Ricebirds’ offense to lead attack


There is nothing special or fancy about Stuttgart’s offense. But for the last three weeks, the Ricebirds have put up big numbers offensively, including last week’s 32-15 win against Prairie Grove.

Head coach Billy Elmore said it is his team’s experience and know-how that is responsible for this offensive power.

“We have experience at every position,” Elmore said. “We have to ability to make adjustments, not only during the week but also in the course of the game.”

Stuttgart, which earned a first-round bye in the 4A playoffs, defeated Dardanelle (54-0), Warren (27-6) and Prairie Grove to punch their ticket to Saturday’s state championship in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium.

The Ricebirds, who own six state championships, will now face Ozark (12-2) for the Class 4A state title. It is Stuttgart’s first state final since winning the Class AAAA title in 2002.

“[Our offense] understands what we are trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish,” Elmore said. “We have a smart group of kids, and they understand what we are trying to do.”

Stuttgart piled up 443 yards in total offense against Prairie Grove. The Tigers were held to 132 total yards and managed just one offensive touchdown, after outscoring its previous two playoff opponents 75-62.

Stuttgart quarterback Dontrell Brown accounted for all four touchdowns and finished with 324 total yards. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and had 28 carries for 159 yards with two touchdowns.

“Obviously, as the quarterback he is going to touch the ball every play,” Elmore said. “He gives us another dimension as a running and throwing quarterback. He is hard to defend.

“He puts defense in tough situations because he has the ability to do both.”

Brown has more than 2,500 yards of total offense for the season. Running back Tyler Luster has more than 900 yards rushing.

Senior wide receiver Dre’lon Ice had two catches for 90 yards.

“He is a great athlete,” Elmore said. “He is our speed guy. Anytime he touches the ball, he is able to get to the house.

“[Opponents] have to respect his speed at the edge.”

But, the Ricebirds wouldn’t be anywhere without their offensive line, which includes senior left tackle Chris Hooks, senior left guard Eddie Simmons, senior center Spencer Dickson, junior right guard Cody Cooper and senior Taylor Daniels.

“There is no doubt, that it starts with the offensive line,” Elmore said. “Those guys have a lot of size and strength and they do a good job of protecting the quarterback.”

Ozark defeated Highland 28-25 last week to advance to the state championship. The last time the Ricebirds and Hillbillies played each other was in 2010 when Ozark won 28-7 in the state playoffs.

Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.