When McGehee head coach Marcus Haddock looks at Fordyce, he sees a team that mirrors his own.
“Considering they only got two losses, we know we got a battle on our hands. They look like us which is dangerous. They’re very physical and they’re not overly huge,” Haddock said.
Fordyce senior Larry Buckley has rushed for 461 yards and five touchdowns while amassing 29 catches for 301 yards. Senior receiver Gary Cross has caught 24 passes for 511 yards and six touchdowns.
“They’re fast and they can get off the ball. They’re very impressive,” Haddock said.
Last week, McGehee (6-3, 5-1 in 6-3A) held Smackover to 66 yards on the ground. Three weeks ago, Fordyce (7-2, 4-2) allowed Smackover to gain 168 yards in total rushing.
McGehee senior running back David Shepard accounted for two rushing touchdowns while sophomore playmaker Kaion Parker rushed 53 yards for a touchdown.
In a battle of balanced offenses, Fordyce head coach Tim Rodgers recognizes that it will be a game of who has the ball the most.
“For us its turnovers. The last two losses for us we had turnovers,” Rodgers said. “The last time we played McGehee they kept the ball away from us off of our turnovers. Time of possession will be important and we will have to keep the ball away from them.”
Texarkana (3-6, 2-3) at Sheridan (2-7, 1-5)
An athletic program that has a tradition of being one of the fastest teams in the state, Texarkana travels to Sheridan for a 7A/6A-South matchup against a Yellowjacket squad that has been struggling to score this season.
Sheridan has beaten Texarkana two of the past three years, including 31-28 last season. But this time around Sheridan head coach Louis Campbell knows that his team is going up against a Razorback offense that has big-play ability.
“As many good skill players that they have that can run, we can’t give up big plays,” Campbell said.
Much of Sheridan’s woes this season have been from turning over the football. Texarkana shut out Little Rock Fair last week 42-0, while Sheridan managed to defeat Fair two weeks ago 18-15.
“As much as we say turnovers and mistakes are a problem, big plays are really the key to this game,” Campbell said.
Marianna (0-8, 0-6) at Stuttgart (4-5, 3-3)
Stuttgart will host a winless Marianna team in its last game of the season.
Stuttgart lost at Lonoke last week, 20-18. While the Ricebirds threatened to come back, with two minutes left in the game, Lonoke senior Blake Mack scored on a reverse that sealed the victory for the Jackrabbits.
Stuttgart will now move its efforts to get prepared for the playoffs. Stuttgart head coach Billy Elmore views the 2-4A matchup against the Trojans as a tune-up before going into postseason play as a No. 4 seed.
“It’s not a game. It’s just a chance for us to get fine tuned before we head into the playoffs,” Elmore said.
And with taking on a winless opponent, Elmore still wants his team to be consistent to end the regular season with a win.
“We have to do things that we’ve been doing. We have to secure the ball in the run game and pass protect on play-action pass,” Elmore said.
Hermitage (1-7, 0-6) at Woodlawn (1-6, 1-5)
Woodlawn travels to Hermitage as they look to win in an unconventional Thursday night 8-2A matchup.
Woodlawn is running a Double Wing set out of the Wishbone and did not attempt a pass last week until the final 28 seconds during an 8-6 loss to Parkers Chapel.
“We just gotta continue to execute our offense. Parkers Chapel did a good job of slowing us down and we had some mental lapses. We have to do a better job at blocking and we need our running backs to hit the holes,” Woodlawn head coach Zach Branch said.
Hermitage has not won a game since Week 1 against Marvell, 27-12. Even with that, Branch acknowledges that they are a team that is capable of pulling off a win.
“We have to limit their big plays when they throw the ball,” Branch said.