Owls look to keep up momentum as Pirates pay visit

In last week’s 26-0 win over Camden Harmony Grove, McGehee’s defense not only accomplished a shutout but also managed to create two touchdowns off of turnovers. Junior defensive end Ryan Berry intercepted a pass that led to McGehee’s first score of the game while senior defensive end Davondrick Lison returned a fumble 71 yards for a touchdown.

The excellent defensive play of the Owls was a response after they lost to DeWitt 22-7 the week before.

“We had a less than stellar performance last week and I am proud that we came out and responded they way that we did,” McGehee coach Marcus Haddock said.

McGehee (2-2, 1-0 in 6-3A) will host Drew Central tonight in a match up that views that Owls as the heavily favored team to win. Drew Central (0-4, 0-1) has not won a game the past two seasons. The Pirates have been shut out once this season and their opponents have out scored them 162-28.

But Haddock does not want his team to get relaxed on a team that his squad is expected to beat.

“We definitely don’t want to lose the edge in practice. We want to make sure that we are still executing on offense and defense.

McGehee senior tailback David Shepard ran 16 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns at Camden Harmony Grove and should provide the same type of production in tonight’s matchup.

“It’s the coaches’ job that we keep the momentum up for our team and keep our players focused”, said Haddock.

El Dorado at Sheridan

Sheridan head coach Louis Campbell recognizes that lack of execution has been the Achilles’ heel for his team in the Yellowjackets’ last three losses.

“We need to execute and not give up on big play. If we do that then the result will be different,” Campbell said.

Sheridan (1-3, 0-1 in 7A/6A-South) won its first game of the season against Little Rock Hall 42-40 but has been outscored in its last three games 147-34. El Dorado (1-3, 1-0) poses a similiar challenge as it is known to put up points on the board.

“El Dorado has size and speed”, stated Campbell. “They are one of the most well-coached teams in the state and they play a tough non-conference schedule that prepares them for the season.”

The size and speed of El Dorado is evident in senior RB Jaqualoyn Willis. Willis ran 23 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 44-6 win over Little Rock Fair. Sheridan senior Mackenzie Jones returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter of a 51-14 loss at Lake Hamilton, but coach Campbell acknowledges that they will need more than big plays to come out with a win.

“If we execute offensively and not create turnovers, then the result will be different and we can get a win.” said Campbell.

Hermitage at Rison

Rison’s defense recorded 12 tackles for losses and five sacks last week at Parkers Chapel. Rison (2-2, 1-0 in 8-2A) came out on top 44-6.

“Our defensive play was excellent last week and Jordan Mason and Chris Leaks came up big for us,” Rison coach Clay Totty said.

Hermitage (1-2, 0-1) had an open week last week, but its speed is a concern for Rison.

“They’re not big upfront, so we don’t expect them to move the ball, but they do rely on their speed and big plays to score”, said Totty.

Totty admits that while his team doesn’t have speed, however, Rison rushed for 409 yards in its win last week. “We’re not as fast but we do have to make sure that we keep executing and make sure that we don’t give up a big play and we should come out with a win,” Totty said.

Heber Springs at Stuttgart

Heber Springs (0-4, 0-1 in 2-4A) is winless so far this season, but Stuttgart head coach Billy Elmore does not view tonight’s matchup as an easy game.

“Heber Springs has a tradition, so we just want to make sure that execute offensively and not give up any turnovers,” he said.

The Ricebirds (2-2, 1-0 in 2-4A) started off the season 0-2 but have come around and won their last two games. Elmore credits the turnaround to his team being able to learn from their mistakes quickly.

“We are a young team. At our first game at War Memorial, some of our guys got a little shell-shocked. We had some guys play new positions and they have managed to mature quickly”, stated Elmore.

The defending 4A state champs traveled to Batesville Southside and came home with an impressive 41-3 win. Stuttgart senior Tyler Luster has already rushed for six touchdowns this season.

Heber Springs lost last week at home to Lonoke 63-34. Elmore wants to ensure that his team stays on track. “We’ve been getting better and we’re going get better. As long as we take care of the football we will have a chance to win the game”, he said.

Also tonight, Dumas visits Crossett, Monticello hosts Hamburg and Fordyce plays at Fouke. Area coaches for these games could not be reached.

Woodlawn at Strong has been rescheduled for Oct. 25.