Class 2A - Week 1 - 2015

Class 2A - Week 1 - 2015

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Hootens.com Rankings
Class 2A, Week 1, 2015
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.


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

HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 4 McCrory at No. 11 E. Poinsett County
McCrory expects to dress a modern-era high 41 players for the opener, including 16 seniors. Newcomers Trevor Williams (6-1, 200), a receiver/defensive end, and offensive tackle Ty Alumbaugh (6-4, 330) boost title hopes even more. Senior WR/CB Montel Hall and junior DT Rafeal Reed (6-2, 270), who missed last season, are talented additions. No. 11 EPC, which returns just three defensive starters, has defeated McCrory four years in a row, including 36-32 last fall. All-conference QB/S Clay Malone (905 receiving yards, 76 tackles) and tailback Kyler Gordon (1,173 total yards) return for EPC.

HOOTEN'S TV SHOW
Hooten's Arkansas Football TV show airs 11 a.m. Saturdays this fall on KATV 7 (ABC-Little Rock) and previews the Arkansas Razorbacks and the day's opponent.

LAST YEAR
Hootens.com picked 254 of 305 games (83 percent) involving Class 2A teams.

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored teams in ALL CAPS)
3-2A
MCCRORY (12) at E. Poinsett County: See Game of the Week.
CROSS COUNTY (14) at Harrisburg: No.  8 Cross County, a charter school, started practice in late July and school Aug. 3. Thirty-two Thunderbirds should dress for the opener, a modern-era high, including 16 seniors. Look for eight seniors to start on offense. Ten seniors, led by all-league linebacker Holden Byassee (137 tackles in 2014), should start on defense. The biggest preseason area of concern was the defensive line, but newcomers Garrett Melton (6-4, 220) and Colt Corvell (a former LB who's had two shoulder surgeries) emerged in August. Cross County won this matchup the past two years after a 0-0 tie in 2012.
HAZEN (21) at Earle: Defending 2A state runner-up and No. 3 Hazen will start three young linemen on offense, but senior (all-state) DTs Donovan Gurley (6-1, 320) and Khalid Mills (6-0, 220) spearhead a formidable defense that allowed just nine points per game in 2014. Hazen will not enjoy the depth of a year ago, but No. 12 Earle breaks in new starters at four spots on the offensive line and must replace graduated leading receiver/safety Tevin Scott and tackler Markus Lane.
CORNING (2) at Walnut Ridge: Corning promoted defensive coordinator Jeremy Stout to head coach this spring. Corning held Walnut Ridge to 66 total yards in last year's 20-8 victory.
Marked Tree at PIGGOTT (1): Marked Tree defeated Piggott 28-16 last year when Piggott failed to score four times inside the red zone. Former Trumann assistant Cody Wallis inherits a program that last won a league title in 2008.
Salem at MOUNTAIN VIEW (13): Salem has lost 12 of its past 15 games. Mountain View all-state senior TB Josh Burns rushed for a school-record 2,187 yards 23 TDs a year ago, including 262 yards and four TDs in a 42-26 win at Salem.
WOODLAWN (9) at Midland: The Neil Barbaree era begins at Woodlawn without two-time all-state RB Jefferey Jones (2,154 yards in 2014). Numbers are up at second-year varsity program Midland, including 10 seniors.
Rector at PAL-WHEATLEY (12): P-W's defense, which allowed 36 ppg last year, should improve after its 2014 junior high team didn't allow a TD in league games.

4-2A
HECTOR (12) at Marshall: Hector has defeated Marshall by an average of 31 points the past two seasons. Marshall returns 19 starters, including all-league senior RB Kendrick Campbell (1,083 yards and 11 TDs in 2014). Marshall dons new uniforms for the opener with higher numbers (27) and expectations. Hector senior Jacob Billingsley succeeds graduated all-state RB Tyler Brashear, and he looked the part this summer with better vision and sharper cuts. Junior Logan Church (formerly Honaker) has blossomed at defensive tackle.
HACKETT (8) at Two Rivers: Two Rivers enters 2015 with its third coach (former Palestine-Wheatley assistant Richard Havner) in three years. Hackett completed a pair of halfback passes on third down in last year's 21-18 win over Two Rivers.
Mountainburg at CEDARVILLE (21): Cedarville has lost 13 of its past 15 games. But the Pirates have defeated rival Mountainburg on the field by an average of 33 points the past three seasons (forfeited a 51-6 win in 2013).
LAVACA (28) at Union Christian: Both teams debut a new head coach. Lavaca, which beat Union Christian 49-14 last year, promoted former defensive coordinator Brian Schlinker to head coach in April. Union Christian first-year coach Josh Brown (former Watson Chapel OC) took over in mid-June.
Magazine at MOUNT IDA (28): No. 6 Mount Ida should roll in the opener, faces stiffer test Week 2 at Class 3A No. 15 Danville.
GREENLAND (35) at J.C. Westside: Greenland senior receiver Mason Miller caught four passes for 114 yards and two TDs in last year's 39-0 win over Westside. Westside has lost 11 of its past 12 games.
Decatur at BERRYVILLE (11): Decatur returns most of its linemen and senior ballhawk Meng Vang (5-11, 195) at linebacker.
BRINKLEY (19) at Western Yell County: Numbers are down at  No. 13 Brinkley, but its thunder and lightening, all-state RB/LB Daquan Greene (6-1, 220) and all-league scatback Johnny Aldridge (5-8, 150), are back.

5-2A
Conway Christian at EPISCOPAL (22): Class 3A No. 10 Episcopal has beaten Conway Christian the past two seasons, including 41-0 a year ago. All-state senior playmaker Allie Freeman has 226 career receptions for 4,182 yards and 43 TDs. League coaches picked Conway Christian to finish third in the 5-2A , but if its O line solidifies and stays healthy, the Eagles can repeat as conference champs.
BIGELOW (16) at Perryville: Bigelow has beaten Perryville two of the past three seasons, including 34-6 a year ago.
H. GROVE HASKELL (8) at Poyen: 5-3A member Harmony Grove all-state senior RB Jon Johnson rushed for 1,916 yards and 20 TDs last fall, including 148 yards and two scores in a 21-7 win over Poyen. Poyen's projected starter at QB is focusing on baseball and basketball.
CUTTER M. STAR (12) at Horatio: Horatio has dropped 16 of its past 17 games, including a 54-26 loss last year to Cutter Morning Star.
Rose Bud at QUITMAN (1): Rose Bud won two games in 2014 by a combined nine points, including a 30-25 victory over Quitman.
JESSIEVILLE (20) at Mountain Pine: Jessieville rushed for 318 yards in last year's 37-14 win over Mountain Pine. Mountain Pine (30-game losing streak) hired former Dollarway and Bryant head coach David Jordan in April to succeed Jody Frazier (65-99 in 16 years).
Parkers Chapel at MAGNET COVE (13): No. 14 Magnet Cove will start four new O linemen, and the health of its two starting running backs is in unknown. Senior RB/LB Josh Smeltzer (knee) and junior RB Jamil Tyner (overheated in team camp) are questionable. Junior Shaun Holland (6-0, 170) dropped more than 100 pounds over the summer and likely starts at defensive end.
Carlisle at ENGLAND (12): England big-played its old 6-2A rival Carlisle 54-22 a year ago, and the Lions still own a decisive speed advantage.

6-2A
MCCRORY (12) at E. Poinsett County: See Game of the Week.
Clarendon at DEWITT (7): The Mark Courtney (49-51-1 at Dumas) era beings at De Witt where the Dragons enter 2015 off their best two-year run (seven wins) in 15 years.
Augusta at MARIANNA (36): Augusta (1-8 in 2014) enters its second season under head coach Chad Floyd. 2-3A member Marianna won this matchup 38-0 a year ago and should contend for a playoff spot.
Marvell at BARTON (45): Marvell hired former Minden (La.) Glenbrook coach Chris Norton in June as its fifth head coach in seven years. Norton coached at West Memphis Christian in 2012-13. Barton blasted Marvell 42-0 a year ago.
Des Arc at BALD KNOB (6): Bald Knob lost four turnovers but big-played Des Arc in last year's 21-13 win. Des Arc first-year coach Drake Widener inherits 17 returning starters off a 10-win team. Bald Knob all-league junior RB DeShawn Gulledge rushed for 940 yards and 11 TDs in 2014.
HAZEN (21) at Earle: Defending 2A state runner-up and No. 3 Hazen will start three young linemen on offense, but senior (all-state) DTs Donovan Gurley (6-1, 320) and Khalid Mills (6-0, 220) spearhead a formidable defense that allowed just nine points per game in 2014. Hazen will not enjoy the depth of a year ago, but No. 12 Earle breaks in new starters at four spots on the offensive line and must replace graduated leading receiver/safety Tevin Scott and tackler Markus Lane.
BRINKLEY (19) at Western Yell County: Numbers are down at  No. 13 Brinkley, but its thunder and lightening, all-state RB/LB Daquan Greene (6-1, 220) and all-league scatback Johnny Aldridge (5-8, 150), are back.
Rector at PAL-WHEATLEY (12): P-W's defense, which allowed 36 ppg last year, should improve after its 2014 junior high team didn't allow a TD in league games.
Carlisle at ENGLAND (12): England big-played its old 6-2A rival Carlisle 54-22 a year ago, and the Lions still own a decisive speed advantage.

7-2A
Gurdon at PRESCOTT (13): Prescott popped Gurdon 47-14 a year ago on its way to an 11-win season. All-state senior QB Trevor Pipkin passed for 3,215 yards and 44 TDs, including 204 yards and a score at Gurdon. Prescott returns skill galore, but many linemen lack experience and size. Gurdon enters 2015 without a projected starter who moved to Class 4A Arkadelphia and a 2014 starting slotback/corner back who could return in 2016. Sophomore WR/S Thomas Muldrow (shoulder) and 6-2, 309-pound junior OT/DT Cole Harper (knee) may also miss the opener and beyond.
FOUKE (15) at Mineral Springs: Fouke has defeated Mineral Springs by an average of 19 points the past two years. Mineral Springs has won five games over the past two seasons.
Genoa Central at FOREMAN (6): Foreman hired Neil Evans in July as its third head coach in four years. Evans, a 2005 Murfreesboro graduate, coached defensive backs last season at Class 4A CAC. The Gators are 4-1 against Genoa Central. Genoa Central won two of its final four games in 2014 and returns 17 starters.
BISMARCK (8) at Spring Hill: Bismarck beat Spring Hill 24-8 last year before reaching the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Strong at MURFREESBORO (21): No. 15 Murfreesboro owns one of the better linebacking corps in 2A football with the return of All-7-2A RB/LB Daniel Robinson (1.074 yards, 89 tackles in 2014), senior Jarrett Pitchford (121 tackles)  and the development of junior Cameron Snowden (43 stops).
Strong (16 players in 2014) could dress in the high 20s for the opener.
HS Lakeside JV at DIERKS (9): Dierks slipped to 6-5 last year after its 11-win league title season of 2013. The lack of team speed keeps the Outlaws from challenging for a 7-2A crown this fall.
Magazine at MOUNT IDA (28): No. 6 Mount Ida should roll in the opener, faces stiffer test Week 2 at Class 3A No. 15 Danville.
Lafayette County vs BEARDEN (18) (Mon. Aug 31): No. 9 Bearden will start five sophomores on defense in Pine Bluff during Hootens.com Kickoff Week, but it will enjoy better depth than a year ago. Senior linemen Sam Williams (6-7, 280), Jesse Clark (5-11, 285) and tight end Nykee Mahan (6-3, 210) will make the going tough for Lafayette County's 2,000-yard RB Tre Burks and its rookie head coach Bobby Clark. Bearden junior KeShawn Lee and sophomore Xavier Green developed as receivers over the summer.
Hermitage at LAFAYETTE COUNTY (2): Matchup of exceptional running backs: Hermitage junior RB Monta Thomas (4.5 speed) and Lafayette County senior and 2,000-yard RB Tre Burks.

8-2A
Lafayette County vs BEARDEN (18) (Mon. Aug 31): No. 9 Bearden will start five sophomores on defense in Pine Bluff during Hootens.com Kickoff Week, but it will enjoy better depth than a year ago. Senior linemen Sam Williams (6-7, 280), Jesse Clark (5-11, 285) and tight end Nykee Mahan (6-3, 210) will make the going tough for Lafayette County's 2,000-yard RB Tre Burks and its rookie head coach Bobby Clark. Bearden junior KeShawn Lee and sophomore Xavier Green developed as receivers over the summer.
Hermitage at LAFAYETTE COUNTY (2): Matchup of exceptional running backs: Hermitage junior RB Monta Thomas (4.5 speed) and Lafayette County senior and 2,000-yard RB Tre Burks.
BEARDEN (4) at C. Harmony Grove: Bearden has beaten Harmony Grove by an average of 19 points the past two seasons. Harmony Grove gave up 457 yards rushing in last year's 31-14 loss to Bearden.
RISON (6) at Fordyce: No. 2 Rison is renown for its Veer rushing attack, but the Wildcats actually passed for more yards in 2014 than (passing yards) it allowed. The top-ranked secondary in Class 2A returns intact, including CHI St. Vincent Super Team members Bryson Marks and Skylar Shipman. Bitter rival and Class 3A No. 8 Fordyce fell last year to Rison 34-30 for the first time in four seasons.
JUNCTION CITY (7) at Smackover: Smackover plays host to Class 2A juggernaut Junction City (40-game win streak) five days after taking on defending Class 4A champ Warren in Pine Bluff during Hootens.com Kickoff Week. Junction City beat Smackover 33-19 a year ago.
Parkers Chapel at MAGNET COVE (13): No. 14 Magnet Cove will start four new O linemen, and the health of its two starting running backs is in unknown. Senior RB/LB Josh Smeltzer (knee) and junior RB Jamil Tyner (overheated in team camp) are questionable. Junior Shaun Holland (6-0, 170) dropped more than 100 pounds over the summer and likely starts at defensive end.
WOODLAWN (9) at Midland: The Neil Barbaree era begins at Woodlawn without two-time all-state RB Jefferey Jones (2,154 yards in 2014). Numbers are up at second-year varsity program Midland, including 10 seniors.
Strong at MURFREESBORO (21): No. 15 Murfreesboro owns one of the better linebacking corps in 2A football with the return of All-7-2A RB/LB Daniel Robinson (1,074 yards, 89 tackles in 2014), senior Jarrett Pitchford (121 tackles) and the development of junior Cameron Snowden (43 stops). Strong (16 players in 2014) could dress in the high 20s for the opener.

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