Class 6A Rankings, Picks and Notes, Week 2, 2023
Hooten’s Arkansas Football Rankings
Class 6A, Week 2, 2023
Copyright Seventy Seven's Football Publishing, LLC
1. Greenwood (2-0)
2. Pulaski Academy (2-0)
3. Little Rock Christian (1-1)
4. Benton (0-1)
5. LR Catholic (1-0)
6. El Dorado (1-0)
7. Marion (1-0)
8. Searcy (1-0)
9. West Memphis (0-1)
10. Mountain Home (2-0)
11. Lake Hamilton (1-1)
12. Russellville (1-1)
13. Greenbrier (1-1)
14. Van Buren (1-1)
15. Sylvan Hills (0-1)
16. Sheridan (0-1)
17. Siloam Springs (0-2)
18. Greene Co. Tech (1-0)
19. Jacksonville (0-1)
HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
NO. 8 SEARCY (1-0) at No. 16 Sheridan (0-1)
Sheridan stunned Searcy 31-27 a season ago, a loss that was part of the Lions' 1-5 start in 2022. Sheridan bolted to a 13-0 second-quarter lead Week 0 against Class 5A rival White Hall, but the Bulldogs scored 29 unanswered en route to a 43-19 victory. Sheridan QB Brady Dillon passed for 114 yards, including a TD toss to Jackson Bourne. C.J. Dollarhide rushed for 59 yards. Sheridan is in its first season under veteran head coach Tyler Turner, who authored some impressive turnarounds, including inheriting a winless Olive Branch (Miss.) team and guiding it to a 13-1 record and a berth in the state semifinals in his first year. "I fell in love with Sheridan because it's an old-school town with tons of community support," said Turner, who coached against Sheridan last season when serving as a Sylvan Hills assistant “They were hard-nosed and gritty and that stuck with me." Dillon, Dollarhide, Payton Sterritt, C.J. Davis, Parker Ramsey, and Jake Smith serve as Sheridan's captains this fall.
Searcy avenged a 2022 loss to Batesville by rushing for 310 yards in a 53-19 victory 2 weeks ago. Searcy senior all-conference QB Tyler Strickland accounted for 304 yards and 3 TDs against Batesville. Three Lions rushed for more than 70 yards: Strickland (104), Ricky Love (76) and Curtis Goodrich (73). Jesse Sumpter (9-142 receiving, 3 TDs) was Strickland's top target in the passing game. Linebacker Lewis Garcia (11 tackles), Charles Thompson (8) and Dash Stevenson (7) led a Searcy that defense recorded 4 sacks and forced 1 turnover against the Pioneers. Searcy surges into the third year under Coach Zak Clark, who has gained a reputation as one of the brighter offensive minds in the state. "This 2023 group has been the easiest and most fun so far to coach since I've been in Searcy," Clark said in the preseason. "We competed the best we have in a while against some of the teams we saw at team camps during the summer."
Searcy has scored 40 points or more in 4 of its past 6 games dating to last season, and that's why the explosive Lions will avenge last year's tight loss this week.
SEARCY at Sheridan: See Hootens.com Game of the Week, above.
No. 7 Marion (1-0) at NO. 6 EL DORADO (1-0): El Dorado leads the all-time series 7-1, including playoff victories in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2016, and in the 2021 semifinals. Marion beat El Dorado for the first time last fall by turning away the Wildcats twice inside the red zone in the fourth quarter of a 27-23 victory. Marion opened 2023 with a 27-7 victory over Class 5A Wynne in Week 0. Marion led 7-0 late in the first half, but scored on its final drive of the second quarter and its first possession of the third period to open up a 21-0 lead. Marion junior tailback Jalen Smith rushed for 133 yards and 2 TDs, while senior tailback Jamar Foster ran for 81 yards, including a clinching 65-yard TD rush. Marion senior QB Ashton Gray completed a 30-yard TD pass to senior Dewayne Williams, who also finished with 8 tackles, including 2 TFLs on defense. Five dropped passes conspired to stall out Marion's offense against Wynne.
El Dorado opened last Friday with a come-from-behind 21-20 victory over south Arkansas rival Camden Fairview in Chris Hill's debut. Camden Fairview led 12-0 early and 20-14 at halftime, but Dorado's defense did not allow a second-half point. El Dorado's LeVictor Levingston intercepted 2 passes, including 1 on the game's final play. Bretaveon Brown scored the eventual game-winning touchdown with 9:10 left in the third period.
These teams appear to be evenly matched, but give El Dorado an edge, considering that Marion must endure a 250-mile bus ride to Memorial Stadium.
Greene County Tech (1-0) at NO. 5 LR CATHOLIC (1-0): LR Catholic beat Greene County Tech 38-16 last September, and the Rockets opened this season with a 17-7 win at Class 7A North Little Rock. Tech scored its fifth win a row over Paragould in the "Battle of the Bell," outlasting its crosstown rivals 6-4 behind Conner Gerrich's third-period TD. Catholic's defense picked up where it left off last season, holding the Charging Wildcats to 30 rushing yards in Week 0. Rockets QB Jackson England completed 12 of 18 passes for 148 yards and a 10-yard TD toss to Cody Fogleman, while tailback Dominic Keeton added a TD. Catholic's defense looks every bit as stingy as a season ago. This year's game will be more of the same.
NO. 4 BENTON (0-1) at Sylvan Hills (0-1): Benton rolled Sylvan Hills 58-24 a season ago. Sylvan Hills' defense competed well last week, but the Bears absorbed their first shutout since 2012 in a 20-0 loss to Class 5A Maumelle. Sylvan Hills trailed 13-0 in the fourth quarter when it moved the ball inside the Maumelle 5 before throwing an interception that led to the Hornets' last TD. Benton battled 5-time defending Class 7A state champion Bryant in Week 0, trailing 7-6 at halftime, but the Hornets scored the game's final 28 points to pull away. The Salt Bowl turned on a Benton interception and a blocked punt, which helped the Hornets take a 21-6 lead early in the fourth quarter. Benton all-state senior tailback Braylen Russell totaled more than 100 yards with a TD in the first half against Bryant before missing the entire second half with injury. Don't be fooled by Benton's loss; the Panthers are still one of the better teams in Class 6A and they'll prove it again at Sylvan Hills.
Jacksonville (0-1) at WEST MEMPHIS (0-1): West Memphis is 16-1 against Jacksonville since 2001, including a 46-8 victory in 2022. Jacksonville's 14-10 victory in 2006 over West Memphis helped the Titans (then the Red Devils) earn a 4-way tie atop that season's 6A East conference standings. Jacksonville's losing streak hit 15 games with last week's 59-34 defeat against Beebe, but the Titans' 34 points were their most since they beat Hamburg 46-39 on Oct. 8, 2020. Jacksonville senior QB Kentrell Thompson completed 18 of 24 passes against Beebe for 90 yards and 2 TDs and he rushed for 166 yards and 3 scores. Thompson threw to Keivon Span (8-74 receiving, 1 TD) and Terren Rogers (6-35 receiving, 1 TD.) Four West Memphis turnovers proved costly for the Blue Devils in a 30-16 loss at Class 7A Jonesboro. Expect the Blue Devils to clean up their mistakes on Friday to hand Jacksonville its 16th consecutive loss.
Lake Hamilton (1-1) at NO. 3 LITTLE ROCK CHRISTIAN (1-1) (Thursday): Lake Hamilton topped LR Christian 34-19 a season ago, and Lake Hamilton evened its 2023 record last week with a 27-20 road win over Class 7A Jonesboro. The Wolves led 13-6 at halftime and 21-6 early in the third quarter before clinching the final score. Lake Hamilton QB Easton Hurley threw TD passes on his only 2 attempts at Jonesboro, while the Wolves rushed for 212 yards (5.3 yards per rush). LR Christian surrendered almost 500 yards rushing in last week's 43-22 loss to Class 5A power Shiloh Christian, including 400 yards and 6 TDs to Shiloh tailback Bo Williams. Christian needs to tighten up its rush defense this week, but the Warriors will be up to the challenge.
NO. 1 GREENWOOD (2-0) at No. 10 Mountain Home (2-0): Greenwood has beaten Mountain Home 5 times since 2020, including twice in the playoffs, by a combined score of 211-27. But there's something about this year's Bombers squad, coming off a 10-point win in Week 0 over Nettleton, followed by a 44-31 win last Friday over Class 5A Harrison. Mountain Home senior QB Cade Yates (373 passing yards, 3 TDs) broke his own school record, using Jett Hannaford (7-198 receiving, 2 TDs) and Anthony Milborne (5-116 receiving, 2 TDs) as his primary targets. Greenwood is 2-0 after beating Stillwater, Okla. and Fort Smith Northside by a combined 98-21. Greenwood forced 7 turnovers and led 42-0 at halftime en route to a 49-0 victory over Northside. It was Greenwood's 7th shutout under Coach Chris Young, who took over the program in 2020. Sophomore QB Kane Archer completed 14 of 20 passes for 165 yards and 2 TDs, while Brayedon Davis rushed for 165 yards and 2 scores. Mountain Home has clearly come a long way under veteran coach Steve Ary, but we expect Greenwood to continue to dominate defensively this week.
Russellville (1-1) at NO. 2 PULASKI ACADEMY (2-0): Pulaski Academy ripped Russellville 35-17 a season ago. Russellville surrendered more than 400 yards in last week's 36-31 loss to Class 5A Hot Springs Lakeside. Lakeside QB Jacob Hermosillo passed for 353 yards and 4 TDs against Russellville, which doesn't bode well for the Cyclones as they face a PA passing attack that totaled 534 yards in last week's 45-43 victory over Madison-Ridgway from Mississippi. PA QB Brandon Cobb (38-74 passing, 524 yards, 4 TDs) led the Bruins, but it was John Steven Goodwin who kicked the game-winning 40-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to give PA victory. PA's passing game makes the difference against a stout Russellville outfit.
GREENBRIER (1-1) at Siloam Springs (0-2): Greenbrier slammed Siloam Springs 48-18 in 2022. Siloam Springs' losing streak hit 19 consecutive games with last week's 38-13 defeat at Class 5A Alma. Siloam Springs trailed 35-0 at the half. Siloam got TDs from tailback Jed Derwin and Gio Flores at Alma, but the Panthers allowed almost 200 yards rushing to the Airedales. Greenbrier improved to 1-1 last week with a 39-6 decision over Vilonia. The Panthers rode their 2 QB system to 402 yards (204 passing and 198 rushing). Enoch Assan led Greenbrier runners with 98 yards and 2 TDs. Five different Panthers scored against Vilonia. Greenbrier's balanced offense keeps Siloam Springs on its toes against this week.
OPEN Van Buren