Last year Dollarway (6-0, 3-0 in 2-4A) had to share it’s conference title with Stuttgart. Whether it be fate or coincidence, the Cardinals will have a chance at 7 p.m. Friday night to secure the lone first place spot in the 2-4A conference and take control of their own destiny against Lonoke (5-1, 3-0). It just so happens that both teams are tied for first place with undefeated records in conference play.
“They’re a good team and it’s going to be a great football game,” Dollarway head coach Cortez Lee said.
Lonoke has been able to win comfortably this season against its opponents except for in Week 5 when it nearly let Newport produce a fourth quarter rally but still won 39-32. In last week’s matchup against Batesville-Southside, the Jackrabbits were down 14-0 at one point before they were able to comeback and win 39-21.
In the Hootens Game of the Week, No. 3-ranked Dollarway will be challenged by senior quarterback Kody Smith of No. 11-ranked Lonoke. Smith does more running than throwing as he has 931 rushing yards for 14 touchdowns and has completed 37-of-60 passes for 473 yards and three touchdowns. Smith will test a Cardinals’ defense that is known for not allowing rushing touchdowns with its leading tacklers in junior linebacker Chaderius Avery and senior lineman Nic Woodfork leading the way.
If Dollarway comes out ready to play, it could lead to dominating on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents this season 238-29. Good protection from the line and speed from the skill players allows the team to score quickly, early and often.
Last week, Dollarway scored a season high 48 points in the win against Clinton. Within the first quarter, the Cardinals managed to put up 34 points. Senior quarterback Joshua Liddell threw two touchdown passes and pulled off a rushing touchdown of 64 yards.
“I was proud of our team and the way we played. Everyone did their job to get the win,” Lee said.
Even though the offense managed to get it’s highest scoring game of this season, the defense of Dollarway allowed a touchdown towards the end of regulation from Clinton which snapped the streak of three consecutives shoutouts. But even with the disappointment of not gaining another shutout, the Cardinals will now focus their efforts on getting a win against the Jackrabbits Friday night to propel them to be outright conference champions.
“They’re going to come out ready to play, because they have as much at stake as we do,” Lee said.