By Adam Lee
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
A team that improves late in the season is usually able to go deep into the playoffs. It seems as if Star City is geared up to do just that.
Rolling with a five-game winning streak, the Bulldogs recently defeated Gentry 56-24 in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
Star City (8-3) warrants a part of its success last Friday night to running back Dajunn Harris. The junior scored six touchdowns en route to the Bulldogs’ victory, tiedfor fourth-most all time with former Arkansas Razorbacks De’Arrius Howard (2000) and Peyton Hillis (2003).
Star City head coach Jett Furneaux makes it known that he and Harris both give credit to the Bulldogs’ offensive line to such a stellar performance.
“It starts with the offensive line,” Furneaux said. “They open up big holes for him and they’ve gotten better every week. Harris has got a nose for the end zone, so whenever he made a quick move on a defender or did a stiff arm, it freed him up to score.”
Star City (8-3) will now travel to Gosnell in the second round of the 4A state playoffs. The Pirates (9-1) were awarded a bye week in the first round and only has one loss on its record, 27-14 to Forrest City in the season opener.
Star City can find the counterpart of Dajunn Harris in Gosnell senior Marcus Mullins. The Pirate running back has rushed for 1,740 yards and 26 touchdowns and should be factor in Friday night’s match up against a Bulldog defense that is guided by the play of sophomore defensive tackle Austin Capps and junior linebacker Darien Washington. Both players lead the team in tackles and sacks, respectively.
As far as game planning goes, Furneaux will only prepare his team and let everything else take care of itself.
“We have to take of us. We can’t really worry about Gosnell,” said Furneaux. “We’ll use what film we have on them to get ready, but we also have to continue on getting better.”
In terms of getting better, quarterback Tye Brown has made his strides in improvement at a critical time this season. Last week, the sophomore had a great night by completing 13 out of 20 of his passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
“Tye has gotten better every week by checking his protections, which gives him more time in the pocket,” said Furneaux.
The Bulldogs have been able to be successful with the use of play action on offense.
The offensive line will be a key to win Friday night. As a whole, Star City will need to keep its momentum going to knock off a team that had an extra week to prepare and rest.
Furneaux’s belief is that “whoever has the least amount of turnovers and who controls the line of scrimmage” will come out with a win and advance closer towards the state crown.