Class 2A Week 1 Rankings, Notes & Picks
Class 2A, Week 1, 2018
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.
1. Foreman (0-0)
2. Junction City (1-0)
3. Mount Ida (0-0)
4. Hazen (1-0)
5. Conway Christian (0-1)
6. Mineral Springs (0-0)
7. Hector (0-1)
8. Hampton (0-0)
9. Fordyce (0-0)
10. Des Arc (1-0)
11. McCrory (0-0)
12. Earle (0-0)
13. Parkers Chapel (0-0)
14. Magnet Cove (1-0)
15. Bearden (0-0)
16. England (0-1)
17. E. Poinsett County (0-0)
18. Mountainburg (0-0)
19. Clarendon (0-0)
20. Salem (0-0)
21. Gurdon (0-0)
22. Marked Tree (0-0)
23. Hackett (0-1)
24. Cross County (0-1)
25. Poyen (1-0)
26. Mountain Pine (0-0)
27. Lavaca (0-0)
28. Strong (0-0)
29. Carlisle (0-0)
30. Lafayette County (0-1)
31. Magazine (0-1)
32. Quitman (0-0)
33. Bigelow (1-0)
34. Murfreesboro (0-0)
35. Marianna (0-0)
36. Dierks (0-0)
37. Spring Hill (0-0)
38. Rector (0-0)
39. Brinkley (0-0)
40. W. Yell County (0-0)
41. Cutter M. Star (0-1)
42. J.C. Westside (0-1)
43. Marvell (0-0)
44. Midland (0-0)
HOOTEN'S.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 11 McCrory at No. 16 England
England starting quarterback Mason Brazeal (clavicle injury) would seem doubtful this week after missing the second half of last week's 14-point loss to Des Arc, but sophomore backup Nolan Winchell still completed timely passes. Senior WR Justus Filoteo caught a game-high 12 balls for 114 yards. McCrory will dress 35 players and its secondary is a strength, but the Jaguars may not run the ball as well as Des Arc, which gutted England for 475 rushing yards.
Former 11-man teams Augusta, Hermitage, Woodlawn and Decatur are playing 8-man club sport football this fall with no playoffs or title game. The Arkansas Activities Association plans to sanction 8-man football in 2020.
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.
Hootens.com correctly picked 11 of 12 (92 percent) of games involving Class 2A teams.
WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS (favored team in CAPS followed by point spread)
MCCRORY (6) at England: See Game of the Week.
Manila at E. POINSETT COUNTY (11): EPC struggled in a recent scrimmage, losing to Class 3A Rivercrest 48-0 while giving up 433 rushing yards. EPC should dress 30 players, including junior Rayshon Gates who moved back this summer to Lepanto from Gosnell where he was the projected starting QB this fall.
Mountain View at SALEM (2): These teams have split the past six meetings with Salem winning last year by 22 points. Salem all-league junior RB Jordan Turner returns after rushing for 1,800 yards a year ago.
HARRISBURG (3) at Cross County: Cross County displayed the same resilience it showed a scrimmage against Des Arc in last week's 26-20 loss to No. 4 Hazen, rallying from 10- and 12-point deficits. Cross County managed most of its 160 via the pass.
Marked Tree at WALNUT RIDGE (3): Marked Tree (20 varsity players) will be outnumbered by Class 3A Walnut Ridge, but senior lineman Bobby Swink and senior QB Jack Brown have provided consistent leadership in the preseason camp.
MELBOURNE (28) at Midland: Melbourne returns too much (starters at 15 spots and 3,000-yard passer Gabe Lawrence) for a Midland team that will dress 20 varsity players.
RECTOR is open.
Marshall at HECTOR (12): Hector could not hang last week with Class 3A No. 14 Atkins in a 43-13 loss, but the Wildcats should find more yards and points this week against a Marshall program it has beaten five years in a row by an average score of 44-13.
HACKETT (21) at Pocola, Okla.: Hackett pushed Class 3A Mansfield last week in a 28-26 loss despite a lack of depth and substitution snafus. Senior QB Brady Hester ran and passed for a balanced 298 yards and a TD. Hackett throttled Pocola 40-0 last year and another rout is likely.
CEDARVILLE (7) at Mountainburg: Mountainburg has won three straight in this series after Cedarville had won three straight from 2012-2014. While Mountainburg rebuilds this fall, Class 3A Cedarville returns starters at 20 positions and sophomores off a junior high champion promote. Cedarville throttled 4-2A member J.C. Westside 50-0 last week.
Subiaco Academy at LAVACA (4): Lavaca all-league QB Tyler Armstead appears ready for an encore performance. He and left guard Trevon Moore have provided leadership in the preseason. Lavaca will dress 34 against improved Class 4A Subiaco Academy, which was last seen moving the ball at will against J.C. Westside and well vs. Class 3A Paris in a scrimmage.
MOUNT IDA (18) at Magazine: No. 3 Mount Ida won the Class 2A title in 2016, finished as runner-up in 2017 and likely drops to 8-man in 2019 with 14 projected players. But 20 Lions will dress for Friday's opener, including 15 seniors. MI's top players from 2017 return, but seniors Ty Abernathy and Tyler Hamilton have emerged in fall camp at left guard and left halfback, respectively. Magazine lost its opener last week, 20-6 at 5-2A member Bigelow.
WESTERN YELL (1) at Two Rivers: WYC will dress 20 players, including senior leader and QB Hunter Greenfield at QB. Seniors Chris Bentley and Braden Bland emerged this summer on the offensive line. Look for junior Ethan Ridenour to make plays on both lines.
J.C. WESTSIDE is open.
MCCRORY (6) at England: England starting QB Mason Brazeal (clavicle injury) would seem doubtful after missing the second half of last week's 14-point loss to Des Arc, but sophomore backup Nolan Winchell still completed timely passes. Senior WR Justus Filoteo caught a game-high 12 balls for 114 yards. McCrory will dress 35 players and its secondary is a strength, but the Jaguars will not run the ball as well as Des Arc, which gutted England for 475 rushing yards.
PERRYVILLE (3) at Bigelow: Class 3A Perryville again made the case for discounting scrimmages by bouncing back from what appeared to be a rough preseason showing to topple Paris 26-19 in the Week 0 opener. Bigelow is also 1-0 after dumping Magazine 20-6. Just 13 miles separate these old rivals. The home team has won the past six meetings.
CONWAY CHRISTIAN (24) at Spring Hill: Class 4A Bauxite big-played No. 5 Conway Christian last week, sacking senior QB Jacob Wood four times and holding the Eagles to 50 rushing yards. Spring Hill, the 7-2A coaches' pick to finish last in the league, does not own that kind of firepower.
Mountain Pine at MINERAL SPRINGS (22): 5-2A member Mountain Pine does not have a replacement for graduated game-changer Dafavioun Haywood, but senior WR Josh Walpole (6-4, 160) is a tough matchup who makes crazy catches. Mineral Springs all-state RB Thaji Beal would be the top 'back in most leagues, but the 7-2A boasts Foreman's Karen Batey and Mount Ida's Jonathan LaGrange.
QUITMAN (2) at Rose Bud: Schools are separated by less than 10 miles and have split three of the past six meetings. Scotty Starkey succeeds Chris Norton at Rose Bud, which last year tied the school record with four wins. The Ramblers have never advanced to the playoffs.
POYEN is open.
MAGNET COVE is open.
CUTTER M STAR is open.
LONOKE (14) at Carlisle: Lonoke has beaten Carlisle the past two seasons by a combined 83-34. The Jackrabits drilled more than 30 players in the spring. Senior QB/receiver Braidon Bryant averaged 13 yards per catch last season, and grabbed a pair of TDs against the Bison.
PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (2) at Clarendon: P-W won this matchup by just two points last year but by 19 points in 2017 and by 28 in 2016. Junior linebacker Graham Gore, sophomore LB Zack Gourley and senior end Hunter Miller bolster a defense that gave up 40 pig in five straight losses to end the 2017 season.
Des Arc at BAUXITE (22): Bauxite goes 2-0 vs. Class 2A opponents after whipping No. 5 Conway Christian 49-12 last week. Des Arc ran for 475 yards in its opening win over England with junior Jackson Moreton carrying for a game-high 143 yards and a TD.
Earle at HELENA (4): The (quarterback) Gerry Bohanon (now at Baylor) era at Earle is over, but the Bulldogs looked sharp in the preseason, flying around on defense and executing at midseason form on offense. Earle junior RB Jaylon Coopwood (6-2, 265) just trucks defenders. The Armonie Calhoun (4.5 speed) era continues at Class 4A Helena after the electric QB rushed for 1,000 yards a year ago. A huge, senior-dominated line clears the way for even more yards this fall.
Brinkley at CORNING (2): Corning drags a 32-game losing streak into this contest and has not won a home game since downing Walnut Ridge Week 1 2014. Over the summer, the Bobcats were "focused and practicing on a different level," second-year coach Joey Moseley says. Class 2A Brinkley owns the edge in team speed but Corning is an improved tackling team and takes good pursuit angles.
BARTON (28) at Marvell: This Phillips County rivalry has been dominated by Barton, which has won four straight by a combined 206-34 (51.5-8.5 annually). Barton finished second last year in the 2-3A but has not won a league title since 2003. The Bears return just three starters on offense after an all-league wingback transferred in the spring.
MARIANNA is open.
HAZEN is open.
FOREMAN (10) vs. Smackover (Monday at SAU): Class 2A defending state champion Foreman opens against Class 3A No. 17 Smackover at SAU in Magnolia as part of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kickoff Classic. Foreman returns starters at 15 positions but it will miss 12 seniors who graduated in May, specifically the leadership and experience of slotback C.J. Green and two-way lineman Logan Lindsey. Foreman's defense appeared ahead of schedule last week in a scrimmage blowout of Centerpoint. The offense sputtered at times and committed a few fumbles. Smackover counters with its third head coach in three years, (veteran) Brian Brown (last stop Red Oak, Texas) and a speedy group of running backs and receivers, including explosive newcomer RB Greg Turner (5-9, 190).
CONWAY CHRISTIAN (24) at Spring Hill: Class 4A Bauxite big-played No. 5 Conway Christian last week, sacking senior QB Jacob Wood four times and holding the Warriors to 50 rushing yards. Spring Hill, the 7-2A coaches' pick to finish last in the league, does not own that kind of firepower.
MOUNT IDA (31) at Magazine: No. 3 Mount Ida won the Class 2A title in 2016, finished as runner-up in 2017 and likely drops to 8-man in 2019 with 14 projected players. But 20 Lions will dress for Friday's opener, including 15 seniors. MI's top players from 2017 return, but seniors Ty Abernathy and Tyler Hamilton have emerged in fall camp at left guard and left halfback, respectively. Magazine lost its opener last week, 20-6 at 5-2A member Bigelow.
Mountain Pine at MINERAL SPRINGS (22): 5-2A member Mountain Pine does not have a replacement for graduated game-changer Dafavioun Haywood, but senior WR Josh Walpole (6-4, 160) is a difficult matchup who makes crazy catches. Mineral Springs all-state RB Thaji Beal would be the top 'back in most leagues, but the 7-2A boasts Foreman's Karen Batey and Mount Ida's Jonathan LaGrange.
Genoa Central at GURDON (3): Like Foreman, Gurdon will dress close to 40 players, while all other 7-2A members are under 30. Gurdon, with size to go with its normal speed, has the personnel to run the Wishbone well.
Dierks at HORATIO (6): Dierks is on its fourth coach in four years and running the Flexbone for the first time. Stability of a second-year coach and system gives Class 3A Horatio the edge.
CENTERPOINT (2) at Murfreesboro: Seniors spearheaded a culture change at Murfreesboro after an 0-10 season. The poster boys include returning top tackler Zayne Flaherty, who transformed from a 160-pounder with 5.0 speed to 190 pounds and high 4.7 speed, and senior SB/LB Nathan Plyler, who went from 155 to 175 pounds and a team-best 4.7 speed. All-league QB Owen Bright triggers Centerpoint's new-look Gun attack.
Lafayette County at PARKERS CHAPEL (15): Parkers Chapel plays its second game of the week after taking on Fouke Monday night. Lafayette County did not scratch last week in 41-0 loss to Class 3A No. 4 Prescott.
Fordyce at RISON (10): Teams meet Friday night for the 67th consecutive season with Class 2A Fordyce leading the series 35-26-2. Rison won last year's meeting 23-6. Rison bumps back to Class 3A this season after finishing 51-21 from 2006-2011 in that classification. The Wildcats were 55-18 from 2012-2017 in Class 2A. Rison has won 10 games or more 23 times in school history.
JUNCTION CITY (16) at Smackover: Smackover plays its second game of the week after battling Class 2A defending state chap Foreman Monday night at SAU. Junction City held on to beat Camden Harmony Grove last week, rushing for 304 yards and four TDs. The Dragons completed just eight of 20 passes for 182 yards and two TYDs with three interceptions. Special teams must improve after giving up two kickoff returns for TDs, including a 95-yarder that allowed Camden Harmony Grove to push the game to overtime.
HAMPTON (13) at Drew Central: Class 3A Drew Central gave up 55 points last week to No. 25 Poyen. No. 8 Hampton features senior workhorse and linebacker D.D. Stephens, who averaged 11 yards per carry win 2017.
Lafayette County at PARKERS CHAPEL (20): Parkers Chapel plays its second game of the week after taking on Fouke Monday night. Lafayette County did not scratch last week in 41-0 loss to Class 3A No. 4 Prescott.
Bearden at C. HARMONY GROVE (7): Harmony Grove has won three straight in this battle for the Bill Manning trophy, and Bearden has not won at the Grove since 2013. Bearden transitioning to the ShowGun offense with senior QB Cohen Word reading the option and junior FB Robert Miller running well for first-year HC Trey Outlaw. Camden Harmony Grove features three of the more dynamic playmakers in Class 3A with senior QB Gannon Bearden, junior slotback Xaylon Falls and senior receiver Kentrell Hill. Falls and Hill own the skills and speed few opponents can match, particularly one-on-one. Falls ran for 84 yards and a TD, caught a TD pass and returned kicks for 75- and 95-yard TDs last week at Junction City.
Strong at HAMBURG (35): Strong will dress fewer than 20 players with half of those being seniors. Lack of bodies becomes major issue in 2019 for new head coach Sirl Wright.