Class 6A Week 1 Rankings, Notes & Picks

Class 6A Week 1 Rankings, Notes & Picks

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hootens.com Rankings
Class 6A, Week 1, 2018
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.


1. Pine Bluff (0-0)
2. Greenwood (0-0)
3. Benton (0-1)
4. West Memphis (1-0)
5. El Dorado (0-1)
6. Russellville (0-0)
7. Jonesboro (0-0)
8. Searcy (1-0)
9. Lake Hamilton (0-0)
10. Marion (0-0)
11. Sylvan Hills (1-0)
12. Siloam Springs (0-0)
13. Jacksonville (0-0)
14. Sheridan (1-0)
15. Mountain Home (0-1)
16. LR Hall (0-0)

HOOTEN'S.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 10 Marion at Wynne

Teams have met Week 1 every year since 2006. Prior to that the schools were league rivals. Marion logged one of the bigger wins in school history over Wynne in double overtime in 2005. The Patriots have not won at Yellowjacket Stadium since a 15-13 decision in 2008. Keith Houston, an Ole Miss football player from 2005-2006, succeeds Jed Davis (16-29 in four seasons) at Marion. Marion's linebacking corps of all-state performer Timon Akins (4.0 GPA; 4.5 speed; offer from Southeast Missouri) and all-stater Anthony Switzer (offers from Arkansas State, Texas State and UT-Martin) anchor an athletic, quick defense. That experience aids Marion at Wynne, which returns no offensive starters.

TV LAND
Hooten's Arkansas Football airs 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on KATV (ABC Little Rock) Channel 7, covering the Razorbacks, high school teams and players to watch.

LAST WEEK
Hootens.com last week correctly predicted three of five games (60 percent).

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored teams in CAPS followed by point spread)
6A EAST
MARION (6) at Wynne
: See Game of the Week.
Batesville at JONESBORO (12): Jonesboro welcomes four new assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Brad Chesshir, most recently of Nashville. The Golden Hurricane hope for better health in 2018 after suffering 10 season-ending injuries which cost them half a season or more. Jonesboro likely starts sophomore Cross Jumper, a Tennessee baseball commit, at QB because "he's a student of that position," Jonesboro coach Randy Coleman says. "He's never satisfied until he gets it right." Batesville lost last week at Class 5A power LR Christian, when it was outgained 340-87 at halftime.
Mountain Home at HARRISON (28): Class 5A Harrison has dominated this rivalry game, winning five straight years, including 44-7 in 2013 and 61-21 in 2014. Mountain Home trailed Sheridan 14-7 last week at halftime but the Yellowjackets returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a momentum-shifting touchdown in a 34-7 victory. Senior fullback Junior Williams ran for 109 yards and a score. Harrison mercy-ruled Class 4A power Pea Ridge last week.
LR Mills at JACKSONVILLE (2): Jacksonville has won four straight in this series, including the past two non-conference meetings by a combined five points. Jacksonville senior QB Shavaris Curley started last year against Marion and passed for 126 yards and a TD. The Titans must replace 1,000-yard rushers H.D. Martin and Shaun Ellis but displayed a promising defensive line this summer.
LR CATHOLIC (1) at Sylvan Hills: Catholic beat Sylvan Hills 44-7 last year after losing to the Bears 48-34 in 2016. Sylvan Hills rallied last week for a 16-14 win at defending Class 4A state champion Arkadelphia. The Bears trailed 14-0 late into the third quarter but limited the Badgers to 48 yards in the second half. Senior QB Nate Floyd ran for 120 yards and classmate Darmon Hubbard blocked an Arkadelphia punt through the end zone for the game-winning safety.
Pine Bluff at CABOT (3): Coach Mike Malham begins his 38th and final season at Cabot with the most team speed in school history and a bigger, yet inexperienced, offensive line. Backs T.J. Ross and Bradley Morales combined for 2,000 yards last season. “We think we can be better than we were last year (offensively),” Malham says. Cabot returns seven starters on defense, including four juniors. Pine Bluff, motivated by a 52-14 loss in last season's Class 6A final to Greenwood, returns skill players but must rebuild its offensive line where senior Malcolm Howard (6-0, 240; 4.0 GPA) is the lone returning starter. The Pine Bluff defense boasts all-conference players on the line, linebacker and the secondary.
Sheridan at SEARCY (14): Teams look to improve to 2-0 in a potential playoff preview. Sheridan last week snapped a 19-game losing streak in a 34-7 win over Mountain Home at War Memorial Stadium. The Yellowjacket stop troops limited the Bombers to 200 yards of offense and no points in the final three quarters. Alden Lucas bolted for 136 yards, with Trace Watkins adding 82. Quarterback Stephon Thomas, a transfer from Ohio, connected with Payton Thomas for a 28-yard TD. Searcy turned a 27-26 halftime advantage into a 46-26 win last week at Class 5A power Morrilton. In his first start since Week 12 2016, senior QB Peyton Wright threw for 486 yards and four scores. Senior receiver Tim Williams caught three first-half TDs, including one that covered 82 yards. Sheridan may be the most improved team in Class 6A, but Searcy has too much on offense. 

6A WEST
BENTON (3) at Arkadelphia
: It's the second week of a non-conference gauntlet for Benton High. On Saturday, the Panthers battled Saline County rival Bryant in a 28-14 defeat. Next week, Benton hosts Class 7A Cabot. Left-handed junior QB Colen Morrow started against Bryant and displayed mobility and touch on intermediate throws. Junior QB Peyton Hudgins likely misses the season after breaking his collarbone. The Panthers struggled to corral talented Bryant running back Latavion Scott and Arkadelphia lead back Zion Hatley could cause similar headaches.
Camden Fairview at EL DORADO (8): El Dorado pushes on after losing a double-overtime classic last week at Class 7A Conway. The Wildcats missed an extra point late in the fourth quarter that would have given them a one-point lead. In overtime, El Dorado led Conway by seven ahead of a Wampus Cat fourth down but the hosts scored on a jump ball at the end of the first overtime and on the first play of the second extra period. The Wildcats believe they have three college prospects along the offensive line in left tackle Dalton Perdue (6-6, 305), right tackle Jeremy Boone (6-3, 300) and center Thomas Crawford (6-4, 245). Class 5A Camden Fairview boasts one of the state's top recruits in Oklahoma commit Stacey Wilkins (6-7, 280). El Dorado suffered through several bad snaps and penalties at Conway but if it plays a cleaner game, it should handle talented Fairview.
GREENWOOD (3) at Fort Smith Northside: Greenwood has won five of six meetings against Class 7A Northside, including 34-7 a year ago. The Bulldogs could split snaps at QB early in the season between senior all-state receiver and Louisiana baseball commit Peyton holt and talented junior passer Jace Presley. Greenwood forced six Fayetteville turnovers in a scrimmage last week, led by senior linebacker Travis Cox intercepting two passes and and recovering a fumble. Northside led Rogers Heritage 56-0 by halftime last week in a 69-0 victory.
LAKE HAMILTON (3) at LakesideThis rivalry renews for the first time since 1999, when antics such as graffiti and dead animals getting thrown at buses halted the series. Lake Hamilton won five games last year, but the Wolves return just one starter from an offense that failed to score more than two TDs in three games. Junior Malik Brewer ran for 956 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago. Lake Hamilton's D held three opponents to two TDs or less. The Wolves got more comfortable in the Wing T offense over the summer and honed its team speed and strength. "Our offense is developing as planned," second-year coach Tommy Gilleran says. "We like what we have on defense."
HS Lakeside moved the ball well last week in a scrimmage victory over Sheridan. Senior QB Taylor Gillham started every game last season, passing for 1,237 yards and 12 TDs. The Rams bank on one of the better offensive/defensive lines in Class 5A, with senior left tackle Adrian Masias (6-4, 280) and right tackle Myles Jerrels (6-0, 265).
LR Fair at LR HALL (1): Hall has lost nine straight games since a 28-12 victory last season over Fair and two of the Warriors' three wins since 2012 have come against Fair. Participation was up this summer at Hall, when 38 players drilled, but several have never played football before. Fair has not won a game on the field since Week 1 2013 against now-defunct North Pulaski.
Morrilton at RUSSELLVILLE (3): Russellville has won nine of the past 12 meetings. Class 5A Morrilton could start its third-string QB in this Battle of I-40 after junior QB Jacolby Criswell tore his ACL in the team's scrimmage and junior passer Dylan White was injured in the first half last week against Searcy. Russellville has won five of eight meetings since 2010 but Morrilton has won two of the past three. Russellville did not practice any player two ways this summer because it "gives you twice the amount of time because he's not splitting his time between offense and defense," second-year coach Jeff Weaver says. "I think that has enabled us to build our units better. I think it'll help us play faster." The added depth and this being Russellville's opener (where Morrilton played last week) favors the Cyclones.
Sheridan at SEARCY (14): Teams look to improve to 2-0 in a potential playoff preview. Sheridan last week snapped a 19-game losing streak in a 34-7 win over Mountain Home at War Memorial Stadium. The Yellowjacket stop troops limited the Bombers to 200 yards of offense and no points in the final three quarters. Alden Lucas bolted for 136 yards, with Trace Watkins adding 82. Quarterback Stephon Thomas, a transfer from Ohio, connected with Payton Thomas for a 28-yard TD. Searcy turned a 27-26 halftime advantage into a 46-26 win last week at Class 5A power Morrilton. In his first start since Week 12 2016, senior QB Peyton Wright threw for 486 yards and four scores. Senior receiver Tim Williams caught three first-half TDs, including one that covered 82 yards. Sheridan may be the most improved team in Class 6A, but Searcy has too much on offense.
SILOAM SPRINGS (1) at Pryor, Okla.: Pryor enters this game 0-1 following a 26-21 loss last week at Locust Grove, Okla. Siloam Springs impressed coaches this summer in the weight room and camps. "I am excited about the commitment our guys made and the direction our program is going," first-year coach Brandon Craig (96-53 career record) says. Siloam will hang its hat on defense early in the year as it works out its pool of skill players.

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