Class 2A Week 1 Rankings, Notes and Picks

Class 2A Week 1 Rankings, Notes and Picks

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Hootens.com Rankings
Class 2A, Week 1, 2017
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

1. Mount Ida
2. Rison
3. C. Harmony Grove
4. Danville
5. Bearden
6. Hampton
7. Des Arc
8. McCrory
9. Conway Christian
10. Cross County
11. England
12. Earle
13. Hector
14. Carlisle
15. Hackett
16. Murfreesboro
17. E. Poinsett County
18. Hazen
19. Foreman
20. Palestine-Wheatley
21. Marked Tree
22. Mineral Springs
23. Lavaca
24. Lafayette County
25. Dierks
26. Parkers Chapel
27. Mountainburg
28. Quitman
29. Magazine
30. Salem
31. Magnet Cove
32. Strong
33. Clarendon
34. Spring Hill
35. Cutter M. Star
36. Marvell
37. Bigelow
38. Woodlawn
39. Brinkley
40. J.C. Westside
41. Decatur
42. Poyen
43. W. Yell County
44. Rector
45. Midland
46. Mountain Pine
47. Hermitage
48. Augusta

GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 C. Harmony Grove vs Class 3A No. 12 Smackover

This is the third matchup of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kickoff Classic. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 29) at SAU in Magnolia. First-year head coach Mike Baysinger has demanded discipline and intensity at Class 3A Smackover, and the Buckaroos have defensive playmakers in senior NG Hunter Goocher and junior CB Jaqueze Modica. Third-ranked Camden Harmony Grove opens the season without senior flanker Jace Garcia and all-league RB Jordan Hicks, but the junior pass-catch combination of QB Gannon Bearden and Kentrell Hill (6-2, 190) will test Smackover's talented secondary.

TV SHOW
Hooten's Arkansas Football airs 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on KATV (ABC Little Rock) Ch. 7, covering the Razorbacks, high school teams and players to watch. Fountain Lake quarterback Stephen Turner receives the prestigious Arkansas Air Guard Scholar Athlete of the Week award on this Saturday's show.

LAST YEAR
Hootens.com was 216-56 (79 percent) in Class 2A for the season.

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored team in CAPS followed by point spread)
3-2A
Helena at EARLE (1):
This matchup showcased 300 yards in penalties last year, and Class 4A Helena rallied late for a four-point win. Class 2A No. 12 Earle features more than DI quarterback recruit Gerry Bohanon (6-4, 230) in 2017. Thirty-six Bulldogs should dress for the opener, including emerging wideouts Alex Coleman and LeAndrew Milow and safety Justin Brown.
CROSS COUNTY (14) at Harrisburg: Cross County (2003) graduate Tommy Wells returns as its head coach. Wells has installed the Single Wing, expecting junior Hunter Like (6-4, 200) and Kaylob Boykin (5-11, 185, 4.5 speed) to play the Single Wing "spinner" or QB and tailback, respectively. Junior Jackson Henderson is pushing Boykin for playing time. Both must produce for the Thunderbirds to again reach 10 wins and claim a third consecutive league title.
Clarendon at MARKED TREE (2): Both teams are struggling with low numbers. Clarendon, with 18 bodies, averaged six players at most summer workouts. Marked Tree won this matchup 38-37 a year ago. Former Marked Tree head coach Waylon Dunn (2009-2014) returned this summer for a second stint as head coach when Cody Wallis departed after two seasons.
E. POINSETT COUNTY (12) at Marianna: EPC expects to dress 26 for the opener, which was originally Augusta before it cancelled its varsity season last week. EPC all-league RB Eric Driver likely touches the football 25 times a game this fall. Driver has moved from cornerback to linebacker and proven to be a superb tackler. EPC junior Andrew Harston (4.7 speed), a transfer from Rivercrest, takes over at QB.
Salem at MOUNTAIN VIEW (7): Salem loses four straight to Class 3A Mountain View. The Yellowjackets led 20-0 in the first quarter and won by the same score.
Rector at PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (6): Native son Carey Knolton returns as head coach to P-W with more than 30 players and a Spread offense. Rector will dress out 20, including 10 sophomores of its 8-0 junior big team of 2016.
Midland at WESTERN YELL COUNTY (35): WYC won this matchup by 40 points last year at Midland.

4-2A
DANVILLE (8) vs. Conway Christian (Monday, Aug. 28 at UCA): Conway Christian first-year head coach Justin Kramer is high on junior QB Jacob Wood (3,037 passing yards and 35 TDs in 2016), senior OT Nathan Burrow, center Brett Callaway and senior DT J.P. Dolan. The Eagles run the same scheme under seven-year DC Andrew Roberson. Danville counters with a massive offensive line that averages 260 pounds, anchored by tackles Doug Harper (6-4, 270) and Jarrique Hinton (6-5, 285). The Little John skilled players are experienced and deep with junior RB/LB Quentin Tolbert set for a breakout season.
DANVILLE (35) at Two Rivers (Friday): The Little Johns go 2-0 for the week by ruining the grand opening of Two Rivers' new stadium. Two Rivers played every game on the road in 2016 after army worms destroyed its grass.
Pocola, Okla. at HACKETT (12): Hackett doubled up Pocola 28-14 a year ago. Hackett senior Trevon Blanton (6-0, 230) has emerged in preseason camp as an anchor on the defensive front. Hackett's junior-dominated backfield of coach-on-the-field QB Brady Hester, 1,000-yard rusher Cooper Shipman and all-purpose scatback Pacey McBride could produce more than the 40 ppg the Hornets averaged last year against 4-2A opponents. Hackett travels to Mountainburg next week for a key conference matchup.
Magazine at MOUNT IDA (33): Magazine, with just four seniors, travels to No. 1 Mount Ida, the defending state champion. Magazine will play multiple sophomores off its 9-0 junior high team of 2016. Mount Ida returns starters at 18 positions, including veteran linemen, punishing RB/LB Cade Helms (5-10, 200) and Jonathan Lagrange (6-1, 210) and scatback Gage Dyer (5-7, 150).
WOODLAWN (2) at JC Westside: Woodlawn has cancelled its junior high season. Varsity should dress 19 players, including four freshmen and three first-year participants. JC Westside will dress 23, including eight sophomores.
Woodlawn blanked Westside 14-0 a year ago.
BERRYVILLE (28) at Decatur: Berryville has won this matchup the past three years by a combined 129-25. Decatur will dress 19 players, including speedy sophomore QB Joseph Armstrong, the high-point man last spring at the district junior high track meet.
Lavaca at GENTRY (1): Lavaca has won nine of past 11 non-conference games and beat Gentry by four points past year.
Midland at WESTERN YELL COUNTY (35): WYC won this matchup by 40 points last year at Midland.
MOUNTAINBURG (21) at Cedarville: Mountainburg won this matchup 35-0 a year ago. Mountainburg plays host to Hackett next week in a key 4-2A matchup.

5-2A
England at MCCRORY (12):
McCrory, which won the 2015 state title, slipped last year to a disappointing 6-4 record and first-round playoff exit. Forty-one Jaguars should dress for the opener, including senior OT/DE Jamone McCoy (6-3, 260) who was hampered by a hairline fracture in his lower leg most of last season. Junior T.J. Alford (5-11, 160) is the next in line of outstanding tailbacks, similar in stature and ability to former McCrory greats Boyd Williams, Logan Best and Kaigen Rogo. England rebuilds under first-year varsity head coach Matt Garrett after saying farewell to 10 ultra-talented seniors in May. All-5-2A senior Darrius Clarkson (4.5 speed) is a threat to score as a wideout or Wing T quarterback.
HECTOR (21) at Marshall: Hector expects to dress 30 players as the post-Tanner Gaines era begins. Gaines quarterbacked Hector the past four years, accounting for 11,837 career yards and 154 TDs. Former receiver Jadon Graham succeeds Gaines at QB, working behind dependable right guard Parker Lee and right tackle Jamie Burch. Senior DT Andrew Sears surged in the spring and has progressed through preseason camp as a bona fide run-stuffer.
Rose Bud at QUITMAN (7): Quitman senior QB Donovan Foley (6-3, 235; 4.7 speed) will be hard to tackle.
FOUNTAIN LAKE JV (10) at Cutter M Star (Tues. Aug. 29): Fountain Lake will work its varsity backups, including seniors, looking to build depth. Cutter Morning Star has no depth, starting the season with 16 players.
Bigelow at PERRYVILLE (3): Separated by 12 miles in Perry County, Perryville returns starters at 16 positions. Bigelow beat Perryville 14-7 a year ago to take a 3-2 series advantage over the past five years.
WALNUT RIDGE (14) at Poyen: Class 3A Walnut Ridge pounded Poyen 38-6 last year and travels 436 miles round trip for another win. Poyen senior WR Michael Goodman (6-6, 165) performed well this summer.
PARKERS CHAPEL (6) at Magnet Cove: Parkers Chapel has won two straight in the series and leads 4-3 over the past seven years. Optimism on rise at both programs under new management, head coach Caleb Carmikle at Magnet Cove and HC Jacob Midyett at Parkers Chapel. Midyett, a PC QB from 2007-2009, was a seventh grader when the school started football.
DANVILLE (8) vs. Conway Christian (Monday, Aug. 28 at UCA): Conway Christian first-year head coach Justin Kramer is high on junior QB Jacob Wood (3,037 passing yards and 35 TDs in 2016), senior OT Nathan Burrow, center Brett Callaway and senior DT J.P. Dolan. The Eagles run the same scheme under seven-year DC Andrew Roberson. Danville counters with a massive offensive line that averages 260 pounds, anchored by tackles Doug Harper (6-4, 270) and Jarrique Hinton (6-5, 285). The Little John skilled players are experienced and deep with junior RB/LB Quentin Tolbert set for a probable breakout season.

6-2A
BRINKLEY (1) at Subiaco Academy:
Brinkley will field a team, starting the season with 15 players. That might not be enough at Class 4A Subiaco Academy, which lost at Brinkley 31-21 last year.
DES ARC (3) at Bald Knob: Youthful Des Arc set to dress 28 for the opener with just seven seniors, and only four seniors will start. All-league senior wingback Dillon Conway (1,543 yards in 2016) is Des Arc's breakaway threat, but strong-armed sophomore QB Cooper Roberts will boost the passing game. Roberts threw a TD pass 60 yards in the air during an intrasquad scrimmage. Bald Knob QB Clayton Collins will also air it out in this Week 1 shootout.
LONOKE (10) at Carlisle: Class 4A Lonoke using a lot a offensive formations under first-year head coach Taggart Moore and switching to an aggressive 3-4 defense to showcase its athletes. Lonoke outscored Carlisle 41-28 a year ago. Look for more of the same this year. The Bison are not as big up front as they have been in recent years.
Hazen at PIGGOTT (10): Piggott won this game 20-6 a year ago en route to a 9-3 season. Two of those losses were by one point. Young last year, Hazen has increased its speed at the skill positions and strength up front.
Rector at PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (6): Native son Carey Knolton returns as head coach to P-W with more than 30 players and a Spread offense. Rector will dress out 20, including 10 sophomores of its 8-0 junior big team of 2016.
Clarendon at MARKED TREE (2): Both teams are struggling with low numbers. Clarendon, with 18 bodies, averaged six players at most summer workouts. Marked Tree won this matchup 38-37 a year ago. Former Marked Tree head coach Waylon Dunn (2009-2014) returned this summer for a second stint as head coach when Cody Wallis departed after two seasons.
E. POINSETT COUNTY (22) at Augusta: EPC expects to dress 26 for the opener; Augusta fewer than 20. EPC all-league RB Eric Driver likely touches the football 25 times a game this fall. Driver has moved from cornerback to linebacker and proven to be a superb tackler. EPC junior Andrew Harston (4.7 speed), a transfer from Rivercrest, takes over at QB.
England at MCCRORY (12): McCrory, which won the 2015 state title, slipped last year to a disappointing 6-4 record and first-round playoff exit. Forty-one Jaguars should dress for the opener, including senior OT/DE Jamone McCoy (6-3, 260) who was hampered by a hairline fracture in his lower leg most of last season. Junior T.J. Alford (5-11, 160) is the next in line of outstanding tailbacks, similar in stature and ability to former McCrory greats Boyd Williams, Logan Best and Kaigen Rogo. England rebuilds under first-year varsity head coach Matt Garrett after saying farewell to 10 ultra-talented seniors in May. All-5-2A senior Darrius Clarkson (4.5 speed) is a threat to score as a wideout or Wing T quarterback.
Marvell at BARTON (10): Class 3A Barton dominates this series, winning three straight by a 53-11 average. Coach Clark McBride, a former Wynne assistant, takes over tradition-rich Barton. McBride succeeds Van Paschal (53-29 at Barton), who left for Class 5A Wynne. Marvell expects to dress 22 players.

7-2A
Bismarck at SPRING HILL (15):
Spring Hill improves on offense with the return of senior QB Payton Massanelli (broken leg in 2016), who burned Bismarck in the 2016 opener by rushing for 146 yards and seven TDs.
GENOA CENTRAL (12) at Foreman: Genoa Central won this matchup 35-21 a year ago, and Foreman lost 2,800 yards of offense to graduation in May. Meanwhile, GC returns dynamic senior QB Bo Jewell running behind a senior-dominated line. GC's four wins last year were the most in its seven years of varsity football.
HORATIO (1) at Dierks: Lot of unknowns here. After 16 years of stability under former HC David Bennett, Dierks enters this season with its third head coach in three years. Ditto for Class 3A Horatio, picked near the bottom of the 5-3A by league coaches. 
Lafayette County at GURDON (9): Lafayette County, known for its speedy skilled players, return four starters up front, including junior Nate Brady  and senior Trey Harper. Senior and college prospect Justin Brown stands out at running back and inside linebacker.
FOUKE (28) at Mineral Springs: New Mineral Springs HC David Bennett, a former DC at Murfreesboro and head coach at Dierks, is very familiar with the team speed at MSHS, including 4.5 speedster Dashawn Compton at running back.
JESSIEVILLE (24) at Mountain Pine: Mountain Pine, with 26 varsity players, could be the turnaround team in Class 2A featuring Lake Hamilton transfer Dafavion Haywood and sophomore QB Collin Smith in the the backfield. Senior end Matt Herron anchors the defensive line. Mountain Pine, which forfeited eight of its 10 losses last year, owns one victory during the past five years.
Murfreesboro at CENTERPOINT (3): Murfreesboro will dress 30 at Class 3A Centerpoint, including senior QB J.C. Motley, who has taken charge of first-year HC Marc McRae's offense. Sure-handed TE/DE Jarrett Faulkner (6-4, 240) emerged over the summer and appears set for a big senior season. 
Magazine at MOUNT IDA (33): Magazine, with just four seniors, travels to No. 1 Mount Ida, the defending state champion. Magazine will play multiple sophomores off its 9-0 junior high team of 2016. Mount Ida returns starters at 18 positions, including veteran linemen, punishing RB/LB Cade Helms (5-10, 200) and Jonathan Lagrange (6-1, 210) and scatback Gage Dyer (5-7, 150).   

8-2A
C. HARMONY GROVE (6) vs Smackover:
See Game of the Week.
WOODLAWN (2) at JC Westside: Woodlawn has cancelled its junior high season. Varsity should dress 19 players, including four freshmen and three first-year participants. Woodlawn blanked Westside 14-0 a year ago.
RISON (5) at Fordyce: Class 3A Fordyce should dress 26 players and start three freshmen linebackers and two sophomore defensive backs. Senior Kedric Sledge has shifted from QB to fullback, while senior Billy Ferrell (6-4, 325, 5.0 speed) can line up at either tackle or end slots on defense to combat teams running away from him. Second-ranked Rison features junior all-league RB Malik Chavis (6-2, 180, 4.4 speed) running behind senior linemen Jared Wilson (6-0, 210) and Ronnie Baumer (5-11, 280).
Bearden at JUNCTION CITY (9): Class 3A Junction City welcomes back native son Steven Jones as head coach. While Jones tweaks offensive schemes, the defense stays the same, led by senior lineman Brock McGoogan, all-state senior linebacker Terrell Gibson and a speedy secondary. Bearden replaces four offensive linemen, but All-8-2A senior left tackle Gage Word, senior LG Jared Vaughan and sophomore center CJ Quarles proved solid in preseason camp. All-state senior QB/S Tyler Berry may be the Bears' most physical player. Senior Bobby Barker, a reserve in the past, has emerged at running back and linebacker as a probable two-way starter.
Hampton vs. PRESCOTT (10) (Tues. Aug 29 at SAU): Hampton, last year's Class 2A state runner-up, still stinging over title game loss to Mount Ida with five TDs negated by penalties. The returning Bulldogs are determined to prove they were not a one-man (Farm Bureau Insurance Awards 2A Offensive POY Monta' Thomas) team in 2016, when Prescott captured the Class 3A title, the fifth state crown in school history. The Curly Wolves may be even better in the trenches this year. Farm Bureau Insurance Awards 3A Offensive POY (quarterback) Derrick Flynn has departed, but senior QB and future brain surgeon Cade Haynie (4.0 GPA, 34 ACT) can throw the football.
Hermitage at LAKE VILLAGE (12): Lake Village hands new coach Chris Williams  a season-opening victory over Hermitage, which did not field a team last year but should dress 14 players for the opener.
Hamburg JV at STRONG (6): Strong likely dresses 27 for the opener, and they are bigger and stronger after a solid off-season and summer under second-year coach Greg Anthony. All-league performer and 1,300-yard rusher Desmond Newton takes some pressure off an inexperienced QB.

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