STAR CITY — In the first three weeks of the season, the Warren Lumberjacks played two defending state champions and a defending 5A-Central conference winner.
The Lumberjacks hung with Fayetteville, Camden Fairview and Pulaski Academy but eventually turnovers and injuries proved too costly.
Lumberjack running back Kilay Cox and quarterback Drake Jones are among the multiple injured. The Lumberjacks (1-3, 1-0 8-4A) earned their first victory of the season last week when they defeated Crossett 56-0 to open their conference schedule.
On Friday, the 4A top-ranked Lumberjacks will face the Star City Bulldogs (3-1, 1-0).
“I expect to see a good football team Friday night,” Star City head coach Jett Furneaux said. “They went 7-0 in the conference last year and have almost everyone returning.
“You can’t say anything about their record. They are going to be a tough opponent.”
Star City defeated rival Monticello 40-3 last week as sophomore quarterback Tye Brown passed for 240 yards on 15-of-24 passing and two scores.
“Last week, we were able to run the ball and it took some of the pressure off our quarterback,” Furneaux said. “Defensively, we played pretty good and hopefully we will get the same kind of effort tomorrow night.”
Furneaux did stress that when playing an opponent like Warren, it is important to just remain focused on what “we can control.”
“We have to control what we do and get better at it,” Furneaux said. “Just have to improve as the year goes a long.
“If we can do that, then we can be successful late in the season.”
Warren senior Kris Oliver returned the second-half kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and junior Darveon Brown ran back a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in last week’s win over Crossett.
Furneaux said Warren’s “defense is probably the best they have ever had.”
“Their technique and how they play is very sound,” Furneaux said. “Overall, their team speed is always incredible.
“They expect to win and they’ve been ahead of the class for a while now.”
Furneaux said if Star City hopes to win on Friday, it cannot give up the big play.
“We have to control their run game and make good plays on special teams,” Furneaux said. “We have good athletes, we are just young. We got to take care of the mental mistakes.”
In last week’s win over Monticello, Star City’s Toney Mathews had four receptions for 115 yards and Dajunn Harris had 15 carries for 101 yards.
“Dajunn is a great football player and up until last week, he was our leading receiver,” Furneaux said. “He can also run the ball, catch the ball and block.
“He is also a heck of a linebacker. He does a great job for us in every aspect of the game.”
Warren defeated Star City 48-20 last season and was knocked out by eventual state champion Stuttgart in the playoffs.
Multiple attempts to reach Warren head coach Bo Hembree were unsuccessful.
Star City has beaten Warren twice in the past 11 years. Friday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.