Class 7A Week 0 Rankings, Notes & Picks

Class 7A Week 0 Rankings, Notes & Picks

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Hooten's Arkansas Football Rankings
Class 7A, Week 0, 2021
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

 
1. Bryant
2. Cabot
3. Bentonville
4. Fayetteville
5. North LR
6. Conway
7. Bentonville West
8. Har-Ber
9. LR Catholic
10. FS Northside
11. Springdale
12. LR Central
13. Rogers
14. FS Southside
15. Heritage
16. LR Southwest
 
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 1 Bryant vs. Class 6A No. 3 Benton.
The annual Salt Bowl, which draws Arkansas’ largest high school crowds, is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Three-time defending state champion Bryant reloads with new defenders (9 starters graduated) and skill players but a veteran offensive line returns. Three Bryant offensive linemen, who average 290 pounds, start for a third season. Both tackles have D-1 scholarship offers. Bryant High (2,300-plus students) has almost twice the enrollment of neighbor Benton and will dwarf the Panthers' smallish lines, too.
Benton played for the Class 6A title in 2018 and 2019 before Covid-19 quarantine knocked the Panthers out of the postseason last November. All-conference tailback Casey Johnson and standout senior receivers Andre Lane (team-best 57 catches in 2020) and Cam Harris (6-6 wing span) are big-play threats. Stran Smith, a starter the past two seasons at Monticello, succeeds graduated QB Garrett Brown (Benton's all-time passing leader). Senior all-conference linebacker Cain Simmons (5-9, 175; 4.6 speed) starts for a third season and might be Benton’s best player. Benton hasn’t beaten Bryant since 2005.
 
LAST SEASON
hootens.com correctly predicted 89 of 104 games (86 percent)
 
WEEK 0 PREDICTIONS (favored teams in ALL CAPS followed by points spread)
7A CENTRAL

BRYANT (17) vs. Benton. See hootens.com Game of the Week.
LR Central at LR CHRISTIAN (7): LR Central hired veteran coach George Shelton in the spring to revive its once-proud program. Shelton, LR Central’s fourth coach in 14 seasons, guided Augusta to the Class 2A state finals in 1999 and Dollarway to the 4A finals in 2004 and 2007. He coached Watson Chapel to a conference title in 2010 and led Dumas (1-9 in 2019) to the state quarterfinals last fall in his first season at the school. LR Christian stopped a two-point conversion in the final seconds to lead Benton 21-20 at halftime of its scrimmage last week.
CABOT (21) at Searcy: Cabot could be Bryant’s top challenger in Coach Scott Reed’s third season. Reed's Panthers won at Bentonville before losing 49-42 at North LR in last season’s semis. Searcy has a new coach for the third straight season. Former Razorback and UCA QB Zak Clark, who coached at Springdale the past six seasons, inherits eight returning starters to run his Spread offense. Searcy led Cabot early in last season’s matchup before succumbing 35-18.
FS NORTHSIDE (20) at FS Southside (Thurs.): Battle of Rogers Avenue. FS Northside has dominated the series lately, winning 35-7 last year. Northside's team speed and front line should provide plenty of points this fall. Close to 40 sophomores improve Southside’s depth.
Conway at FAYETTEVILLE (1): Conway won by a TD last season. Conway will be faster and likely better on defense but graduated its standout QB and WR. Fayetteville returns more starters than any team in Class 7A, including receiver Isaiah Satenga (10.9 in 100 meters). The speedy Satenga owns more than 20 Power 5 college offers and ran wild in a 14-14 scrimmage tie vs. Greenwood. Senior linebacker Mani Powell (6-3, 225) moved from Ohio to Fayetteville after committing to Arkansas on July 2.
LR Catholic at JONESBORO (6): Jonesboro won this matchup 28-24 last year. Jonesboro normally the more talented team and that is certainly the case this season. Catholic’s sophomore class is one to watch, though.
WEST MEMPHIS (15) at LR Southwest: Second-year program LR Southwest, winless a year ago, looks to shorten games with an option attack. The sophomore class at West Memphis makes the Blue Devils relevant again.
North LR is open.
 
7A WEST
MANSFIELD, TEXAS (8) at Bentonville West:
Bentonville West lacks linemen and will start a sophomore QB. Mansfield has a second-year coach, finished 2-5 in its tough conference last season.
Siloam Springs at ROGERS (9): Rogers won this game 52-42 last August and should be improved with less man coverage on defense and promoting a super sophomore class. Siloam Springs looks solid at QB, left tackle and its tight end creates matchup problems. The Panthers also hope to give up fewer big plays with a new defensive coordinator.
VAN BUREN (15) at Springdale: Van Buren smacked Springdale 48-28 last year and the Bulldogs likely struggle, again, this season. Defending Class 4A champion Shiloh Christian led Springdale 35-0 in the first half of last week’s scrimmage. New Springdale coach Brett Hobbs is the first former Bulldog to lead the program. Van Buren led Class 5A Farmington 15-14 at halftime of last week's scrimmage.
FARMINGTON (15) at Heritage: Both will be improved. Heritage could climb out of the 7A West basement. Watch Class 5A Farmington take off under new Coach J.R. Eldridge and become a title contender in the next 2-3 years. Farmington trailed Class 7A Van Buren 15-14 at halftime of its scrimmage. Sophomore Cameron Vanzant won the QB spot with a solid summer. Heritage (three wins the past six seasons) ran the ball well in a scrimmage against Class 6A Siloam Springs.
Conway at FAYETTEVILLE (1): Fayetteville returns more starters than any team in Class 7A, including receiver Isaiah Satenga (10.9 in 100 meters). Satenga owns more than 20 Power 5 college offers and ran wild in a 14-14 scrimmage tie vs. Greenwood. Senior linebacker Mani Powell (6-3, 225) moved from Ohio to Fayetteville after committing to Arkansas on July 2. Conway will be faster and likely improved on defense but graduated its standout QB and WR. Conway won this opener by a TD last season.
Har-Ber at MCKINNEY, TEXAS (9): Game set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Har-Ber has no stars on defense but returns junior Hudson Brewer (1,579 yards and 16 TDs), the state’s leading rusher in 2021. Brewer (6-2, 200) added 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, Coach Chris Wood says. Talented receiver Peyton McKee (4.5 speed) showed out in the Wildcats scrimmage at West Moore, Okla., and Drew McClendon took his first catch for a 50-yard TD. QB Luke Buchanan completed 11 of 14 passes with 5 TDs. McKinney plays in arguably the toughest conference in Texas, scored 23 points per game last season. Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn has offered McKinney sophomore receiver a scholarship.
FS NORTHSIDE (20) at FS Southside (Thurs.): Battle of Rogers Avenue. FS Northside has dominated the series lately, winning 35-7 last year. Northside's team speed and front line should provide plenty of points this fall. Close to 40 sophomores improve Southside’s depth.
Liberty North, Mo. at BENTONVILLE (6): Bentonville, winners of the West conference 14 of the past 15 years, has toughened its non-conference schedule to prep for postseason play. Bentonville graduated most of its defense, including the state's top linebacker corps, but is loaded at the offensive skill positions. Junior left tackle Joey Su'a (6-5, 315), a move-in from California with scholarship offers from Arkansas, Georgia and more, may be the league's best lineman in a decade. Bentonville will score often this fall. Liberty North finished 9-3 last season, lost by a field goal in the Missouri state semifinals.


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