Kickoff Week to include 5 local teams


LITTLE ROCK — Five high school football teams within The Commercial coverage area and a sixth from Southeast Arkansas will comprise half the field for this coming season’s Simmons First/Hootens.com Kickoff Week.

Golden Lion Stadium at Arkansas-Pine Bluff will welcome four SEARK teams on Tuesday, Aug. 28, the second day of Kickoff Week. Class 5A semifinalist White Hall will take on Hamburg of the 8-4A Conference in a game that will follow the 5:30 p.m. Monticello vs. McGehee contest. Monticello, which won the 5A state championship in 2009, replaces McGehee in the 8-4A for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as McGehee drops to the 6-3A, which will include Drew Central and Fordyce. McGehee went unbeaten in 8-4A play and reached the state quarterfinals this past season.

McGehee and Monticello, although about 30 miles apart, last played each other in football in 1988.

“We’re excited,” McGehee coach Marcus Haddock said. “We’ve got a tough opponent. It’s going to be a tough go against the Billies. But the kids have been working hard in the offseason.”

White Hall is coming off a 9-4 campaign highlighted by a 5A-Southeast Conference championship and its first state semifinal in 20 seasons. Receiver/defensive end Jeremy Sprinkle signed with Arkansas last month, but the Bulldogs will return plenty of playmakers as they head into the 5A-Southwest with archrival Watson Chapel.

“We got a chance to play (during Kickoff Week) in ’06, and our kids fell in love with it,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “Hamburg’s going to be really talented. It’s going to be exciting. Our kids are looking forward to it.”

Speaking of Watson Chapel, the Wildcats will kick off the Aug. 30 doubleheader at the University of Arkansas’ Reynolds Razorback Stadium against Siloam Springs. The Wildcats, who have averaged more than eight wins in the past three seasons, are making their third consecutive appearance in Kickoff Week, but first away from UAPB.

“Every kid in Arkansas grows up a Razorback fan, and it’s exciting to play on the field where the Razorbacks play,” Watson Chapel coach George Shelton said.

His club will take on Panthers team that will compete in the 7A/6A-West and has averaged seven wins a year since 2004.

That game will be followed by reigning 7A state champion Fayetteville and Memphis University School. The latter has won 41 games in the past four years and four Tennessee state championships in the past eight seasons.

Kickoff Week will begin Aug. 27 at the University of Central Arkansas with Warren against Shiloh Christian and Arkansas Baptist against Clinton. Warren will be led by running back Kilay Cox, who ran for 208 yards as a freshman this fall in a playoff victory over Valley View.

Simmons First/Hootens.com Kickoff Week

2012 schedule

(*—indicates Commercial-coverage area team)

Monday, Aug. 27

At Estes Stadium, Conway

*Warren vs. Shiloh Christian, time not available

Arkansas Baptist vs. Clinton, following

Tuesday, Aug. 28

At Golden Lion Stadium

*McGehee vs. *Monticello, 5:30 p.m.

*White Hall vs. Hamburg, following

Thursday, Aug. 30

At Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville

*Watson Chapel vs. Siloam Springs, 6 p.m.

Fayetteville vs. Memphis University School, following