Class 2A - Week 1 - 2014

Class 2A - Week 1 - 2014

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Hootens.com Rankings
Class 2A, Week 1, 2014
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

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

HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
3A No. 6 Smackover at 2A No. 1 Junction City
Smackover claimed its first league title last fall in eight years, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1987. The Buckaroos averaged 313 yards and 37 points per game with senior quarterback Logan Clark passing for 1,449 yards and 15 TDs. Smackover's leading rusher graduated in May, but juniors Keiandre Purifoy, Dewayne Jones and Willie Manning return. Junior receiver and Hog commit Jordan Jones paced the Buckaroos with 25 catches for 687 yards and 10 TDs.

Junction City has won 27 games in a row, including back-to-back Class 2A state title games. Senior QB Randall Holyfield passed for a school-record 1,587 yards and 26 TDs last year. Powerful senior tailback Jaqwis Dancy rushed for 1,674 yards despite missing most of three games with a sprained ankle. The Dragon defense held opponents to 178 yards and 10 points per game.

HOOTEN'S TV SHOW
Hooten's Arkansas Football TV show airs 10:30 a.m. Saturdays this fall on KATV 7 (ABC-Little Rock) and KXNW (Ch. 34 Fort Smith/Fayetteville), featuring the top recruits in the state.

LAST YEAR
Hootens.com picked 244 of 301 (81 percent) for the season.

WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored teams in ALL CAPS)
3-2A

PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (6) at Rector: After a four-year hiatus, Rector should dress more than 20 varsity players. Principal and former coach Wade Williams says the community and school are excited about Friday nights again. First-year coach David Hendrix, a 1988 Rector (Clay County Central) graduate, compiled a 29-50-1 record in eight seasons at 3A Piggott.
EARLE (1) at Hazen: No. 3 Earle not shy about its intentions with a "Little Rock or bust" mantra this summer after six years in Class 3A. The Bulldogs stunned Fountain Lake, Fordyce and Hoxie last winter during their march to the 3A state semifinals. Freshman QB Gerry Bohanon (6-4, 220) sparks the Earle attack. Hazen, with 27 varsity players, won the 6-2A in 2009 and 2012 and is the coaches' pick to win its third league title in six years this fall. Watch highlights of Hazen's win over Earle in Week 1 here.
E. POINSETT COUNTY (12) at McCrory: No. 5 EPC, with varsity numbers in the low 20's, chases its third 3-2A crown in four years with senior QB and 2,600-yard passer Aaron Scales triggering an offense that averaged 382 yards and 39 ppg last year. No. 17 McCrory should dress 26 with a leaner and stronger (320-pound bench press) RT/DT Rhett Martin (6-0, 255) spearheading both lines.
Mountain View at SALEM (12): No. 25 Salem has beaten Class 3A Mountain View by an average of 34 points the past two years.
Walnut Ridge at CORNING (1): Walnut Ridge has beaten Class 3A Corning the past two years. Corning senior Klint Harvey (6-7, 335) anchors the line at tackle, while senior linebacker Travis Foster sets the defense.
PIGGOTT (6) at Marked Tree: Piggott promoted Michael Harrell to head coach in July. Harrell played at Piggott in 1990 and 1991 when it went 8-2 both years. The Mohawks feature a speedy backfield, including senior halfback Bradley Stephens. Marked Tree debuts with perhaps its best squad for Coach Waylon Dunn, who enters his sixth season as head coach.
Harrisburg at CROSS COUNTY (2): Class 4A Harrisburg has not forgotten the 81-57 loss to Cross County last year, even though the margin was just 24 points. Harrisburg lineman-turned-running back Joey McGill (6-5, 255) may prove difficult to tackle. Cross County junior linebacker Holden Byassee (6-3, 225) paces the defense for the 20th-ranked Thunderbirds with a talented secondary behind him. Cross County should dress 32 for the opener with TB Anfernee Davis (4.5 speed), second-year QB Torrence Townsend, junior FB Jerry Andrews and senior HB Devin Sides running behind an offensive line of one-way players.
Midland at WOODLAWN (10): Woodlawn all-state TB Jeffery Jones torched Hermitage for 487 of his 1,500 rushing yards last season in a 72-52 shootout. Midland started football in 2011, won two JV games a year ago and plays its first varsity schedule this fall for 52-year-old head coach T.J. Pugh. Pugh is an uncle to Harding Academy head coach Roddy Mote.

4-2A
CEDARVILLE (16) at Mountainburg: Cedarville has beaten Mountainburg on the field by an average of 37 points the past two years. The Pirates forfeited last year's 51-6 win (ineligible player). Mountainburg's sophomores went 8-1 in junior high last year, but the Dragons are struggling with low numbers.
J.C. Westside at GREENLAND (35): This is the first meeting between these schools since 2005 when both played in the 1-2A. Senior tackles McKenzie Fanning and Kiersey Beckett anchor Greenland's offensive line. Juniors Hayes Rhodes and Chance Glander lead in the secondary. J.C. Westside lacks size and numbers.
Marshall at HECTOR (21): No. 11 Hector defeated Marshall 36-8 last fall, and despite losing four starters on the offensive line, expects little drop-off up front with anchor RT Tyler Gilliland (6-4, 240), RG Steven Ester (6-0, 275), center Brandon Lott (5-10, 240), LG Zach Svolos (5-9, 215) and LT Ethan Brown (6-2, 260), who moved back from Wonderview. Marshall's junior class, led by receiver/safety Trey Kelley, went undefeated in junior high two years ago. Junior running backs Tyler Magness and Kendrick Campbell will run behind a young but big offensive line.
TWO RIVERS (6) at Hackett: Both teams debut a new head coach. Two Rivers promoted Jimmy Wilson to head coach July 31. Hackett hired former Hackett assistant and Hartford head coach Lonnie Hester in May. Hackett finished tied for third in the 4-2A last fall. Two Rivers beat eventual 4-2A champ Hector 40-34 in the opener.
Union Christian at LAVACA (35): Union Christian, the smallest football-playing school in the state, finished tied for third in the 4-2A last year. UC will dress about 20 varsity players. Lavaca returns starters at 15 positions after notching its first playoff victory (27-13 over Osceola) since 2009.
BERRYVILLE (18) at Decatur: Senior QB Victor Urquidi (6-0, 190) makes Decatur go, and he's back after missing last season with shoulder surgery.
MOUNT IDA (15) at Magazine: No. 13 Mount Ida returns to the 7-2A with a talented junior class and high expectations. Senior LT/DE Dakota Barrett (6-2, 265) earned all-state honors last year with 13 sacks. Magazine all-league FB Billy Yang could top 1,000 yards this fall, running behind two-year starting linemen Cheenew Yang (5-5, 185) and Cody Shelton (5-9, 210).
W. Yell County at BRINKLEY (9): Brinkley makes it two in a row over the 4-2A. The Tigers topped 4-2A member Magazine 20-17 in overtime in the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
Hartford at WESTVILLE, OKLA. (3): Lincoln defeated Westville 45-6 one year ago. Hartford beat Haileyville, Okla., 24-19 Week 3 last year to end a 30-game losing streak.

5-2A
Perryville at BIGELOW (2): Class 3A Perryville has beaten Bigelow six of the past seven years, including 28-12 a year ago. Team speed is at an all-time high for No. 21 Bigelow where senior B.J. Akridge has developed into a leader on the offensive line, while All-5-2A LB Damarcus Grider enjoyed a great spring and summer.
Quitman at ROSE BUD (8): Both teams debut with a new head coach. Less than 24 players practiced in August for both squads. Quitman hired former Hoxie assistant Brett Shrable last winter. Quitman's sophomores, led by athletic QB Trey McGhee, went 7-2 in junior high last year. First-year Rose Bud coach Kevin Coleman installed the Dead T over the summer, featuring senior fullback Caleb Ferren (school-record 1,490 yards and 14 TDs in 2013). Senior tackle Dustin Swint and senior tight end Sam McGrand lead up front.
Poyen at B. HARMONY GROVE (13): Harmony Grove beat Poyen 40-7 in 2013 before reaching the playoffs for the first time in school history.
Horatio at CUTTER M. STAR (1): Horatio's three wins last fall came over teams with a combined record of 5-23. Cutter Morning Star won seven games, including a 28-20 victory over 5-3A member Bismarck.
Mountain Pine at JESSIEVILLE (30): Mountain Pine enters the season with a 20-game losing streak. Jessieville lost its last nine games in 2013 after beating Mountain Pine 58-12.
EPISCOPAL (8) at Conway Christian: This is Episcopal's second game in three days after taking on DeWitt Tuesday during Hootens.com Kickoff Week. The Wildcats beat Conway Christian 27-17 in last year's opener. Conway Christian finished with six wins, including its second playoff victory in school history. Watch highlights of Episcopal's win over DeWitt in the Hootens.com Kickoff Classic at UAPB here.
MAGNET COVE (6) at Parkers Chapel: No. 12 Magnet Cove expected to continue its mastery of the 5-2A, while Parkers Chapel battles for a playoff berth in the ultra-tough 8-2A. These teams split the past four non-conference meetings with Magnet Cove winning in 2010 and 2013. Parkers Chapel won this matchup in 2011 and 2012.
England at CARLISLE (13): No. 16 England shifts from the 6-2A to the 5-2A, making this a non-conference matchup. England does not lack for skill, starting with all-state senior ATH Tyrik Harris (6-2, 180), but linemen are few and undersized. No. 6 Carlisle rebuilds under first-year head coach Jack Keith, who came to Carlisle in 2013 after three years as an assistant at Warren. Carlisle's senior class of 2014 won 35 times in three years and marched to the 2013 state semifinals. Watch highlights of England's win over Carlisle in Week 1 here.

6-2A
PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (6) at Rector: After a four-year hiatus, Rector should dress more than 20 varsity players. Principal and former coach Wade Williams says the community and school are excited about Friday nights again. First-year coach David Hendrix, a 1988 Rector (Clay County Central) graduate, compiled a 29-50-1 record in eight seasons at 3A Piggott.
MARIANNA (1) at Augusta: Marianna has won two games over the past three seasons, including a 20-18 victory at Stuttgart Week 10 last year. Augusta lost its last four games in 2013 after a 54-52 win in five overtimes over Marked Tree.
Bald Knob at DES ARC (3): Bald Knob has won 10 games over the past three seasons. The Bulldogs return starters at 16 positions, including senior QB Grant Glaze. Des Arc pushed 2-3A member Harding Academy Week 3 last year in a 12-0 loss before reaching the Class 2A championship game.
BARTON (42) at Marvell: Nine miles on Highway 49 in Phillips County separate these schools. Barton has won 30 games over the past three years. Marvell beat Palestine-Wheatley 22-12 Week 10 last year for its first victory since 2010. Marvell coach Jessie McGruder played for Barton in the mid 1990s.
EARLE (1) at Hazen: No. 3 Earle not shy about its intentions with a "Little Rock or bust" mantra this summer after six years in Class 3A. The Bulldogs stunned Fountain Lake, Fordyce and Hoxie last winter during their march to the 3A state semifinals. Freshman QB Gerry Bohanon (6-4, 220) sparks the Earle attack. Hazen, with 27 varsity players, won the 6-2A in 2009 and 2012 and is the coaches' pick to win its third league title in six years this fall. Watch highlights of Earle's loss to Hazen in Week 1 here.
England at CARLISLE (13): No. 16 England shifts from the 6-2A to the 5-2A, making this a non-conference matchup. England does not lack for skill, starting with all-state senior ATH Tyrik Harris (6-2, 180), but linemen are few and undersized. No. 6 Carlisle rebuilds under first-year head coach Jack Keith, who came to Carlisle in 2013 after three years as an assistant at Warren. Carlisle's senior class of 2014 won 35 times in three years and marched to the 2013 state semifinals. Watch highlights of England's win over Carlisle in Week 1 here.
E. POINSETT COUNTY (12) at McCrory: No. 5 EPC, with varsity numbers in the low 20's, chases its third 3-2A crown in four years with senior QB and 2,600-yard passer Aaron Scales triggering an offense that averaged 382 yards and 39 ppg last year. No. 17 McCrory should dress 26 with a leaner and stronger (320-pound bench press) RT/DT Rhett Martin (6-0, 255) spearheading both lines.
W. Yell County at BRINKLEY (9): Brinkley makes it two in a row over the 4-2A. The Tigers topped 4-2A member Magazine 20-17 in overtime in the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
BROOKLAND (7) at Clarendon: Class 4A Brookland is 6-0 in non-conference games in its two years of varsity football.

7-2A
SPRING HILL (5) at Bismarck: Bismarck has won five games over the past three seasons. The Lions fell to a pair of 7-2A opponents (Murfreesboro and Dierks) last fall to start the season. Spring Hill (5-6 in 2013) beat Murfreesboro 41-32 Week 8.
Prescott at GURDON (9): Gurdon has beaten Prescott the past two years, including a 42-14 triumph last season. Gurdon down to 23 players on its varsity roster for first-year head coach Kyle Jackson, who coordinated the defense the past three years. Senior guard Diondre McCoy (5-10, 200) is the lone starter back on an offensive line that needs to give junior RB Jackie Harvell (6-0, 185) just a crease. Harvill led the Go-Devils last year with 7.8 yard per carry, won the 100 meters (in 11.21 seconds) at the state track meet and boosted his strength (280 bench press) over the summer.
FOREMAN (19) at Genoa Central: Foreman has beaten Genoa Central by an average of 27 points the past two seasons.
Mineral Springs at FOUKE (15): Fouke defeated Mineral Springs 29-8 last year on its way a 7-4 season, ending with a 27-21 loss to Episcopal in the playoffs. Senior RB Tyler Edwardes paced the Panthers with 1,358 yards and 15 TDs. Fouke will dress 50 variety players.
MOUNT IDA (15) at Magazine: No. 13 Mount Ida returns to the 7-2A with a talented junior class and high expectations. Senior LT/DE Dakota Barrett (6-2, 265) earned all-state honors last year with 13 sacks. Magazine all-league FB Billy Yang could top 1,000 yards this fall, running behind two-year starting linemen Cheenew Yang (5-5, 185) and Cody Shelton (5-9, 210).
Hope JV at Dierks (8): No. 9 Dierks is the defending 7-2A champion and league coaches' pick to repeat despite graduating 17 seniors in May, including outstanding kicker Curtis Sebron (Henderson State).
MURFREESBORO (12) at Strong: No. 23 Murfreesboro hired former Rattler QB great Marc McRae as its new offensive coordinator to tutor senior QB Alex Kennedy (6-2, 215). The Rattlers expect to battle Gurdon for the 7-2A title. Former Strong coach Johnny Jackson, the glue during 34 wins and a state title from 2010-2013, is coaching basketball at Camden Fairview. First-year Strong head coach Craig O'Neal fighting low numbers with 15 varsity players.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY (5) at Hermitage: Lafayette County junior slotback Tre'Darius Burks (5-9, 205; 4.5 speed) is one to watch, running behind all-league tackle Kray Jones (6-0, 220).

8-2A
Smackover at JUNCTION CITY (6): See Class 2A Game of the Week.
C. Harmony Grove at BEARDEN (18): These teams have split the past four meetings. Bearden beat Class 3A Camden Harmony Grove 28-8 a year ago, holding the Hornets to 140 yards rushing on 35 attempts. This fall, Harmony Grove boasts the best group of skilled players in recent memory, but it lacks size up front. No. 2 Bearden expects to dress 31 in the opener, including senior center Jesse Hawkins (6-1, 265). Senior OT/DE Austin Hall (6-2, 230) and OT/DT Tony Johnson (5-11, 215) emerged in the off-season and summer.
Drew Central at HAMPTON (10): Drew Central enters the fall with a 32-game losing streak. Hampton won two of its last three games in 2013, pushing Rison Week 10 in a 41-33 loss.
Fordyce at RISON (4): Fordyce has beaten Rison the past three years, including a 28-21 victory last season. No. 4 Rison should be stingy on defense, returning seven starters that include senior ends Chris Leaks (6-4, 215) and Kirk Macon (6-1, 215), an All-8-2A selection last year.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY (5) at Hermitage: Lafayette County junior slotback Tre'Darius Burks (5-9, 205; 4.5 speed) is one to watch, running behind all-league tackle Kray Jones (6-0, 220).
MAGNET COVE (6) at Parkers Chapel: No. 12 Magnet Cove expected to continue its mastery of the 5-2A, while Parkers Chapel battles for a playoff berth in the ultra-tough 8-2A. These teams split the past four non-conference meetings with Magnet Cove winning in 2010 and 2013. Parkers Chapel won this matchup in 2011 and 2012.
Midland at WOODLAWN (10): Woodlawn all-state TB Jeffery Jones torched Hermitage for 487 of his 1,500 rushing yards last season in a 72-52 shootout. Midland started football in 2011, won two JV games a year ago and plays its first varsity schedule this fall for 52-year-old head coach T.J. Pugh. Pugh is an uncle to Harding Academy head coach Roddy Mote.
MURFREESBORO (12) at Strong: No. 23 Murfreesboro hired former Rattler QB great Marc McRae as its new offensive coordinator to tutor senior QB Alex Kennedy (6-2, 215). The Rattlers expect to battle Gurdon for the 7-2A title. Former Strong coach Johnny Jackson, the glue during 34 wins and a state title from 2010-2013, is coaching basketball at Camden Fairview. First-year Strong head coach Craig O'Neal fighting low numbers with 15 varsity players.

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