Class 6A Rankings, Picks and Notes, Week 5, 2023
Hooten’s Arkansas Football Rankings
Class 6A, Week 5, 2023
Copyright Seventy Seven's Football Publishing, LLC
1. Greenwood (5-0)
2. LR Christian (4-1)
3. Benton (3-1)
4. LR Catholic (3-1)
5. Pulaski Academy (3-1)
6. Marion (4-0)
7. West Memphis (3-1)
8. Searcy (3-1)
9. Lake Hamilton (3-2)
10. Mountain Home (3-2)
11. El Dorado (2-2)
12. Greenbrier (3-1)
13. Russellville (1-4)
14. Van Buren (1-3)
15. Sheridan (1-3)
16. Sylvan Hills (0-4)
17. Greene County Tech (1-3)
18. Siloam Springs (0-5)
19. Jacksonville (0-4)
Hootens.com correctly picked 9 of 9 games (100 percent) involving Class 6A teams last week and 46 of 54 games (85 percent) on the season.
WEEK 5 PREDICTIONS (favored team highlighted and ALL CAPS)
HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 6 Marion (4-0) at No. 3 BENTON (3-1)
Marion has won 3 of 4 meetings with Benton, but the Panthers won 55-13 last year Marion. All of Marion's wins against Benton have come in the playoffs: 42-33 in 2011, by Covid-19 forfeit in 2020, and 59-37 in the 2021 quarterfinals.
Marion is 4-0 for the first time since 2011 after last Friday's 37-0 win over Greene County Tech. The Patriots limited the Golden Eagles to 177 yards, forced 2 turnovers and blocked a punt en route to their first shutout win since 2018. Marion senior tailback Jalen Smith (179 rushing, 3 TDs) and senior QB Ashton Gray (196 total yards, including 70-yard TD pass to junior slot receiver Christian Young) sparked the offense. Marion senior linebackers Dewayne Williams (10 tackles, including 1 TFL), Javen Griffin (8 stops), and Victor Turner (6 tackles and an interception) anchor a first-team Marion defense that has allowed less than 200 yards per week and 20 points in 4 games.
Benton has won 3 in a row a season-opening Salt Bowl loss to Class 7A juggernaut Bryant, including a 49-42 win over defending 6A East champion and state semifinalist Little Rock Catholic 49-42. Benton beat El Dorado 56-7 victory last week, leading the Panthers 35-7 late in the second quarter. Benton senior tailback Braylen Russell scored 3 times at El Dorado while sophomore QB Drew Davis completed 9 of 12 passes for 270 yards and 4 TDs in the first half. Benton is getting players back from injury, including safety Chris Barnard, Russell, and receiver Elias Payne.
This has the makings of a thriller on par with Benton and LR Catholic 2 weeks ago. But Benton defended its home turf that night and will do so again this week in a game that could come down to who has the ball last.
GREENE CO. TECH (1-3) at Jacksonville (0-4): Greene County Tech downed Jacksonville 28-14 in 2022. Tech executed an efficient short passing game last week in a 37-point loss at Marion. Golden Eagles QB Kyson Goodson completed 14 of 26 passes for 88 yards, but the Eagles made only 2 trips inside the Marion 20. Tate Ryan intercepted a Marion pass in the first period to end the Pats' first drive. Sheridan beat Jacksonville 49-25 a week ago, but Titans QB Kentrell Thompson amassed more than 330 yards and 3 TDs. The Titans scored on their first 3 drives, and reached the red zone on their fourth possession, which ended with an interception. Greene County Tech (3 points per game) will find more running room this week to outscore the Titans.
El Dorado (2-2) at No. 8 SEARCY (3-1): El Dorado slammed Searcy 56-35 a year ago, and the Wildcats have won 5 of 6 meetings in the series. Searcy's only win came in the 2017 state quarterfinals. El Dorado QB Mitchell Polk connected with Jamari Robinson last week to account for the Wildcats' TD in a 56-7 home loss to Benton. The TD made it 14-7 in the first quarter. Searcy trailed Little Rock Catholic 31-0 last week in the third period of a 45-14 defeat at War Memorial Stadium. Searcy QB Ty Strickland threw TD passes to Jesse Sumpter and Rickey Love. This is a big game for playoff positioning, and we think the explosive Lions are able to find more points this week.
Sylvan Hills (0-4) at SHERIDAN (1-3): Sylvan Hills has won all 3 meetings with Sheridan, including 28-27 a year ago. Sylvan Hills scored on tailback Malachi Goodwin's TD run last week and led favored West Memphis 7-0 until late in the first quarter in a 44-13 home loss. The Bears scored on the game's final play when Tyler Hampton connected with Lakobe Brent for a score. Sheridan rode tailback C.J. Dollarhide (145 yards rushing, 3 TDs) and QB Brady Dillon to a 49-25 victory last week over Jacksonville, Coach Tyler Turner's first victory at the Grant County school. Sylvan Hills' offense improves every week, but Sheridan has more ways to score right now than the Bears.
No. 4 LR CATHOLIC (3-1) at No. 7 West Memphis (3-1): These teams have split their past 2 meetings, with Catholic downing West Memphis 37-16 last year. West Memphis erased an early 7-point deficit last week at Sylvan Hills, outscored the Bears 44-0, and won 44-13. Tailback Jeremiah MacGruder (103 yards) and QB Keland Mills (88) led the Blue Devils' 249-yard rush attack. The Catholic Rockets led Searcy 31-0 in the third quarter last week en route to a 45-14 home victory, sparked by QB Jackson England's 285 passing yards and 5 total TDs. Will Aaron added a Catholic field goal. The Rockets allow 17.5 points per game this season, and that includes 49 points allowed 2 weeks ago to Benton. Defense is how Catholic wins at West Memphis this week.
Greenbrier (3-1) at No. 1 GREENWOOD (5-0): Greenwood has won 12 in a row against Greenbrier since 2001, including 49-21 last fall. Greenbrier, coming off a bye, has won 3 in a row, including a 58-27 win over Van Buren 2 weeks ago. The Panthers amassed 565 yards against Van Buren as QBs Kane Griffin and Kane Richardson combined to complete 16 of 25 passes for 331 yards and 5 TDs. Seven Panthers carried the ball, led by Griffin's 76 yards. Senior Miles Miller (9-219 receiving, 4 TDs) was another star on the offensive side. Junior Eric Huett led the Panthers with 5 tackles. Top-ranked Greenwood is 5-0 for the first time since it won the 2020 state championship. The Bulldogs racked up 515 yards in a 61-17 win over Van Burwen behind backup QBs Cooper Goodwin and Scott Holland, who combined to complete 19 of 28 passes for 403 yards and 4 scores. Junior Grant Karnes (10-213 receiving) and tailback Braydean Davis (20-92 rushing) each scored 2 TDs. Junior Zach Zitzmann led the Greenwood defense with 13 tackles. Greenbrier continues to jockey for a home playoff game in November, but Greenwood has too many options in this one.
Van Buren (1-3) at No. 9 LAKE HAMILTON (3-2): Lake Hamilton has won 3 in a row in this series by a combined 167-61. Van Buren trailed Greenwood 34-10 last week at halftime en route to a 61-17 defeat. Pointers senior QB Bryce Perkins connected with Trenton Cooley for a TD, Peyton Pschier returned an interception for a TD, and Derek Kelley booted a 36-yard field goal. Lake Hamilton rushed for 260 yards in last week's 54-7 victory at Siloam Springs, led by junior RB Hayden Barton's 103 yards and 3 TDs. QBs Easton Hurley and Landon West combined to complete 4 of 5 passes for 63 yards. Offensive linemen Hunter Baber, Bryson Hill, and David Dalton recorded 2 pancake blocks apiece. The Wolves are rounding into shape, and we think they keep it going this week.
No. 10 Mountain Home (3-2) at No. 5 PULASKI ACADEMY (3-1): Pulaski Academy won the only other meeting in this series 52-14 a season ago. Mountain Home erased a 7-0 halftime deficit to beat Russellville 24-21 a week ago when Kelso Haught kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. The Bombers outgained the Cyclones 440-214 and allowed 8 first downs to Russellville. Pulaski Academy absorbed a 55-13 loss at Little Rock Christian. The Bruins trailed the Warriors 27-6 after a quarter and 34-6 at halftime. PA QB Brandon Cobb passed for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. These teams enter Friday night with momentum going in opposite directions, but the Bruins rarely lose at home and will do whatever it takes to remain in the 6A West title hunt.
Siloam Springs (0-5) at RUSSELLVILLE (1-4): The Cyclones lead the series 8-3, including a 55-14 road victory last year. Siloam Springs's losing streak hit 22 games in last week's 54-7 loss to Lake Hamilton. Siloam junior QB Dane Marlatt passed for 100 yards and a TD against Lake Hamilton, while junior Josiah Thompson (6 tackles), junior Carlos Sandoval (5) and senior Justin Burton (5) led the defensive effort. Russellville QB Luke Jones accounted for 3 TDs in the Cyclones' loss at Mountain Home a week ago. Russellville was plus 4 in turnover margin last week, but the Cyclones finished 1 of 10 on third downs against the Bombers. Russellville must move past that loss, but the Cyclones will rally at home.
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