HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – It’s too early to crown the 5A South football champion, but whoever comes out on top Friday when Arkansas High invades Lakeside will be in the driver’s seat.
Both the Razorbacks and the Rams have already beaten Camden Fairview, favored by many to win the league title. The pandemic has also been a factor for both teams. Lakeside’s game with Magnolia was canceled last week, and Arkansas High had a game with Magnolia also canceled because of the virus.
“This is going to be a big game as far as conference seeding, and the championship are concerned,” said Lakeside coach Jared McBride. “It should be a really tough football game. It was last year in Texarkana, and for us to win Friday it needs to be that way again.
“I hope it’s a low-scoring game, that’s the goal for us. We need to create some turnovers and keep the points down. That gives us a chance to win.”
Seeding, title in 5A South at stake?
Lakeside (3-2) has played well defensively since its season-opening lost to rival Lake Hamilton. The Rams will have to slow down Texarkana quarterback Braylon Bishop and senior back Torie Blair. Blair’s 43-yard punt return for a touchdown with three seconds left in the game gave AHS a 28-21 victory 5A South victory over Fairview last week.
“Bishop and Blair are probably the best duo we’ll see all year,” said McBride. “We’ve got to find a way to tackle and contain them.”
The third-ranked Razorbacks will be bigger than Lakeside. That fact doesn’t ease Arkansas High coach Barry Norton’s concerns.
“It definitely ought to be a good ball game,” said Norton. “Having to go to their place doesn’t make it any easier. I think most coaches believe their defenses are ahead of the offenses right now. With the exception of the second half against Fairview, we’ve played good defense all year.
“We’re looking Lakeside to put pressure on us, and they like to blitz on third downs. I think it will be a tough, physical contest. The team that runs the ball best will probably win.”
An extra point, or a field goal could easily determine the outcome of this game. It did last year, and the feeling here is it will again with the Razorbacks sneaking by, 17-14.
Hurricane leftovers could be a big concern for both teams.
In other regional action:
LAKE HAMILTON at Russellville – The fourth-ranked Wolves should win after having last week’s game canceled because of the pandemic. Lake Hamilton prevails, 38-14.
HOT SPRINGS at De Queen – The Trojans piled up 748 yards at Hope last week. It could be 800 this week, with Hot Springs winning, 55-12.
Joe T. Robinson at NASHVILLE – This will be considered an upset, but the Scrappers expect to win every game. Nashville wins, 15-14.
Ashdown at MALVERN – The Panthers come into the game as underdogs despite 5-0 record. Look for the Leopards to prove the arm-chair pickers correct, 27-21.
Bismarck at GLEN ROSE – Bismarck can score points, just not enough to beat Glen Rose, 40-13.
PRESCOTT at Centerpoint – Some say speed kills. The Curley Wolves prove that point Friday, 48-20.
FOUKE at Horatio – We now know Horatio can score. It probably won’t be enough to get past Fouke, 20-7.
JESSIEVILLE at Genoa Central – Identical records at 3-2, but they’ve played different schedules. Picking Jessieville, 28-14.
Foreman at DIERKS – Despite 1-4 record the Gators still getting lots of respect. This game will be close, with Outlaws prevailing, 14-13.
Mineral Springs at MURFREESBORO – Rattlers have been a different team with Sloan Perrin back on the field. Murfreesboro wins, 28-12.
Arkadelphia’s game at Fountain Lake was canceled early because of the coronavirus. It’s the third straight week the unbeaten Badgers haven’t played.