Class 7A Week 1 Rankings, Notes and Picks

Class 7A Week 1 Rankings, Notes and Picks

Share this article

Hootens.com Rankings
Class 7A, Week 1, 2017
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

1. Springdale Har-Ber
2. Bryant
3. Fayetteville
4. North Little Rock
5. Bentonville West
6. Bentonville
7. Conway
8. Cabot
9. Fort Smith Southside
10. Fort Smith Northside
11. Little Rock Catholic
12. Springdale
13. Rogers Heritage
14. Rogers
15. Little Rock Central
16. Van Buren

HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 8 Cabot at Pine Bluff.

Graduated Cabot QB Jarrod Barnes leaped for the winning score in the final minute against Pine Bluff last year. Senior Cody Skinner (5-9, 170) directs Cabot’s Dead T attack this fall after starting two games in 2016. Stout senior Adam Flores (5-9, 190; 4.7 speed) leads Cabot’s quality running backs. Pine Bluff also starts a new QB but is loaded with depth on the defensive line. “We don’t have a lot of depth at the skill positions, but the guys we have can really go,” says Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding. “We’ve got good speed.”

LAST SEASON
Hooten's Arkansas Football correctly predicted 81 of 107 games (76 percent) involving Class 7A teams.

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored team in CAPS followed by point spread)
7A CENTRAL

Cabot at PINE BLUFF (6): Game of the Week.
BRYANT (21) vs. Benton: Bryant salty under second-year Coach Buck James after its first semifinal appearance in 2016. Seven returning offensive starters helped the Hornets score at least six TDs in five games last fall. Junior QB Ren Hefley (6-0, 180) garners college coaches attention. Bryant owns Benton, winning 10 of the past 11 meetings (tied in 2014). Benton boasts quality offensive linemen and 8 or more wins the past three seasons, but blew its best chance at winning this rivalry game last year.
NORTH LR (35) at Maumelle: North LR looks to build on its first state title game appearance with starters returning at nine positions. The Charging Wildcats (12-1 in 2016) start an all new backfield but boasts quality receivers, defensive linemen and linebackers. Maumelle first-year coach Kirk Horton searching for linemen. The Class 5A Hornets had to forfeit their three wins last season.
FS Northside at GREENWOOD (3): Northside gutted Greenwood 42-17 in 2014 but has lost this matchup the past two seasons by a combined 18 points. Class 6A Greenwood is 9-0 against Class 7A teams the past two years. Northside owns speed and a veteran offensive line but eight starters graduated from a sold defense. Greenwood senior QB Connor Noland (2,095 yards and 18 TDs with three INTs in 2016) committed last July to Arkansas.
CONWAY (1) at Springdale: Conway (4-8 in 2016) lost four games by a TD or less, including Springdale 37-30. Conway returns starters at 14 positions, including leading rusher Michael George (643 yards in 2016) and all-conference safety Will Kennedy (74 tackles as junior).
HAR-BER (13) at FS Southside: Historically a nail-bitter matchup, Har-Ber hammered Southside 47-0 in last year's opener at Springdale. Top-ranked Har-Ber has won back-to-back 7A West titles and welcomes back five starters to a defense that might be the state's best.
Sylvan Hills at LR CATHOLIC (1): Catholic’s Samy Johnson earned all-state honors as a sophomore last season, rushing for 1,936 yards and 33 yards per kick return. Catholic coach John Fogleman likes his linebackers and receivers William Plafcan (4.6 speed) and Adam Shepherd (an all-state tight end last fall). Sylvan Hills (9-2 in 2016) outscored Catholic 48-34 but graduated standout QB Jordan Washington. Sylvan Hills has won 15 straight non-conference games. Bear linebacker Ty Compton earned all-state honors as a junior and running back Deon Youngblood is one to watch.
Heritage at LR CENTRAL (1): LR Central hammered Heritage 31-14 in last season’s opener but lost its final seven games and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014. Central scored 24 points weekly last fall and seven starters return on offense, including senior QB Jacob Howard (1,355 yards, 13 TDs, 13 INTs in 2016). Heritage QB Trey Kitterman (6-3, 230), built like a linebacker and the Landers Auto Group Super Team QB, accounted for 300 yards offense against Bentonville West for the War Eagle’s lone win in 2016.

7A WEST
SPRINGDALE HAR-BER (13) at FS Southside: Historically a nail-biter matchup, Har-Ber hammered Southside 47-0 in last year's opener at Springdale. Top-ranked Har-Ber has won back-to-back 7A West titles and welcomes back five starters to a defense that might be the state's best.
FAYETTEVILLE (1) at Blue Springs, Mo.: Fayetteville hired four-time championship coach Billy Dawson away from Russellville in December. Fayetteville, which won this matchup 26-21 last fall, starts 10 new players on defense.
BENTONVILLE (7) at K.C. (Mo.) Rockhurst: Bentonville surprised this summer with more team speed than expected. All-state receiver Kam 'Ron Mays-Hunt and speedy Jadyn Loudermilk likely play offense and defense this fall. Rockhurst won at Bentonville 24-21 in OT last season. Rockhurst lost its 2017 opener 17-14 to Columbia Rock Bridge, Mo., two weeks ago.
Pryor, Okla. at BENTONVILLE WEST (1): West lost at Pryor 33-12 in last sesaon's opener but 22 starters return and key transfer Hunter Swoboda (6-4, 225) has college potential at linebacker.
Conway at SPRINGDALE (1): Conway (4-8 in 2016) lost four games by a TD or less, including Springdale 37-30. Conway returns starters at 14 positions, including leading rusher Michael George and all-conference safety Will Kennedy. Springdale won three of its first four last season and looks to make back-to-back playoff appearances. All-state end Isaiah Nichols (6-4, 275) committed June 21 to Arkansas after receiving 13 D-1 offers. Third-year coach Zak Clark continues trying to rebuild Springdale's program, welcoming the best sophomore class in his tenure, but plans to play fewer sophs than the past two seasons.
ROGERS (21) at Siloam Springs: Rogers won six games last season (twice as many as the previous two years combined) starting with a 45-9 spanking of Class 6A Siloam. Rogers second-year coach Mike Loyd welcomes back starters at six positions.
ALMA (7) at Van Buren: Alma makes it 7 in a row in the “Battle of the Bone.”
Heritage at LR CENTRAL (1): LR Central hammered Heritage 31-14 in last season’s opener but lost its final seven games and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014. Central scored 24 points weekly last fall and seven starters return on offense, including senior QB Jacob Howard (1,355 yards, 13 TDs, 13 INTs in 2016). Heritage QB Trey Kitterman (6-3, 230), built like a linebacker and the Landers Auto Group Super Team QB, accounted for 300 yards offense against Bentonville West for the War Eagle’s lone win in 2016.

Share this article

Have your say

Feel free to take part in the discussion! Please be nice and do not include any abusive comments or spam. All comments are moderated and Hootens.com reserves the right to delete any comment.