Class 7A, Week 9, 2009
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1. Springdale Har-Ber (8-0)
2. Bentonville (7-1)
3. Bryant (7-1)
4. North LR (6-2)
5. Cabot (7-1)
6. Russellville (6-1-1)
7. Fayetteville (5-2-1)
8. FS Southside (5-3)
9. Rogers Heritage (6-2)
10. LR Catholic (4-4)
11. Springdale (3-5)
12. FS Northside (2-6)
13. Rogers (2-6)
14. Conway (3-5)
15. Van Buren (1-6-1)
16. LR Central (0-8)HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 Bryant at No. 4 North LR
Two of the four teams tied for first in the 7A Central meet. Bryant blistered Cabot 35-7 last Friday, two weeks after Cabot won at North LR 17-6. North LR beat Russellville (28-20), which won at Bryant 14-3.
Winner could earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Loser has lesser chance of advancing to state title game, traveling West in postseason.
Bryant coach Paul Calley is now 3-1 against Cabot with his Hornets limiting Cabot to 14 points or less every meeting. Calley and defensive coordinator Steve Griffith were assistants in the 1990s under former Bryant coach David Jordan, who ran the Dead T offense that Cabot employs. They've learned what stops the Dead T but still use Dead T principals in their own rushing attack that has senior Chris Rycraw 32 yards away from becoming the school's all-time leading rusher.
Talented North LR coasted last week at LR Central 35-7. North LR averages one play of 60 yards or more weekly, including three kickoff/punt returns for TDs by diminutive Oak Grove transfer Tim Johnson (5-4, 150). Johnson has more than 1,600 all-purpose yards while seniors Colt Schaller and DeArius Hudson are two of the state's better defensive tackles.
North LR's linebackers must tackle the strong yet elusive Rycraw well to win. Bryant can't afford to relish Cabot win too long and must stay in position on defense to avoid giving up big plays.TV SHOW
Hooten's Arkansas Football airs statewide 11 a.m. Saturdays on CBS (Today's THV 11 and KFSM TV 5). Games scheduled to be featured this week include Bryant at North LR, Fayetteville at Har-Ber, Springdale at Bentonville, LR Catholic at LR Central, Russellville at Conway and Van Buren at Cabot.LAST WEEK
Hootens.com correctly predicted 7 of 8 winners (88 percent), missing only Bryant over Cabot. For the season, hootens.com is 61-15-2 (79 percent).WEEK 9 PREDICTIONS (favored team in ALL CAPS followed by point spread)
Bryant at NORTH LR (1): Game of the Week.
RUSSELLVILLE (7) at Conway: Conway kicked a field goal as time expired to beat undefeated Russellville last year for one of its two wins in 2008. Russellville can earn No. 1 playoff seed this year by winning its final two (Cabot at home next Thursday) combined with a Bryant win at North LR. Russellville senior QB Barrett Hughes returned from injury last week, completing 11 of 22 passes for 119 yards, including four tosses to playmaker Averian Collins for 69 yards in a 16-6 win over LR Catholic.
LR CATHOLIC (14) at LR Central: LR Catholic is 1-4 in league play after starting 3-0. The Rockets won their season opener at FS Southside, which took No. 1 Har-Ber to overtime last week and beat No. 2 Bentonville three weeks ago. Catholic only scored with 2:07 left last week at Russellville. LR Central plays like its ready for season to end. Tiger losing streak has reached 19. They finished winless last season for the first time since 1905.
Van Buren at CABOT (24): Cabot still guaranteed league's No. 1 playoff seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by winning its final two (at Russellville next Thursday) combined with a North LR win over Bryant. Cabot netted 16 yards rushing in the first half and completed just one of nine passes on the night in last week's mercy-rule loss at Bryant. Coaches statewide seek that film.7A WEST
Fayetteville at HAR-BER (8): Hooten's 7A preseason favorite Har-Ber is the only unbeaten team left, but Fayetteville could earn at least a share of the West title with a win. In last year's game, Har-Ber intercepted four passes and held Fayetteville to minus-11 yards rushing. Fayetteville beat Har-Ber for the 2007 state title.
FS Northside at ROGERS (3): Both can still make the playoffs by winning final two games.
Heritage at FS SOUTHSIDE (1): Top-ranked Har-Ber had to work overtime to beat these teams the past two weeks. Heritage trailed FS Southside 10-7 at halftime last year before losing 38-14.
Springdale at BENTONVILLE (14): Defending state champ Bentonville got the help it needed with Har-Ber's overtime win over FS Southside last week. Now if the Tigers take care of Springdale and avenge their only loss of last season (at Har-Ber) next Friday, they'll have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Like last year, Springdale could face a must-win Week 10 game against Rogers to make the playoffs.(c) 1993-2009 Hooten Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this site may be retransmitted without the express written consent of Hooten Publishing, Inc.