their state-record consecutive playoff streak to 25 straight years. So Dollarway coach Cortez Lee is not taking Newport lightly.
“They are a good team, a hard-nosed team,” he said. “They have some good looking athletes and I will think it will be a good contest.”
Newport (2-1) gave Sylvan Hills all it could handle in a 17-14 loss. The Greyhounds had a 14-0 halftime lead and running back Carl Turner rushed for 146 yards.
Newport runs a spread offense and a 4-3 defense under Jeremy Poole, who is in his second year as the head coach.
“It seems like they are well-coached, and their personnel is pretty big and it seems like they run well on defense,” Lee said. “They are real aggressive with their blitzes. We expect them to come in and put up a good showing.”
Newport is the first conference opponent Dollarway faces, and Lee wants to make an impression in the 2-4A right away.
“We want that more than anything and it’s our number one goal, getting to (Friday) and showing a good performance for our team,” he said. “We are ready for the contest. This starts the second part of the run of the goals we set, which includes a conference championship.”
Dollarway is off to a 3-0 start and is ranked No. 3 in Class 4A by Hootens.com.
While it is nice being undefeated to start the season, Lee said the team has already moved on and is focusing on the conference season.
“It’s a great feeling to start off 3-0, but we put that behind us and we are going to try and concentrate on continuing to do the things that we did well,” he said. “Then work on the deficiencies we had like technique and tackling. Overall, we are pleased with our start.”
Running back Jeremiah Young has started the season off on a high note. A year after rushing for more than 1,700 yards, Young sparked Dollarway to a 44-14 win over Helena-West Helena Central with offensive and defensive touchdowns.
In Week 2 against Little Rock Parkview, Young rushed for 199 yards on 10 carries and he added 124 yards last week against Crossett.
“He’s been a leader throughout the whole process,” Young said. “We expect some of the same things out of him. He has been consistent the last two years, so we expect nothing else out of him.”
One area the Cardinals hope to shore up this week is a lack of points on the scoreboard in the first half. Dollarway led Parkview 10-7 at the half before scoring 22 in the second half. Against Crossett, Dollarway had an 8-7 halftime lead and added 24 in the second half.
“We would like to set the tone a lot earlier and we haven’t been taking advantage of our opponent’s miscues,” Lee said. “We want to score early and be aggressive. You know you can’t always wait until the end.”