Class 3A Hootens.com Rankings, Notes and Picks, Week 0, 2023
Hootens.com Class 3A Rankings
Week 0, 2023
4. C. Harmony Grove
5. Glen Rose
18. Walnut Ridge
26. West Fork
27. Magnet Cove
29. Junction City
32. Drew Central
33. Lake Village
41. Two Rivers
PREDICTIONS (Favored team in CAPS)
HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 10 Newport at NO. 6 OSCEOLA
Newport won last year’s matchup 34-28 at Osceola, and the Greyhounds reached the state quarterfinals en route to a 9-4 record in Coach Brian Reardon's first season. Junior Demetric Denton will be the starting QB with Luke Reynolds serving as the backup. Newport will rely on seniors Malik Robinson and B.J. Elston, along with junior Tonio Phillips and sophomore Aamonii Wren in the backfield. Osceola won the 3-3A last year, before reaching the quarterfinals and finishing at 8-4. Sophomores M.J. Washington and Tyler Bell compete at QB. Junior tailback Jeremiah Jacobs will account for the majority of the carries this fall.
Magazine at 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.
Hackett at CENTERPOINT
Centerpoint scored a 34-32 win last year over Hackett, which finished with a 1-9 record, its worst season since 2001. Senior QB Cole Ketchum returns for Hackett after accounting for 1,900 yards and 20 TDs. Centerpoint (10-2 last season) will be led by junior all-conference QB Drew Diggs, who returns after passing for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns last year.
Greenland at CLASS 4A LINCOLN
Lincoln, coming off its third consecutive playoff appearance, returns starters at 14 positions with hopes of improving on a 5-6 season. Senior QB Drew Moore completed 187 of 334 passes for 2,904 yardsl and 36 TDs. Lincoln won last year’s meeting 58-38, but Greenland finished 8-4 behind departed all-state QB Max Meredith. Junior David Hendrix will likely take over the offense.
WEST FORK at Class 4A Green Forest
West Fork won last year’s matchup with Green Forest 28-14 and finished the season 5-5. Sophomore Cooper Ridenoure likely gets the nod at QB after displaying accuracy and arm strength at the junior high level last season. The Tigers’ defensive line should be a strength for Coach Rodney Selph’s team. Green Forest (1-9 last season) beat Cedarville 30-20 for its lone win.
Cedarville at PERRYVILLE
Cedarville posted a 2-8 record last year, its worst season since 2016, but the Pirates return three 3-year starters on the offensive line along with two-time all-conference playmaker Colton Arnold. Perryville beat Cedarville 48-18 last year, and will be led by QB Conner Frith, who has moved over from wide receiver. Seniors Luke Underwood and Wyatt Brown will carry the running game for the Mustangs, who finished 4-7 after a 4–2 start to the season.
OPEN: No. 1 Booneville, No. 3 Charleston, Lavaca
Class 2A Earle at No. 9 SALEM
Salem is coming off 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 shifts to receiver after rushing for 730 yards and 15 TDs at QB last fall. Salem won last year’s meeting — 20-12 at Earle, which also finished at 804.
MELBOURNE at Class 4A Bald Knob
Melbourne set a school record last season with 13 wins and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time. Clayton McWilliams will take over as the head coach this season for the Bearkatz after coordinating the offense, which averaged 43 points per game. Bald Knob (2-9) picked up wins against Magnet Cove and Heber Springs. Melbourne beat Bald Knob 34-14 a year ago. Bald Knob averaged 10.6 ppg a year ago.
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 QB. 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 TDs. 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.
Class 2A BIGELOW at 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.
YELLVILLE SUMMIT at Class 2A 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. Baptist Prep went 0-10 last season and lost to Yellville-Summitt 47-18.
No. 10 Newport at NO. 6 OSCEOLA: See Game of the Week above.
NO. 8 HOXIE at Class 4A Trumann
Hoxie, 7-4 last season while earning its 7th consecutive playoff appearance, will be led at QB by 2-time all-state receiver Kayden Glenn, who makes the transition after catching 13 TD passes last year. Trumann (5-6 last season) lost 14-6 to Hoxie last year. First-year Trumann coach Gunner Cook put 45 players through fall workouts.
WALNUT RIDGE at Class 4A Highland
Walnut Ridge went 7-4 last year, its best record since 2019. Coach Jefferey Blake says this season’s offensive line may be one of the best he has ever had. Junior Jayden Saulsbury will get the nod at QB. He generated 101 yards on 5 carries last season for Walnut Ridge. Former Highland all-state QB Sterling Stowers takes over as head coach for the Rebels, who posted a 3-7 record this past season and lost to Walnut Ridge by 10 last year to open the season.
Manila at Class 4A RIVERCREST
Manila made its second consecutive playoff appearance despite a 3-8 record. Dynamic sophomore Isaac Moore takes over at QB after logging 9 TDs for the 5-3 junior high team a season ago. Rivercrest made a second-round playoff appearance last season and posted an 8-4 record. Rivercrest has 42 players this season. Senior RB/LB Koby Turner and WR/DB Mike Rainer played well in the summer.
Palestine-Wheatley at Class 2A 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 4A GOSNELL at Piggott
Gosnell posted an 8-3 record last season, more wins than in the previous 2 seasons combined. Senior QB Trent Middleton will start after passing for 355 yards and 4 TDs a season ago. Piggott went winless for the first time since 2002 last fall with low numbers and a young roster. Sophomore QB Ben Latimer returns for Piggott after completing 49 passes for 495 yards and a TD last season.
Class 4A Crossett at NO. 5 GLEN ROSE
Defending conference champion Glen Rose aims for the top once again as new head coach Steven Kehner takes the helm from his father Mark Kehner. Senior QB Rein Bland, a 2-year starter, passed for 2,154 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. Glen Rose boasts a strong returning class on both sides of the ball. Crossett has 42 players on its roster. Coach Vincent Newton says the linebacker group made the biggest jump over the summer, and that senior WR Taylin Paskel (435 yards, 6 TDs in 2022) developed into a playmaker.
NO. 2 PRESCOTT at Bismarck
Prescott eyes a fifth consecutive conference championship and third straight undefeated regular season this fall. Senior Pierce Yates takes over at QB after earning all-conference honors on defense last season, logging 123 tackles. Prescott won 47-28 in last year’s matchup. Bismarck looks to improve on last season’s 6-5 record and third-place conference finish. Junior all-conference performer Ben Keithley is back at QB and junior all-conference playmaker Johnny Diaz returns after rushing 62 times for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns last season.
Class 2A MINERAL SPRINGS at 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.
Class 2A Poyen at 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. Junior Wilson Ballentine gets the nod at QB after backing up last season. Expect senior Luke Harper to earn the most time at running back this season.
Class 4A WALDRON at Paris
Cain White (12-11 record in 2 years at Manila) takes over as Waldron's coach, succeeding Doug Powell (8-20 record in 3 years). White plans to use the Flexbone to keep the ball away from opponents. Senior Maddox Watts returns at QB for Paris, along with junior outside receiver Dax Baumgartner. Waldron beat Paris 48-7 last season, but Paris has won 9 of the past 14 meetings.
Two Rivers at Class 2A ENGLAND
England bounced back from a winless 2021 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.
Junction City at NO. 4 CAMDEN HARMONY GROVE
Junction City looks to new head coach Devin Ball after going 4-6 last season, and the Dragons will return a good amount of production on both sides of the ball. Camden Harmony Grove finished last season with a 7-5 record and aims for its first conference title in 6 years. Senior all-state QB Caleb Johnson returns for the Hornets, who are projected to win the 6-3A conference this fall.
Class 2A DIERKS at 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 (5-5) since 2017, 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.
SMACKOVER at 4A Mayflower
Smackover won 7 games a year ago and the Buckaroos get big plays from senior WR Tanner Mitchell (479 yards, 4 TDs last year). Mayflower (4-6 last season) worked on developing linemen in the offseason.
GURDON at Class 2A 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.
Class 2A Foreman at 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.
FORDYCE at Class 4A Monticello
Fordyce posted a solid 7-5 season when moving up to Class 3A. Senior Kobe Cunningham takes over at QB, while sophomore Matthew Tanner will be the backup. The defensive linemen and linebackers should prove to be a strength for Fordyce. Monticello has won 11 of the past 20 meetings in this competitive series. The Billies enter the season with 45 players on the roster after scrimmaging Rison. Senior QB Brooks Bowman and slotback Ja'Quayvius Rhodes played well in the summer, along with senior CB Jeremiah Daniels.
Class 4A Dumas at No. 7 RISON
Rison (11-1 last season) has a new head coach – Caleb Carmikle – after longtime head coach Clay Totty left for Wynne. Expect senior Owen Morrison to start at QB, with senior Trey Wainwright at running back.
Barton at Class 4A DEWITT
Barton (5-6 and third in the conference) is led by 2-year starting QB Conner Willis, who accounted for 2,068 yards and 28 TDs a year ago. DeWitt, which won its second playoff game in 43 years last fall, relies on senior slotback Owen St. John (430 yards, 12 TDs in 2022) this fall. DeWitt won 28-16 last season.
DREW CENTRAL at Class 2A Bearden
Drew Central (5-6) ended its season with a loss to perennial 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.
LAKE VILLAGE at West Bolivar, Miss.
Lake Village (2-7 a season ago) opens with Mississippi rival West Bolivar. Senior running back Aquavious Dunbar leads the Beavers offense. Getting the nod at quarterback this season for Lake Village will be sophomore Davion Johnson.