Special to The Commercial/William Harvey
Pine Bluff’s Tyrone Payne looks up for the touchdown catch against El Dorado last Friday.
After beating El Dorado last week, Pine Bluff is in good position to win its first 7A/6A-South Conference title since 2008.
There are still two conference games, though, as the Zebras travel to Sheridan this week and hosts Benton next week. The two teams are a combined 6-10 and 4-6 in conference.
Even though Sheridan (3-5, 2-3) is tied for fifth in the conference, Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding said this game more important than last week’s game.
“This one is bigger than the last one, at least to me it is, and that’s something we talked about in film on Sunday,” he said. “We had a good week of practices and I was concerned, but the 29 seniors have stepped up and they understand the importance of this game.”
With a win, the Zebras would guarantee themselves a share of the 7A/6A-South title since El Dorado and Bryant are in second place with one loss.
Bolding is not worrying if Pine Bluff becomes a conference champion this week, though.
“I just want to get another win and keep winning and they worry about the conference stuff when the year is over,” he said.
Last year the Zebras beat the Yellowjackets 34-6. But Bolding said the score is a bit misleading because the Zebras pulled away in the fourth quarter and was a tough game.
“They always play us tough and always are tough at home,” he said. “They are extremely well coached. Their kids are right where they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to do.
“It’s usually a battle. It’s going to be a good war and I enjoy going over there because there is always a good crowd.”
The game may be in Sheridan, but Bolding is expecting to see a lot of Pine Bluff supporters there.
“We have had really great fan support this year and the best since I have been here,” Bolding said. “Home and away, they have really been encouraging and classy with the way they have done it. The kids have noticed that and are very appreciative of it.”
Louis Campbell’s squad is getting ready for Pine Bluff’s visit and knows his team has its hands full against the Zebras.
“It’s about as difficult as it gets,” he said. “They are big, fast and strong and we don’t see a weakness with them. We have to play a perfect game to have a chance to compete.”
On paper, Pine Bluff’s offense should be a mismatch for Sheridan’s defense. The Zebras have scored 32.5 points per game and the Yellowjackets have given up 34.4 points.
“They are real young on that side of the ball and they have gotten better as the year has progressed,” Bolding said. “They always have some wrinkles for us on the defensive side of the ball.”
Both teams are coming off wins as Sheridan beat Little Rock Fair 49-24 last week. Quarterback Dylan Flores threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more in the win.
“He played well and it was certainly one of his better games,” Campbell said. “I think we wore them down in the second half.”