Class 4A - Week 15 - 2015

Class 4A - Week 15 - 2015

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Class 4A, Week 15, 2015
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc.

1. Nashville (14-0)
2. Prairie Grove (13-1)
3. Pea Ridge (11-3)
4. Arkadelphia (8-6)
5. Dardanelle (12-1)
6. Warren (10-2)
7. CAC (11-2)
8. Star City (9-4)
9. Pocahontas (10-1)
10. Hamburg (9-3)
11. Pottsville (8-4)
12. Pulaski Robinson (9-3)
13. Fountain Lake (8-4)
14. Ashdown (8-4)
15. Gosnell (9-2)
16. Shiloh Christian (7-4)
17. Malvern (6-5)
18. Gravette (7-4)
19. Dover (8-3)
20. Dollarway (6-5)
21. Crossett (6-5)
22. West Helena (6-5)
23. Lonoke (5-6)
24. Stuttgart (5-6)
25. Heber Springs (5-6)
26. Highland (6-5)
27. Dumas (5-5)
28. Trumann (6-5)
29. Baptist Prep (3-8)
30. Lincoln (4-7)
31. Riverview (4-6)
32. Monticello (3-7)
33. Mena (3-7)
34. Huntsville (4-6)
35. Newport (2-8)
36. DeWitt (2-8)
37. Ozark (3-7)
38. Southside Batesville (4-6)
39. Clinton (2-8)
40. Jonesboro Westside (3-8)
41. Gentry (3-7)
42. Cave City (2-8)
43. Brookland (2-8)
44. Harrisburg (2-8)
45. Subiaco Academy (2-8)
46. Bauxite (1-9)
47. Berryville (2-8)
48. Waldron (0-10)

No. 1 Nashville vs. No. 2 Prairie Grove

These teams met in the playoffs for the sixth time in 13 years. The home team won the five of the previous meetings, with Nashville capturing three of them, 56-35 in 2009, 49-14 in the 2006 quarterfinals and 49-32 in the second round last year. Prairie Grove won 41-34 in the 2012 quarterfinals and 23-12 in the second round in 2003.

Nashville returns to the state title game for the ninth time in the past 23 years. The Scrappers won it all in 1996, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and finished as state runners-up in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2000. "Our expectations are to get here every year," Nashville first-year coach Mike Volarvich says. "These guys were in elementary school and remember when they won three straight titles. History and tradition are here."

The Scrappers haven't lost this fall, slipping past Class 5A quarterfinalist Hope 32-31 in the opener and 7-4A runner-up Fountain Lake 13-12 in Week 5. The Scrappers won their four playoff games by an average of 47-23, although starters played sparingly in the second half of three blowout victories. They average 384 yards and 45 points per game. Dual-threat senior quarterback Leonard Snell, a finalist for the Farm Bureau Awards Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year, has completed 94 of 199 passes (47 percent) for 1,643 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions. Snell paces Nashville's potent ground attack with 191 carries for 1,585 yards and 20 scores.

Junior Darius Hopkins sprinted 71 yards on the first play in the semifinals against Pea Ridge. Hopkins has 179 carries for 1,367 yards and 25 scores this fall. Senior Trey Hughes leds the Scrappers with 30 catches for 661 yards and eight TDs, even though he didn't catch a pass last week after the Scrappers built a 35-0 advantage with 4:25 left in the first half. Sophomore Ty Pettway's emergence at receiver opens up other players, Volarvich says. Pettway caught six passes in the regular season. But he hauled in two catches for 45 yards (both went for TDs) against Shiloh Christian and three for 11 yards and a TD in the quarterfinals at Warren.

The Scrappers surrender 20 points per game. They've created 27 turnovers and recorded 39 sacks. Senior end Billy Stewart, a finalist for the Farm Bureau Awards Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year, has 100 tackles and 22 sacks in 13 games this fall (sat out Week 6 against Waldron with an injury). Stewart racked up 15 tackles against Hope and made 11 stops, including five tackles for loss, Week 4 at Arkadelphia. Senior outside linebacker Terrell Grundy has 85 tackles and five sacks this year.

Prairie Grove makes its to the Class 4A title game for the first time in school history. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals in 1997, 2003 and 2012. The Tigers have won 13 straight games since losing at Class 5A Farmington 28-12 in the opener. "I didn't have them ready to play," Coach Danny Abshier says.

The Tigers rolled through the 1-4A this fall, earning their third conference title in four years. They beat 1-3A champion West Fork 50-0 Week 3 and rolled 1-4A playoff teams Gravette (44-19), Shiloh Christian (62-33), Pea Ridge (40-16) and Gentry (42-0) in consecutive weeks. In the playoffs, the Tigers beat Jonesboro Westside 45-14, Ashdown 34-24, Star City 50-21 and Arkadelphia 61-42.

Senior QB Sam Dodd emerged as a passing threat this fall. Dodd passed for 330 yards and four TDs against Arkadelphia and has more than 2,000 yards this fall. Senior Blake Faulk had 272 all-purpose yards and scored six TDs (three rushing, three receiving) against Arkadelphia. Faulk has 1,550 yards rushing this fall. He ran 14 times for 250 yards Week 13 against Star City. "We've been saving him up," Abshier says. Senior tight end Dylan Soehner (6-7, 275) has caught 10 passes the past two weeks, and he doubles at end and tackle on defense. Senior linebacker Dakota Hutchinson has almost 150 tackles this fall. "He's our leader every game," Abshier says. Senior outside linebacker Cole McClellan "is tearing it up," the coach says. "He's hard to block."

Prairie Grove has an 11-1 playoff record the past seven seasons when scoring at least 30 points.

Comparing scores against common opponents: Prairie Grove beat Shiloh Christian Week 6 (62-31), Pea Ridge in Week 7 (40-16), Ashdown in the second round of the playoffs (34-24) and Arkadelphia (61-42) in the semifinals. Nashville beat Arkadelphia Week 4 (49-28), Ashdown in Week 7 (37-18), Shiloh Christian in the second round of the playoffs (48-23) and Pea Ridge (42-20) in the semifinals.

Prairie Grove led Ashdown 18-0 in the first quarter and 26-24 in the final minutes before scoring a late TD, and Nashville led Ashdown  30-18 before scoring a fourth-quarter TD. "No one understands how good Prairie Grove is until you play them," Ashdown coach Matt Richardson says. "They run for 7 yards, 12 yards then throw it over your head. Nashville is so fast on defense. It's a good match-up."

LAST WEEK correctly predicted both semifinal games last week. For the season, correctly predicted 270 of 333 games (81 percent).

NASHVILLE (2) vs. Prairie Grove

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