Class 7A Rankings, Picks and Notes, Week 4, 2023
Hooten’s Arkansas Football Rankings
Class 7A, Week 4, 2023
Copyright Seventy Seven’s Football Publishing, LLC
1. Conway (3-0)
2. Fayetteville (3-0)
3. Bentonville (1-2)
4. Rogers (3-0)
5. Bryant (2-1)
6. Cabot (1-2)
7. FS Southside (3-0)
8. Bentonville West (2-1)
9. North Little Rock (0-3)
10. Jonesboro (1-2)
11. LR Southwest (1-2)
FS Northside (0-3)
16. Little Rock Central (0-3)
KEVIN KELLEY'S THOUGHTS: Arkansas teams didn’t fare as well against out-of-state opponents this past week after doing well the first 3 weeks. Springdale Har-ber, Bentonville, Jonesboro, and Cabot all lost to our border friends while Conway kept us from going 0 for 5. Southwest lost a close game to good 5A Hot Springs team, so no movement in our polls this week for the first time. North Little Rock lost to 5A defending champion Parkview, which also has a win over 7A Bryant, so the Charging Wildcats also hold their spot for another week.
Kevin Kelley correctly picked 2 of 7 games involving Class 7A teams, and is 25-14 (64.1 percent) for the season. Bad picking week, primarily because I picked all our in-state teams against their out-of-state opponents. These interstate games are pretty much over now, so I am ready for the part of the season where teams jockey for playoff position via conference play.
THIS WEEK'S PREDICTIONS (Favored team in ALL CAPS and highlighted)
HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK:
NO. 4 ROGERS (3-0) at No. 7 Southside (3-0)
Both teams head into conference play with undefeated records and enter this matchup coming off a bye week. They tuned up 2 weeks ago by facing 5A competition — Rogers winning at Farmington 38-3 while Southside traveled to Wynne and won 35-7. Rogers totaled 395 yards against Farmington, with Dane Williams throwing 3 TD passes. Southside featured RB Amari Tucker, who scored 2 TD last Friday night.
Rogers gets a lift with the return of WR Graycen Cash, who had 559 yards and 5 TDs last year. Cash returns from an ACL injury after 5 months, and it makes this a must-watch game. I am going with higher-ranked Rogers and the inspirational story of Cash pushing the rehab up by working crazy hard. I think the Mounties win this in close fashion.
No. 11 LR Southwest (1-1) at NO. 1 CONWAY (3-0): Southwest gave up 338 yards rushing last week to Hot Springs, an area the Gryphons must improve upon here. Conway Coach Buck James' teams will do what they need to do to win, but they certainly don’t mind lining up and running over you if they can. Coach Darryl Patton's Gryphons had the lead into the fourth quarter against Hot Springs before losing by 1. The Gryphons got TDs on a pass from Chase Forte to Logan White and a long rushing TD from Jabron Lewis. Conway is cruising right now, coming in off an easy 49-14 win over Ouachita Parish (La.), and I think they keep rolling this week.
NO. 2 FAYETTEVILLE (3-0) at No. 8 Bentonville West (2-1): Both teams had a bye last week, so both should come in rested and ready to play. I believe the bye week usually benefits defenses as it gives them more time to study the offense, which could result in this being a lower-scoring game than expected. Fayetteville won its last game 56-0 over Fort Smith Northside. Bentonville West won 63-0 over Little Rock Central. Look for former Arkansas QB Casey Dick, Fayetteville's head coach, to rely on QB Drake Lindsey to get the offense going early to avoid a post bye-week slowdown. Bentonville West Coach Bryan Pratt likes to run the ball and play defense, and the Wolverines will have to do both very well to beat the Purple Dogs. Fayetteville struggles against West early, then pulls away to a somewhat comfortable victory.
NO. 3 BENTONVILLE (1-2) at No. 12 Har-ber (0-3) Both teams lost to out-of-state opponents, with Bentonville losing 24-21 to Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst and Har-ber dropping a 49-47 decision to Mustang (Okla.). Rockhurst contained one of the state's top quarterbacks, limiting Bentonville’s Carter Nye to 135 passing yards. Nye rushed for 77 yards and a TD. RB Jason Gilmore (26-161 rushing, 2 TDs) carried the offense against a good Rockhurst team. Har-ber got big games out of QB Braden Sprague (363 passing yards, 3 TDs), WR Hayden Wood (143 receiving, TD) and RB Titus Cramer (178 rushing, 3 TDs). Hayden Wood is the son of former head coach Chris Wood. Bentonville has dominated this series recently and wins this matchup again, but Har-ber shows some good things.
NO. 5 BRYANT (2-1) at No. 14 FS Northside (0-3): Both teams enter off a bye week, with Northside looking for it first win. Bryant wants to get a win after having its 54-game in-state winning streak end against Class 5A No. 1 LR Parkview. Northside needs QB McClane Moody and WR Camron Massey to hook up repeatedly to have a chance against Quad Sanders' Hornets. Bryant looks to get its running game going early with James Martin. QB Jordan Walker has showed he is capable of moving the ball up and down the field in the passing game, especially with WR Mytorian Singleton leading the way. It will be too much for the Grizzlies, and I look for Bryant to get back on track this week.
NO. 6 CABOT (1-2) at No. 10 Jonesboro (1-2): Both teams enter this matchup after losing to out-of-state competition (sort of the theme of the week), but Cabot has defeated Jonesboro in 9 of their past 12 meetings. Cabot lost 28-17 to Ruston, La. Cabot's highlights came mostly on the ground with productive runs by Amarius Criner and a TD by Keegan Vest. Hayes Cox had a nice TD reception from QB Charlie Powell as well. Jonesboro lost to DeSoto Central, Miss. 29-13 on Sept. 8. Jonesboro was led by QB Terrance Brown's 2 TD passes to Chris Stacy and some other nice balls to Myreion Taylor. Caleb Smith chipped in with some nice runs. I think Cabot gets that running game going again, leading to some nice play-action passing, and a road win.
NO. 9 NORTH LITTLE ROCK (0-3) at No. 16 LR Central (0-3): In a game that used to be a giant matchup, both teams are just looking for a win. NLR lost last week to Class 5A Parkview. Central was off, giving it an extra week to study the Charging Wildcats. NLR B Tyson Braddon threw a TD pass to Jace White against Parkview. The Braddon-White connection is one that I have heard about during the first 3 weeks. Central comes in looking to find a way to score, and this game might allow the Tigers to do just that. But I think North Little Rock dominates this one and crosses back over the Arkansas River a happy team.
NO. 13 SPRINGDALE (1-2) at No. 15 Rogers Heritage (0-3): Springdale has won 11 of the past 15 matchups these teams have played. Springdale lost 2 weeks ago to No. 1 Conway 49-0. Heritage lost to LR Southwest 48-6. This will be a hard-fought game, but I am going with the Springdale Bulldogs based off their dominance over the past 15 years.