Class 2A Week 0 Rankings, Notes & Picks

Class 2A Week 0 Rankings, Notes & Picks

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Hootens.com Rankings
Class 2A, Week 0, 2021
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

1. Des Arc
2. Fordyce
3. Junction City
4. McCrory
5. Bigelow
6. Clarendon
7. Dierks
8. Magnet Cove
9. Mount Ida
10. Gurdon
11. E. Poinsett County
12. Poyen
13. Carlisle
14. Hampton
15. Hector
16. Quitman
17. Cross County
18. Magazine
19. Murfreesboro
20. Hazen
21. Foreman
22. Mountainburg
23. Marked Tree
24. Bearden
25. Mineral Springs
26. Parkers Chapel
27. Lafayette County
28. Yellville-Summit
29. Earle
30. England
31. J.C. Westside
32. Conway Christian

GAME OF THE WEEK
Rison at No. 2 Fordyce

Two-time defending Class 2A state champion Fordyce has won three of the past five meetings in this rivalry. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Paul "Bear" Bryant Stadium in Fordyce. Second-ranked Fordyce has won 20 straight games. Athletic senior Trey Merritt succeeds four-year starting QB Jaheim Brown. Merritt averaged 27 yards per carry in 2020. Sophomore LB Carmello Allen, junior OT Tyler Davis, senior CB Dominic Hammond and senior NG Dakota Wimberly improved markedly this summer. Rison and Class 4A Monticello were the only teams to play Fordyce close in the 2020 regular season, both losing by a single point. Class 3A No. 16 Rison has six returning starters, but they include Landers Auto Group 3A Super Team linebacker Dalton Riggins and fellow senior LB Jacob Bolland. Rison expects to dress 30 for the opener.

LAST YEAR
Hootens.com correctly picked 191 of 223 games (86 percent) involving Class 2A teams.

WEEK 0 PREDICTIONS (favored team in CAPS followed by point spread)
3-2A

Hazen at MCCRORY (12): No. 4 McCrory expects a payoff year and double-digit wins for the first time since capturing the 2015 state title. The 25-man roster features four All-3-2A performers and a pair of all-state linebackers in seniors Reid Kennon (90 tackles in 2020) and Lathan Briley (92 tackles). No. 20 Hazen counters with a 15-man roster, including All-6-2A QB and team leader Luke King.  
E. Poinsett County at POTTSVILLE (21): Class 4A Pottsville travelled to Lepanto a year ago and put up 60 points in a 28-point win. Pottsville senior FB/LB Landon Mahan and Cooper Duvall stood out in preseason camp. EPC junior Carter Smith succeeds all-state QB Preston Rains.
Cross County at HARRISBURG (13): Class 2A Cross County has won five of the past seven meetings, but Class Harrisburg rolled 44-6 in 2019. The rivals did not play last year due to covid quarantines. Home field and 17 returning starters for Harrisburg, which boasts many weapons in its Spread. The defense should be better with improvement up front. For Cross County, former Hoxie Mustang and senior Davie Powell will impact on both sides of the ball. All-league RB A.J. Beale (4.6 speed; 7 ypc in 2020) and LB Brayden McCammon (58 tackles) welcome four more seniors who did not play last fall.
EARLE (2) at Manila: Class 3A Manila new HC Cain White opens with a 35-man roster, including starters at nine positions off last year's 1-8 team. Senior FB/MLB Peyton McQueen, OG/DT Brandon Parrish and RB/FS Dustin Clark stood out this summer and in preseason camp. Earle tries to re-boot after its worst on-the-field record (2-6) since 1997. Earle expects to dress 28 Friday night, including all-state LB Jaylen Matthews and a pair of 6-4, 250-something matching ends, Jayden Smith and Deuante Davis.
MARKED TREE is open.

4-2A
Bearden at BIGELOW (20):
No. 5 Bigelow raised eyebrows one year ago by winning this opening matchup 16-6 en route to a school-record 12 victories and trip to the state quarterfinals. Bigelow boasts a 30-man roster and returns starters at nine positions, including emerging OG Kaden Terrell and All-4-2A OG Joe Phillips. Junior WR Bennett Johnson also stood out this summer. Bearden counters with 20 Bears, including senior Kathan Emerson who has played all 22 positions in three years of varsity football. Emerson battles senior Haden Grice for the starting job at QB. Neither has missed a workout, practice or game in three years.
QUITMAN (42) at Two Rivers: No. 16 Quitman seeks more after notching the school's first postseason victory last winter. A 32-man roster features all-league QB/LB Will Litton (2,400 passing yards, 27 TFL in 2020), go-to receiver Trevor Locke (64 receptions, 829 yards) and emerging tight end Logan Love (6-3, 220). Class 3A Two Rivers has lost 17 straight games, dating to Week 1, 2019.
HECTOR (22) at Dover: No. 15 Hector should dress 28 Wildcats at rival Dover. Sophomore QB Jackson Taylor will trigger Hector's Spread with junior Drake Riley and sophomore P.J. Henderson as playmaking receivers. Senior TB Mason Reid blossomed this summer. Class 4A Dover, with fewer than 20 players, lost a preseason scrimmage to J.C. Westside.
Magazine at MANSFIELD (5): No. 18 Magazine will dress 22 Rattlers with senior slotback Ashton Droemer (1,100 yards in 2020) running behind a line anchored by all-league OT and never-more-fit Terrance Thurman (6-0, 290). Sophomore ATH Ethan Vasquez made plays in fall camp. Mansfield’s only win in 2020 was 41-0 over Magazine, but the Tigers return more experience this season.
BAPTIST PREP (6) at Yellville-Summit: This is the first meeting between the two schools. Both own 17 wins over the past seven years. Class 2A Y-S expects to dress 33, including 12 senior leaders. Junior lineman Daniel Maxwell will start on both sides after an industrious off-season and summer. Classmate Kamden Norberg shifts from end to inside LB. BP's strength is its defensive front, but the offense failed to score last week on Class 2A Bigelow's starting defense in a scrimmage.
MOUNTAINBURG, JC WESTSIDE and CONWAY CHRISTIAN are open.

5-2A
MAGNET COVE (8) at Murfreesboro:
No. 8 Magnet Cove expects to rebound from a four-win season and ugly first-round playoff exit a year ago. MC should dress 36 for the opener as one of the more seasoned teams in Class 2A with starters back at 18 positions. Junior Chris Medina emerged this summer at OG and DT. Sophomore ATH Justice Traylor could contribute early. Murfreesboro counters with 24 Rattlers. Senior playmaker Jay Stuard takes over at QB, while Landon Silva anchors the lines at OT and NG. Both earned all-league honors in 2020. MC ran away from Murfreesboro 67-38 in the 2020 opener.
Danville at MOUNT IDA (20): No. 9 Mount Ida expects to dress 23 Lions (18 returning starters) for the opener, including a much-improved O line. Junior DE Ashton Humphries and senior MLB Gavin Summitt emerged in preseason camp, but all-league RB and projected 1,000-yard rusher and linebacker Jack Hoeksema (10 INTs in 2020) moved back to Texas. Numbers are down at Danville where the Little Johns transition to the Spread.
Genoa Central at POYEN (19): No. 12 Poyen should dress 32 Friday night, including 15 driven seniors. Senior Blake Rhodes (1,194 yards in 2020) runs behind a line anchored by senior LT Carter Webb. All-5-2A LB Colton Lowe and Landers Auto Group Class 2A Super Team LB Anthony Nanneman (160 tackles) return. GC first-year head coach David Barker inherits a program that went 3-4 last fall before missing the last three weeks of the regular season. GC moves up to Class 4A in 2022.
GURDON (10) at Lafayette County: New LC coach Jason Hathcock, a former assistant at Glen Rose, inherits a program that has won seven games over the past five seasons. No. 10 Gurdon endured heavy losses to graduation and will start a sophomore and freshman on its offensive line. Senior RB/DB C.J. Dickerson is one to watch.  

6-2A
Palestine-Wheatley at DES ARC (24):
Top-ranked Des Arc should dress 23 for the opener, including starters at 15 positions off its 2020 state runner-up team. All-state QB Luke Morton now plays for Southern Arkansas, but senior successor Jake Reidhar executed well last week in a (8-8  tie) scrimmage vs. Class 4A Cave City. All-6-2A FB Jack Kearby ran for 114 yards and a TD in that scrimmage, while sophomore Jabari Rockins took off for 75 yards on just four carries. Class 3A P-W (last playoff berth in 2017) unveils an all-new backfield in 2021.
LONOKE (20) at Carlisle: No. 13 Carlisle (5-7 in 2020) may be the only team in the state to start all (19) of its varsity players this fall. All-6-2A FB Jason Sullivan ((1,581 yards in 2020) took a hand-off 76 yards on the first play of last week's scrimmage vs. Bald Knob. Sullivan and projected 1,000-yard rusher Gage Parker run behind a line anchored by senior guard Fletcher Stivers. Look for Parker at safety and junior LB Ethan Foster and senior LB Michael Staton to spearhead the defense.
Hazen at MCCRORY (12): No. 4 McCrory expects a payoff year and double-digit wins for the first time since capturing the 2015 state title. The 25-man roster features four All-3-2A performers and a pair of all-state linebackers in seniors Reid Kennon (90 tackles in 2020) and Lathan Briley (92 tackles). No. 20 Hazen counters with a 15-man roster, including All-6-2A QB and team leader Luke King.
Mineral Springs at England (1): CANCELED Mineral Springs with 13 players in covid quarantine. Mineral Springs won this matchup 57-20 a year ago. England flashed at times in 2020, including early in the first-round playoff loss at eventual state quarterfinalist Bigelow. Mineral Springs team leaders are senior WR Paul Mitchell and junior lineman Amar Hopkins.
CLARENDON is open.

7-2A
DIERKS (15) at Bismarck
: This could be a shootout. Class 3A Bismarck opens with 24 players on the roster, including eight seniors. Class 2A No. 7 Dierks returns a talented backfield from its 7-2A title team but will dress only 18. All-league senior QB Braxton Claborn improved his passing in the off-season and summer. He works behind a line spearheaded by center and three-year starter Jacob Moore.
Foreman at IDABEL, OKLA. (6): Foreman expects to dress 23 at Oklahoma Class 2A Idabel. Foreman junior QB Hunter Fowler will get the football to sophomore ATH Tyrance Marks and senior WR Desmond Cornelius. Foreman graduated two college linemen in May: Chris Haywood (Tarleton State) and Bubba Kegley (Henderson State).
Mineral Springs at England (1): CANCELED Mineral Springs with 13 players in covid quarantine. Mineral Springs won this matchup 57-20 a year ago. England flashed at times in 2020, including early in the first-round playoff loss at eventual state quarterfinalist Bigelow. Mineral Springs team leaders are senior WR Paul Mitchell and junior lineman Amar Hopkins.
MAGNET COVE (8) at Murfreesboro: No. 8 Magnet Cove expects to rebound from a four-win season and ugly first-round playoff exit a year ago. MC should dress 36 for the opener as one of the more seasoned teams in Class 2A with starters back at 18 positions. Junior Chris Medina emerged this summer at OG and DT. Sophomore ATH Justice Traylor could contribute early. Murfreesboro counters with 24 Rattlers. Senior playmaker Jay Stuard takes over at QB, while Landon Silva anchors the lines at OT and NG. Both earned all-league honors in 2020. MC ran away from Murfreesboro 67-38 in the 2020 opener.
GURDON (10) at Lafayette County: New LC coach Jason Hathcock, a former assistant at Glen Rose, inherits a program that has won seven games over the past five seasons. No. 10 Gurdon endured heavy losses to graduation and will start a sophomore and freshman on its offensive line. Senior RB/DB C.J. Dickerson is one to watch.

8-2A
Rison at FORDYCE (8):
See Game of the Week.
Junction City at C. HARMONY GROVE (6): No. 3 Junction City leads the series 6-4. After this test, C. Harmony Grove faces Class 2A No. 2 Fordyce and 3A Harding Academy. Harmony Grove owns playmakers on defense, but the secondary lacks experience. JC, the coaches' pick to win the 8-2A, will dress 27 for the opener but lacks experience up front. Senior A.J. Ivory topped 1,000 rushing yards last season. He and junior CB Corey Dubose and senior OG/DE Slade Wilson stood out this summer and in fall camp.
Hampton at CENTERPOINT (18): No. 14 Hampton expects to dress 16 for this opener, which it won 12-10 a year ago in a mild upset. Senior Jake Strickland, a former receiver, has won the QB job and will work behind a line led by sophomore Connor Rowland. Look for all-league junior Zy Johnson to excel at RB and LB. Class 3A No. 7 Centerpoint looks to avenge last year’s surprising loss at Hampton. The Knights return starters at 15 positions who journeyed three rounds into the postseason. Senior QB Josh Lawson is a dual threat, with several outstanding targets. Centerpoint dominated 2A Foreman last week in a preseason scrimmage.
Parkers Chapel at SMACKOVER (2): PC expects to dress 23 upperclassmen for the opener with 14 freshmen ready to help. Junior RB/LB Payton Willeford has emerged as a playmaker on both sides of the ball. Senior all-league ATH Lancer Clark adjusts to the QB role, while senior center Joe Bradley anchors the line as a four-year starter. Class 3A Smackover's numbers yo-yoed this summer, but the Buckaroos expect to dress 27 for the opener.
Bearden at BIGELOW (20): No. 5 Bigelow raised eyebrows one year ago by winning this opening matchup 16-6 en route to a school-record 12 victories and trip to the state quarterfinals. Bigelow boasts a 30-man roster and returns starters at nine positions, including emerging OG Kaden Terrell and All-4-2A OG Joe Phillips. Junior WR Bennett Johnson also stood out this summer. Bearden counters with 20 Bears, including senior Kathan Emerson who has played all 22 positions in three years of varsity football. Emerson battles senior Haden Grice for the starting job at QB. Neither has missed a workout, practice or game in three years.



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