Knights draw traditional powerhouse Rison in 3A playoff opener

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Centerpoint players race on to the field during one of its 2020 games. The Knights travel to Rison Friday for their 3A playoff opener.

 

RISON, Ark. – Some say Centerpoint is unlucky drawing Rison (5-1) in its first 3A playoff game, but not Knights’ coach Cary Rogers.

“We feel like Rison got a pretty tough draw,” said Rogers. “We feel like we have a good chance in this game. The part I don’t like is that we haven’t played much football lately. We’ve only played one game in a month because of the pandemic.”

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Centerpoint coach Cary Rogers has guided the Knights back to the postseason.

The Wildcats have played even less games because of the virus. Ironically, that’s a downside for Centerpoint (6-3).

“We haven’t seen Rison play a lot, they’ve only played six games,” said Rogers. “Most of their games haven’t been close, but they didn’t get to play McGehee. We haven’t seen them against an equal-type of competition. Looking at them on film, I think we’ll be OK size wise and speed wise.”

Rogers bases his evaluation on hard-fought games with Prescott and Glen Rose.

Rison produces winner almost every year

Rison is a traditional powerhouse. The Wildcats have won 34 conference titles. Their most recent appearance in a state championship game was 2018 when they lost to Osceola. Rison was 11-2 in 2019 and 14-1 in 2018.

“We’re healthy, that’s an upside,” said Rogers. “Everybody on the roster is ready to go.

“Rison is a run-heavy team. That’s been a good match for us this year. They’re big, but this is one of the biggest groups we’ve had at Centerpoint.”

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Wildcats have 13 shutouts in three years

Centerpoint’s biggest concern may be scoring against the Wildcats. Rison has shut out 13 teams during the past three seasons, including three this year. Rison lost its season opener to Fordyce, 29-28. Since then the Wildcats have outscored their opposition, 217 to 18. Nobody has scored more than six points on them since losing their first game.

“We think we’ll be able to move the football,” said Rogers. “The Glen Rose game was the only game when we struggled offensively. I think it’ll be a tight game all the way, and turnovers will be the key. We’re on the plus-side in turnovers this season. As evenly as it appears to me, turnovers will be the key.”

The winner will get Piggott or Camden Harmony Grove in the second round next Friday.

Centerpoint’s game will be broadcast by Caddo Country Radio (98.9 FM or 670 AM). Listen to the game on the Freed AM Sports app.

Other regional playoff action:

El Dorado (5-4) at LAKE HAMILTON (9-1) – Wolves are catching the Wildcats playing their best football of the year. It may be tight, but Lake Hamilton prevails, 31-21.

Vilonia (5-4) at LAKESIDE (6-3) – Another tossup, but the Rams have home field advantage. Taking Lakeside, 28-24.

ARKADELPHIA (6-1) at Mena (6-3) – If the real Arkadelphia team shows up it will coast, 35-21.

Harrisburg (5-3) at JESSIEVILLE (6-4) – Honestly I don’t know anything about Harrisburg. Gut tell me Jessieville survives, 14-13.

Centerpoint (6-3) at RISON (5-1) – Let’s Go Knights! That’s what my heart says, but my head predicts Rison wins, 14-7.

Bismarck (3-7) at MCGEHEE (8-0) – Going with common sense. McGehee wins, 48-6.

Mount Ida (4-6) at DES ARC (10-0) – Wish it could be different, but McGehee romps, 35-6.

Poyen (8-1) at DIERKS (8-1) – Poyen beat the Outlaws earlier this year, but that was at home. This game is in Dierks, and the Outlaws win, 15-14.