Class 2A Hootens.com Rankings, Notes and Picks, Week 0, 2023
Hooten’s Arkansas Football Rankings
Class 2A, Week 0, 2023
Copyright Seventy Seven’s Publishing
2. Mineral Springs
3. E. Poinsett County
4. Cross County
5. Mount Ida
7. Des Arc
8. Conway Christian
9. Marked Tree
15. LR Episcopal
24. Baptist Prep
25. JC Westside
26. Lafayette County
WEEK 0 PREDICTIONS (Favored teams in ALL CAPS)
Hootens.com correctly predicted 147 of 184 games (80 Percent) involving 2A teams.
GAME OF THE WEEK
CLASS 3A QUITMAN at Conway Christian
Quitman (6-5-1 last season) made the playoffs despite enduring a slew of injuries. The Bulldogs will have to replace significant production on both sides of the ball to stay competitive. Senior Ethan Thurman will likely take over at quarterback. Conway Christian went 7-4 after posting 5 wins the 3 previous seasons. Junior all-conference QB Jeryn Thomas returns after accounting for 1,481 total yards and 19 total touchdowns. Thomas missed the Eagles’ scrimmage with Carlisle last week with a leg injury. Conway Christian Coach Just Kramer said Xander Stone did well in place of Thomas.
BIGELOW at Class 3A Atkins
Bigelow defeated Atkins 41-20 en route to finishing 9-2 in 2022. Atkins returns starters at 15 positions after going 0-10 last season.
Hector (2-2A) at MARKED TREE
Hector’s 6-4-1 season ended with a first-round playoff loss to East Pointsett County, but QB Jackson Taylor (1,988 passing yards, 28 TDs in 2022) returns. Marked Tree finished 9-3 last season, losing to eventual state champion Hazen in the second round of the playoffs. The Indians return QB Kenyon Carter, who passed for 1,312 yards and 18 TDs last year. They also return linebacker Jonah Walker, who tallied 151 tackles last season.
Magazine at CLASS 3A MANSFIELD
Mansfield, coming off its best season since 2019, enters the year with explosive skill players returning on both sides of the ball. The Tigers have outscored Magazine 123-13 over the past 3 seasons. Magazine returns around 90 percent of last year's production.
CLASS 4A DOVER at JC Westside
Dover's 43-16 win over J.C. Westside last season ended a 26-game losing streak dating back to 2018. The Pirates, who started 2-0 before losing their final 8, return starters at 14 positions this season, including all 5 offensive linemen.
Mountainburg is idle
Hector at MARKED TREE. See comment above.
Earle at CLASS 3A SALEM
Salem produced its best season (8-4) as a class 3A team, and head coach Josh Watson says he expects his team to be at the top of the conference with not much of a dropoff from last year’s production. The QB competition comes down to sophomore Jackson Taylor and junior Kaiden Hollis. Senior Lukas Downs, who rushed for 730 yards with 15 touchdowns as a QB last season, shifts to receiver this fall. Salem won last year’s meeting — 20-12 at Earle. Earle wrapped up their season with an 8-4 record.
CROSS COUNTY at Class 4A Harrisburg
Cross County expects to contend for a state title after some talented players moved into the district in the summer. Former Mountain Home assistant Austin Jarrett takes over as Harrisburg's third coach in 3 years.
CLARENDON at Class 4A Helena
Helena has 1 win since Week 6, 2019. Its strong point in 2023 should be linebackers, coach Russell Smith says. Clarendon senior QB Jaxon Hampton passed for 825 yards and 8 TDs and ran for 576 yards and 5 TDs last season.
Marianna (4-2A) at HAZEN (Thursday)
Marianna was winless a year ago, including a 50-8 loss to Hazen. Sophomore RB Ja’Marion Bearden looks to be the main ball carrier after leading the Marianna junior high team in 2022. Hazen is the defending state champions, beating rival Carlisle in the state title game. The Hornets return MVP running back Braylan Anderson, who rushed for 1,654 yards and 24 TDs a year ago.
Des Arc, McCrory and East Poinsett County are idle
MINERAL SPRINGS at Class 3A Jessieville
Jessieville is coming off an injury-plagued 3-7 season, its worst since 2015, but the Lions return 16 starters, including QB Dalton Ellison. Mineral Springs went 7-4 and defeated Jessieville 45-30 in last season’s matchup.
DIERKS at Class 3A Fouke
Dierks, winners of 3 consecutive 3-2A titles but picked to finish third in the conference this season, beat Fouke 29-27 last season. Fouke is coming off its best season since 2017 while posting a 5-5 record, but must replace significant production on both sides of the ball to stay competitive in the conference. Senior Stetson Dixon, junior Terrell Robinson and sophomore Brody Bulkley will battle for the starting QB position.
Poyen at CLASS 3A MAGNET COVE
Poyen finished 5-6 last season after losing 45-22 to Magnet Cove in the season opener. Magnet Cove also recorded a 5-6 record in its first season as a Class 3A program. Likely getting the nod at QB this season for the Panthers will be junior Wilson Ballentine, who was the backup a season ago. Expect senior Luke Harper to earn the most time at running back this season.
CLASS 3A GURDON at Lafayette County
Gurdon returned to Class 3A for the first time since 2017 and exceeded expectations with a 6-4 record. Junior QB Rhett Ledbetter returns for the Go-Devils, who also return senior running back Sheldon Smith. Gurdon beat a 1-win Lafayette County team 50-20 last season.
Forman at CLASS 3A HORATIO
Horatio beat Foreman 32-24 last season, its only win and its highest point total since 2018. Sophomore Riley Williamson will carry the majority of minutes at QB for the Lions, with senior Kale Rehm serving as the backup. Horatio also boasts depth at the skill positions. Foreman went 0-10 in 2022.
Murfreesboro and Mount Ida are idle
Marianna at HAZEN (Thursday). See above.
Class 3A Two Rivers at ENGLAND
England bounced back from a 2021 winless season to crush Two Rivers 48-12 in the opener en route to a 6-6 finish that included a playoff win over Dierks. Two Rivers won 2 games, and Garrett Dunman and Dakota Hooker will battle it out at QB. Senior twins Ethan Crites and Evan Crites line up at halfback and wingback, respectively.
Class 3A Palestine-Wheatley at CARLISLE
Palestine-Wheatley posted a 1-8 record last season with 9 freshmen joining the varsity squad in that time. Quarterback comes down to a battle between sophomores Brodie Parker and Andrew Knowlton. Carlisle posted an 11-2 record last season and played in the Class 2A title game, losing to Hazen. The Bison must replace Offensive Player of the Year Jason Sullivan.
CLASS 3A DREW CENTRAL at Bearden
Drew Central (5-6) ended its season with a loss to power Prescott. Expect junior Tramond Miller and sophomore Tra'Bennett Fuller to share time at QB, with junior Kalani Collins getting the nod at running back. Bearden went 1-8 last season.
CLASS 3A YELLVILLE-SUMMIT at Baptist Prep
Yellville-Summit posted 5 wins last season, its most since 2012. Expect senior playmaker Landen Keiter and sophomore Noah Cantrall to compete for the starting QB spot for the Panthers. Baptist Prep went 0-10 last season and lost to Yellville-Summitt 47-18.
LR Episcopal and Hampton are idle