Class 3A Rankings, Picks and Notes, Week 1, 2023

Class 3A Rankings, Picks and Notes, Week 1, 2023

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Class 3A, Week 1, 2023 Rankings
Copyright Seventy Seven's Football Publishing, LLC

1. Booneville (0-0)
2. Prescott (1-0)
3. Charleston (0-0) 
4. C. Harmony Grove (1-0)
5. Newport (1-0)
6. Salem (1-0)
7. Fordyce (1-0)
8. Hoxie (1-0)
9. Glen Rose (0-1)
10. Rison (0-1)
11. Mansfield (1-0)
12. Walnut Ridge (1-0)
13. Hackett (1-0)
14. Osceola (0-1)
15. Gurdon (1-0)
16. Bismarck (0-1)
17. Perryville (1-0)
18. Junction City (0-1)
19. Lavaca (0-0)
20. Fouke (1-0)
21. Quitman (0-1)
22. Magnet Cove (1-0)
23. Yellville-Summit (1-0)
24. Melbourne (0-1)
25. West Fork (1-0)
26. Centerpoint (0-1)
27. Greenland (0-1)
28. Drew Central (1-0)
29. Barton (0-1)
30. Paris (1-0)
31. Smackover (0-1)
32. Jessieville (0-1)
33. Lake Village (1-0)
34. Atkins (1-0)
35. Manila (0-1)
36. Cedarville (0-1)
37. Horatio (1-0)
38. Danville 0-0
39. Piggott (0-1)
40. Two Rivers (0-1)
41. Palestine-Wheatley (0-1)

PREDICTIONS (Favored team highlighted and CAPS)


Class 4A ELKINS (1-0) at No. 3 Charleston (0-0):
    Defending Class 3A champ Charleston hosts Class 4A Elkins to start its 2023 season. The Tigers won their first state title since 2014 with a 41-12 win last fall over Booneville at War Memorial Stadium. Senior Eli Huck and sophomore Carter Little battle it out for the QB spot. Senior all-state playmaker Reese Merechka returns after totaling 994 yards (819 receiving) and 13 TDs in 2022. The Tigers will need to rely on a mostly new cast of starters as the team graduated 15 seniors from last season's state title team. Elkins pounded Pottsville 51-0 a week ago, with senior QB Dizzy Dean (203 passing, 2 TDs) and senior Da'Shawn Chairs (134 rushing, 3 TDs) leading the way. Charleston started last year's state championship run with a 20-point win at Elkins, the Tigers’ sixth consecutive in the series.


No. 1 BOONEVILLE (0-0) at 4A Ozark (1-0):
    Booneville, last year's Class 3A runner-up, starts its season against its former conference foe. The Bearcats have won 15 of the past 23 meetings, including 35-7 last season, and lead the all-time series 54-27-4. The Bearcats will start 5 sophomores on defense and 3 on offense. “Anytime you start that many sophomores, there are a lot of question marks, as far as how they will respond to the ups and downs of the game and how they will react to the speed of the game,” Bearcats Coach Doc Crowley says. Senior halfback Dax Goff (2,323 yards, 29 TDs) became Booneville's first 2,000-yard rusher last year, and is the first Bearcat to eclipse the 300-yard mark (307 vs. West Fork). Starting at QB for Booneville will be junior Jace Washburn, who developed as the backup a year ago. Ozark beat Clarksville 35-7 a week ago. QB Koby Wilbanks ran for 185 yards Eli Gilstrap led the defense with 11 tackles.

Paris (1-0) at MANSFIELD (1-0): 

Paris won its opener 32-14 over Class 4A Waldron 32-14; Mansfield breezed to a 56-0 win over Class 2A Magazine. Junior Daniel Burton (3-122 rushing, 2 TDs; 1-40 receiving, TD) and Tyler Turnipseed (80-yard punt return TD) sparked the Tigers’ offense. Andrew Burton (8 tackles) and Zander Walters (6 tackles) helped secure the shutout.

Class 2A Magazine (0-1) at LAVACA (0-0): Lavaca Coach Mark Headley says he is excited for his team’s opener after seeing slot receiver and safety Andrew Johnson and junior QB Cutler Winters rise during the summer. Senior RB/LB Michael Barwick also looked good with meaningful production. Magazine opened with a 56-0 loss to Mansfield. Alan Downs forced a fumble, and Kolton McCubbin had an INT.

HACKETT (1-0) at Pocolo, Okla. (0-1): Hackett won its opener 53-6 against Centerpoint and was led by QB Cole Ketchum who threw for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. Junior receiver Brycen Hamilton (4-181 receiving, 2 TDs). Matthew Garner (60 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and Jeremy Lawyer (53-yard TD) contributed. Pocolo lost its opener to Heavner (Okla.) 33-32

Greenland (0-1) at 4A GREEN FOREST (0-1): Greenland lost to Lincoln by 35 points last week, spoiling the coaching debut of Greenland alum Cody Napier. The Pirates scored on a TD pass from David Hendrix to Brandon Vaughan in the first quarter and on Tommy Whittington's 23-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Green Forest junior Ridge Gordon-Swofford ran 29 times for 122 yards and 1 TD in last week's 20-8 loss to West Fork.

WEST FORK (1-0) at 4A Berryville (0-1):
    West Fork sophomore Shawn Swinson rushed for 2 TDs and sophomore QB Cooper Ridenoure ran for a TD in a 20-8 win over Green Forest. West Fork Coach Rodney Self said this week it will come down to the play of offensive linemen Duece Hinely at RT, Tristan Bradley at RG, Evan Ruiz at center, Walter Henson at LG and Connor Allen at RT. “We are going to have to battle up front,” Self said. Macklin Chermak takes over as Berryville's third coach in 5 years, but Berryville has won 5 of the past 7 meetings between the teams.


Thayer, Mo. (1-0) at SALEM (1-0):
    Thayer began its season with a 21-18 victory on the road at St. Vincent. Salem beat Class 2A Earle by 40 points in its opener. QB Lukas Downs (120 yards rushing, 34 passing, 1 TD) operated the offense. The Greyhounds defense yielded 92 total yards against Earle. Coach Josh Watson says his team will need to do a good job up front in order to run the ball like it did last week.

No. 9 Newport (1-0) at 5A BEEBE (0-1) Beebe gained nearly 400 yards and forced 3 turnovers in last week's 59-34 win over Class 6A Jacksonville. Newport sophomore WR/RB Aamonii Wren (128 yards rushing, TD; 4-69 receiving, TD) and junior QB Demetroc Denton (200 total yards, 1 TD) keyed last week's 42-14 win over Osceola. 

 Class 4A LONOKE (0-1) at Melbourne (0-1)

Lonoke looks to rebound after last week's shocking 52-16 loss to CAC. Nose guard Charles Hunter racked up 12 tackles for the Jackrabbits. Melbourne trailed upstart Bald Knob 26-0 at halftime last week before returning an onside kick for a TD. Bald Knob won the game, 32-16.

3A Perryville (1-0) at CAC (1-0): Perryville outscored Cedarville 27-0 in the second quarter last week before cruising to a 41-0 decision. CAC junior QB Grayson Wilson accounted for 4 TDs in last week's 52-16 win over Lonoke. The Mustangs, who allowed 37.3 per game last year, gave up  279 yards and 16 points at Lonoke.

2A Hector (0-1) at QUITMAN (0-1)

Quitman lost its opener 20-13 to Class 2A Conway Christian after Conway Christian scored on its first 2 possessions. Quitman was led by Oakley Smith (7-110 receiving) and Kyler Like (15 tackles). The Bulldogs look to get back on track with a win as they host Class 2A Hector. Hector QB Jackson Taylor passed for 153 yards and a TD in the Wildcats’ 34-27 loss to Marked Tree. Brent Casto rushed for 160 yards on 32 carries.

ATKINS (0-1) at 4A Dover (1-0)
    The winner gets the Rivals Cup.  Dover won its opener when JC Westside forfeited hours before kickoff after 4 junior high players had to seek treatment due to heat on Thursday. Atkins lost to Bigelow 16-12 a week ago. The Red Devils defense, led by Jackson Furh (9 tackles), showed marked improvement.

YELLVILLE-SUMMIT (1-0) at 2A J.C. Westside (0-1)
    Yellville-Summit won its opener by 24 over Baptist Prep, rushing for 465 yards. Coach Justin Crain wants to see his team get off to a good start in the first half this weekend against J.C. Westside, which was forced to forfeit to Dover last week after several players were reportedly sick because of heat-related illnesses. Westside is set to play this Friday. 


4A Jonesboro Westside at HOXIE (1-0)
    Hoxie has won 6 of the past 10 over the Warriors, but Jonesboro Westside posted a 2-point victory last season. Jonesboro Westside lost its opener 39-0 to Class 5A Brookland. Hoxie beat Trumann 12-6 last week, with Camden Brooks sparking the victory with some tough runs in his first game back from an end-of-season injury suffered in week 10 last year. “Westside is always a tough game,” Hoxie Coach Tom Sears says. “We have played each other for years and expect nothing except a battle.”

Class 4A BLYTHEVILLE (1-0) at No. 10 Osceola (0-1)
    Osceola began the season ranked as the No. 6 team in class 3A, but suffered a shocking loss at the hands of No. 10 (now No. 9) Newport. Newport defeated the Seminoles 42-14 on their own home turf. The Seminoles gave up 481 yards rushing.

4A Cave City (0-1) at WALNUT RIDGE (1-0)
    Walnut Ridge junior Enrique Perez (13-135 rushing, 1 TD) and Robbie Tate (15-75 rushing, 2 TDs) led the way in Walnut Ridge’s 1-point OT win over Highland. The Bobcats controlled the line of scrimmage with defensive linemen Dawson Ward, Brogan Tate, Collin Andrews and River Handcock, coach Jeffery Blake says. Cave City lost to Clinton last week by 42 points. Christopher Robinson led the Cavemen with 9 tackles and 1 fumble recovery.

Manila (0-1) at 2A EPC (0-0)
    Manila opened with a 40-point home loss to Rivercrest. Manila Coach Ben Fisher, says his team has to do better at the point of attack, and needs key players Nate Parrish and Jacob Baugher to lead the way. EPC was idle last week. The Warriors are led by running back Dennis Gaines, who rushed for 3,232 yards and 44 TDs a year ago.

PALESTINE-WHEATLEY (0-1) at Two Rivers (0-1) Palestine-Wheatley tries to rebound from a 42-0 home loss to Carlisle in the opener. Sophomore back/LB Anthony Pendleton received attention from Carlisle. Two Rivers comes off a 50-8 home loss to England Evan Crite stood out for Two Rivers defense, while Garrett Dunman showed promise late in the game at QB.. 

Piggott (0-1) at 5A PARAGOULD (0-1): Piggott, with 17 players, hung tough in last week's 36-point loss to Gosnell. Paragould lost to rival Greene County Tech 6-4 last week. The Rams failed to score on 3 drives inside the Greene County Tech 10. Sam Hunt (8 tackles) and Zander Hinkle (6 tackles) led the Paragould defense.


4A NO. 1 MALVERN (0-1) at Glen Rose (1-0): This rivalry, dubbed the Brick Bowl, has been won by Malvern 9 of the past 13 years. Malvern lost to (Prosper) Western Grove, Texas 57-54 last week. Senior Jalen Dupree, limited by cramps and the heat, ran 19 times for 164 yards and 4 TDs, while Dyelon Caradine had 8 catches for 154 yards and 1 TD. Linebackers Angel Perez (15 tackles, 2 sacks) and Romere Bennett (13 tackles) led the defense. Glen Rose led Crossett 23-14 at halftime before losing 39-38 in double overtime.

Rison (0-1) at BISMARCK (0-1): Rison opened with a 20-14 loss to Class 4A Dumas, which scored on the last play of the first half to make it 20-6 at halftime. Rison beat Bismarck 34-31 last season at home. Bismarck fell to Prescott 56-20 in the opener. Ben Keithley (104 rushing, 75 passing) and Dalton Daniels (10-75 rushing) led the offense. Bismarck Coach Daniel Keithle says his team must do a better job with ball security than it has in the past few meetings with Rison.

4A MENA (1-0) at Centerpoint (0-1): Centerpoint lost 53-6 to Hackett, while Mena beat rival De Queen 39-7. Mena's Brody Peters sparked the win by rushing for 104 yards and 2 TDs and recording 12 tackles. “No doubt that Centerpoint is better than (last week) indicates,” Mena Coach Craig Bentley says. “They are physical and have good size.” Centerpoint lost 7 fumbles and were hurt by missed tackles. The play of OT Tate Spray was a highlight for Centerpoint.

Magnet Cove (0-1) at FORDYCE (1-0): Fordyce won its opener, beating Class 4A Monticello 35-12. Both Carmilo and Akeem Allen stood out on defense, while Kobi Cunningham and Brenten Sledge paved the way on offense. Sledge rushed for 148 yards with 1 TD.  Magnet Cove, with a strong cast of returning seniors, will try to avenge last season’s 42-24 home loss to Fordyce.

DANVILLE (0-0) at 2A Mountainburg (0-0)

Danville plays its first game since last September when the Little Johns canceled the remainder of the season because of low numbers and injuries. Mountainburg was idle last week, but the Dragons’ offense is counting on QB Ryan Allen, RB Levi Pense and WR Shay Pixley.


No. 2 PRESCOTT (1-0) at McAlester, Okla (1-0) Prescott opened with a 56-20 win over Bismarck on the road, and the Curley Wolves stay on the road this week, traveling to McAlester, Okla., which opened its season with a 23-13 win over Broken Bow, Okla.

Class 2A Carlisle (1-0) at JUNCTION CITY (0-1) Junction City opened with a 34-28 loss to Camden Harmony Grove last Friday night. Sophomore DT Dalton Baker accounted for 5 tackles, including 2 TFL and 1 sack and Harmony Grove. 

Fouke (1-0) at 2A MINERAL SPRINGS (0-1) Fouke won its opener 40-28 on the road at Dierks. The Panthers have won the last 2 matchups against Mineral Springs, which opened with a 20-6 win over Jessieville. The Hornets were led by Rahmaij Ware (21 tackles, interception, forced fumble) KT Thomas’ 2 rushing TDs.

2A Episcopal (0-0) at SMACKOVER (0-1) Smackover lost its opener 40-8 at Class 4A Mayflower. The Buckaroos host Class 2A Episcipal. Smackover won 8-6 at Episcopal last year.

2A Foreman (0-1) at GURDON (1-0): Gurdon opened with a 40-32 road win at 2A Lafayette County. The Go-Devis were led by Jamari Williams (10-77 rushing, 3 TDs), Jake Rowan (3 TFL, 1 forced fumble)h and Xavier Laster (75-yard kickoff returns. Go-Devils Coach Kyle Jackson must commit fewer penalties and turnovers on offense and provide better tackles on the defensive end.

Horatio (1-0) at 2A DIERKS (1-0): Horatio picked up a 35-6 win on the road at class 2A Foreman last Friday night as Riley Williamson completed 6 of 7 total passes on 115 yards. Williamson accounted for 4 TDs overall. Drake Angel rushed for 95 yards and a TD.


No. 4 Camden Harmony Grove at 4A HARDING ACADEMY
    Harding Academy has won 3 of its past 4 games over Camden Harmony Grove, including 41-14 last season. Senior slot receiver Kyler Hoover and senior LB Wyatt Simmons both played well in Harding Academy's 15-point win over Valley View. Camden Harmony Grove beat Junction City 34-28 last week. Senior QB Caleb Johnson passed for 104 yards to spark the victory.

2A Clarendon at BARTON (1-0)
    Barton opened their season with a 42-29 loss to DeWitt at home. Jakobie Lewis played well with a 42 yard TD reception and also led the team with 9 tackles. Dequincy Wilson had 54 yards on 9 carries with 8 tackles. Head coach of the Bears, Steve Sextron, says the team will have to prepare for this athletic Clarendon team and that it will provide a good challenge this Friday.

4A MAYFLOWER (1-0) at Drew Central (1-0):
    Mayflower ripped Smackover 47-8 last week by passing for 153 yards and 2 TDs and running for 203 yards and 5 TDs. The Eagles defense held Smackover to 157 yards. Drew Central beat Bearden 28-14 a week ago behind QB Tre'Bennett Fuller (8-16 passing, 13-100 rushing; 7 tackles) and Luke Phillips (9 tackles, 2.5 sacks).

4A Hamburg (0-1) at  LAKE VILLAGE (1-0): Lake Village beat Bolivar, Miss., 28-22 last week. Lake Village senior Aquavious Dunbar (11-265 rushing; 8 tackles, 2 forced fumbles) starred on both sides of the ball. Hamburg lost 18-15 to Ashdown. Defensive end Dawson Bates led the Lions with 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks and returned an interception for a TD. Peyton Sellers (nickel LB) and LB Willis Robinson also played well.

OPEN Jessieville, Cedarville

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