The Pine Bluff football team is accustomed to long road trips.
This past week, the Zebras made the almost 3-hour road trip to Texarkana and beat the Razorbacks 23-17 on Friday.
It was the Zebras’ second 3-hour journey of the season already as Pine Bluff won at Fort Smith Northside to begin the year. But winning those long road trips has been nothing new during Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding’s tenure.
“We have a good record on long trips,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I don’t know if we have lost one since I have been here. We don’t have anything to worry about on those trips other than football.”
The Texarkana game had a couple of twists, too. Because of the new conference order, the Zebras’ game against the Razorbacks was the first 7A/6A-South game of the year. Usually the game is the third or fourth conference game of the season.
Plus, Pine Bluff had to travel to Texarkana last year, which the Zebras won.
“It was a win going on the road,” Bolding said. “It’s nice to get it out of the way, Our coaches are wore out from riding the bus and working.”
According to Bolding, the buses pulled into Pine Bluff at around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. He did not get back until about 3:30 a.m.
“My wife had some car problems,” he said. “I got up at 7:30 a.m. and went to work.”
The team does not travel with a Greyhound bus, either. It uses the yellow buses that are provided by the school, which Bolding calls “yellow dogs.”
“We are on yellow dog buses and the kids sleep on the way there and on the way back,” he said.
Luckily, the Zebras (3-1, 1-0 in 7A/6A-South) do not have to make a long trip for the rest of the regular season. Pine Bluff’s only road games are against Little Rock J.A. Fair and Sheridan. The Zebras play two straight games at home next — the first against Bryant and the next one against El Dorado.
“We played really well at home the only home game we had,” said Bolding, referring to Pine Bluff’s game against Watson Chapel. “We spent a lot of time on the yellow dog and it will be nice not sitting on a bus.”
Lee makes key overtime decision
The NFL was not the one to start the overtime trend on Sunday. Dollarway got the ball rolling on that on Friday in a 44-42 extra period win over Newport.
The Cardinals (4-0, 1-0 in 2-4A) had a chance to win the game in regular in their second to last possession. With 1:37 left, Dollarway had a third-and-7 play at its own 49.
Jeremiah Young, who was filling in for injured quarterback Xavier Long, threw a pass down the left sidelines for Davonne Chapman, but the pass was just incomplete.
If the pass was completed, it would have put Dollarway at about Newport’s 25-yard line.
“Had a chance to win it at the end,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said. “Thought we had a play in bounds, but great game overall.”
Newport drove to Dollarway’s 5 before the Cardinals blocked what would have been the game winning field goal.
Dollarway won the toss and Lee had a decision to make — start on defense or on offense. Lee went with defense. In overtime, each team starts at the 10-yard line.
“We decided to let them go on the offensive end just in case we stopped them,” Lee said. “We felt confident we could score from 10 (yards).”
It took Newport just two plays to score, but Kabion Ento stopped Gunnar Bullard short on the two-point conversion.
It only took Dollarway one play to score, which was Young’s 10-yard run and he added the game-winning two-point conversion.
“We had to go with our main plays, and we did that,” Lee said.
In the 5A-South …
White Hall (3-0, 1-0 in 5A-South) will have its biggest challenge of the season so far when it hosts Camden Fairview (4-0, 1-0) this Friday.
Camden Fairview, a favorite to win the 5A-South Conference, is ranked second in the state by Hootens.com. Among its victories this season is a 49-21 whipping of defending 6A state champion El Dorado.
White Hall is ninth in the rankings.
Meanwhile, Watson Chapel (3-1, 1-0) will play its first home game of the season, hosting De Queen in Week 5. Watson Chapel is No. 5 in 5A.