Preps Previews: Yellowjackets have winning ways with Panthers


Benton leads the all-time series with Sheridan at 6-5, but the Yellowjackets (1-4, 0-2 in 7A/6A-South) have won four of the last five outings between the two teams.

Sheridan coach Louis Campbell is not looking at what has happened in the past against Benton (2-3, 1-1), though.

“Every year is different,” he said. “They present a lot of challenges and make you execute. We will have to play a near perfect game to have a chance to win.”

If Sheridan is going to beat Benton for the fifth time in the last six years, the Yellowjackets will have to find a way to stop running back Wallace Foote, who rushed for 216 yards and four touchdowns last week.

“Probably the best tailback we have played this year and he has got his yards against anyone,” Campbell said. “We have our work cut out containing him.”

Sheridan has given up a league-high 179 points this year and has the second-lowest scoring output with 82 points.

Campbell said the team is going to have to establish the play-action pass.

“Certainly going to establish the run so we can have the play-action and throw it deep,” he said. “That’s something we haven’t done a good job of the last couple of games.”

Newport at Stuttgart

Stuttgart, the top-ranked team in Class 4A according to Hootens.com, is off to a hot start in the 2-4A Conference. The Ricebirds (5-0, 2-0) beat Batesville Southside 40-0 and Heber Springs, last year’s conference champ, 34-7.

“It was a big win over Heber Springs and it makes you feel good,” Stuttgart coach Billy Elmore said. “But each week is different. Just have to go with this week as a different ballgame.”

Stuttgart plays Newport tonight, and the Greyhounds (3-2, 1-1) took Dollarway to overtime earlier in the year.

“They have a good football team and moved some people up,” Elmore said. “There is no doubt that we will have to play well.”

Newport freshman running back Clay Turner has rushed for 413 yards in two conference games.

“He’s a good football player, no doubt about it,” Elmore said.

Dumas at Warren

Warren and Dumas are different teams than what they were two weeks ago.

Warren (2-3, 2-0 in 8-4A Conference) made a switch to Justin Gorman at quarterback and the sophomore threw for five touchdowns in last week’s win over Star City.

“Justin was having really good practices and we put him in the second half against Camden (Fairview) and he looked good and gave him another chance against Crossett,” Warren coach Bo Hembree said. “He did well again, so we have moved Drake (Jones) around and have Justin play quarterback.”

The Lumberjacks have won two straight games after an 0-3 start.

“This week is just another step toward our goal of winning the conference championship,” Hembree said. “We have improved the last two weeks and hope to play well again.”

Dumas (1-4, 1-1) won its first game of the year two weeks ago and gave up a season-low 14 points in a 14-7 loss to Crossett last week.

The Bobcats had more than 400 yards of total offense, but they could not get into the end zone as much as they needed to.

“Didn’t get it done in the red zone,” Dumas coach Mark Courtney said. “We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t make the plays. Put a lot of time into it this week.”

Warren and Hamburg are the only two 2-0 8-4A Conference teams left.

“They are good and they have a lot of athletes on the field,” Courtney said of Warren. “Not like a lot of teams where if you shut down this, you shut them down. They just go to the next option and they are a tough matchup.”

Lake Village Lakeside at Monticello

Monticello’s inconsistent season continued last week with a 31-7 loss to Hamburg. The Billies (2-3, 1-1 in 8-4A Conference) have scored just seven points in its three losses, but have 69 points in its two wins.

Monticello coach Greg Tiner said it is not an offensive problem, just how hard the team has played in its wins and losses.

“For us to play the way we did was disappointing,” he said. “Right now, it just depends on how we play. If we play hard like we did (two weeks ago), we will win. If we play like we did last week, we will lose.”

Monticello faces Lake Village Lakeside for the first time and the Beavers (1-4, 0-2) have not won a conference game since 2010.

“They do have athletes and it all boils down to how we will play,” Tiner said. “We are not taking them lightly and they will play hard. For us, we have got to be focused to win the game and playing at home for the first time in three weeks, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to play hard.”

Hamburg at Star City

After a 3-0 start to the season, Star City (3-2, 0-2 in 8-4A Conference) has had a rough start to the conference season with two straight losses.

The first was a 28-27 loss to Monticello. Star City had a chance to win but failed to score on two-point conversion to win the game. Last week, Star City fell to Warren 48-20.

“We aren’t where we want to be, but we have made great strides since the beginning of the season,” Star City coach Blair Brown said. “The second half with Monticello was a classic … and last week we had a difficult matchup with Warren and they lit us up in the air.”

Star City looks for its first conference win against Hamburg (3-2, 2-0) tonight, which is has given up just 93 points this season — the fewest in the conference.

“They are as talented as anyone in the league and it will be a dogfight,” Brown said. “They are very physical. We pride ourselves in playing physical with our opponent and just have to out-execute them.”

Fordyce at Prescott

After a couple of easy 6-3A Conference games, Fordyce (5-0, 2-0) faces the only team that has scored more points than the Redbugs this year — Prescott.

Granted Prescott (4-1, 2-0) has scored just one more point (225) than Fordyce, but the Curley Wolves won four straight since a season-opening loss.

“It’s one of our biggest games since the season-opener against Rison,” Fordyce coach Tim Rodgers said. “One of the better teams in terms of athletes that will matchup with us and they are bigger on the line. It will be a tough matchup for us.”

Fordyce is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by Hootens.com and Prescott is ranked seventh.

“The thing it will come down to is turnovers and making plays on defense,” Rodgers aid. “Have to make the plays when we get the opportunities and hold on to the football. We have to keep the ball away from them for as good as they are.”

McGehee at Genoa Central

Genoa Central (2-3, 0-2 in 6-3A Conference) may look like an easy matchup on paper for McGehee (4-1, 1-1), but the Dragons present some problems for the Owls.

“They are the biggest team I have seen with shoulder pads on,” McGehee coach Marcus Haddock said. “My first glimpse of them, good Lord they are huge. We are not very big up front and we are going to have to use our speed as the advantage.”

The Owls also have to deal with the 168-mile drive to Genoa.

“It’s going to be hard. It’s a long way there and there are a lot of distractions,” Haddock said. “Just hope the team stays focused and hope they are ready.”

Drew Central at Smackover

Drew Central (0-4, 0-2 in 6-3A Conference) looks to snap an 18-game losing streak. The Pirates know they have their work cut out for them against Smackover (4-1, 1-1).

“They have some good size up front and have a lot of speed with their receivers and backfield,” Drew Central coach James White said. “I think their quarterback really makes their offense go and finds the open man, and he is a good runner.”

Drew Central faces the third-best offense in the conference and the Pirates have given up a conference-high 201 points.

White said he has seen a change in his team’s defense, though.

“Our defense had one of our better practices on Wednesday,” White said. “They lined up correctly, found the football and got into our zones pretty well.”

Norphlet at Rison

Rison’s (3-2, 3-1 in 8-2A Conference) has been playing at the top of its game the past few weeks.

Tonight, the Wildcats face a Norphlet (4-1, 3-0) team that has found a good amount of success through the air.

Rison has intercepted eight passes over the past two weeks, while Norphlet quarterback Mike Tipton passed for four touchdowns last week.

“It would be continue our defensive success,” Rison coach Clay Totty said. “We had only one returning starter back, so we have gotten better with the more experience we have gotten. It’s the main reason we have improved and success breeds confidence.”

Rison is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by Hootens.com and Norphlet is ranked eighth.

“They are a good football team with some good players,” Totty said. “They do a really good job of running to the ball and will cause us some problems because of their quickness.”

Woodlawn at Hampton

Woodlawn (0-5, 0-4 in 8-2A Conference) has had its problems this year, but faces a Hampton (0-3, 0-3) team that has had just as many.

In just three games, Hampton has given up 160 points and scored just seven. Woodlawn has given up 191 points, though, and scored just 16.

Last year, Hampton beat Woodlawn 44-0.