7A Rankings, Pick, Notes, Week 14, 2023

7A Rankings, Pick, Notes, Week 14, 2023

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Hooten’s Arkansas Football Rankings

Class 7A, Week 14, 2023

Copyright Seventy Seven’s Football Publishing, LLC

1.  Fayetteville (12-0)

2.  Bentonville (9-3)

3.  Bryant (10-2)

4.  Conway (10-2)

5.  Bentonville West (8-4)

6. Rogers (8-4)

7.  FS Southside (7-5)

8.  Cabot (7-5)

9.  Jonesboro (5-6)

10.  North Little Rock (3-8)

11.  Springdale Har-ber (2-9)

12.  Fort Smith Northside (2-9)

13. Little Rock Southwest (2-8)

14.  Springdale (2-8)

15.  Rogers Heritage (1-9)

16.  Little Rock Central (0-10)


Went 0-2 to bring the season total to 82-23 on the year. 

HOOTENS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Arkansas 7A State Championship Game)

No. 2 Bentonville (9-3) vs. No. 1 FAYETTEVILLE (12-0), 12 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium

BENTONVILLE made the 225-mile trip from Northwest Arkansas last Friday night to take on 5-time defending state champion Bryant, a team loaded with talented players like James Martin, Mytorian Singleton, and Jordan Walker and good coaching. I  don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I believe both Bryant’s offensive and defensive lines are among the best in the state as well.

But Bentvonille decided to put its trio of offensive stars on display. Carter Nye threw for 258 yards and 4 TDs. Luke Coon caught 6 passes for 104 yards and 3 of the TDs. And Razorbacks commit CJ Brown caught 5 passes for 127 yards and the other TD. 

Bentonville outscored Bryant 24-7 in a decisive third quarter, recovering a fumble on a Hornets kick return, kicking a FG by Simeon Mitchell, and scoring on a 40-yard TD pass from Nye to Coon. Brown chipped in with a long 49 reception as well. 

FAYETTEVILLE hosted the Conway Wampus Cats in the other semifinal, an advantage it earned by going 10-0.  Fayetteville probably deserved to be ranked No. 1 going into the game,  but I truly thought Bryant was the state’s best team. 

Fayetteville had shown some vulnerability over the lpast 2 weeks — beating Southside by 6 and then winning 24-21 on a fourth-quarter FG against Conway. The good thing for Fayetteville, is it now has that experience of a close game and this championship game looks to be close.

Fayetteville jumped on Conway with a drive keyed by a pass from Drake Lindsey, arguably the best QB in 7A, to Jaison Delamar for 28 yards. Christian Setzer scored on a 1-yard TD run to give the Purple Dogs a 7-0 lead. 

Conway answered using the legs of QB Donovyn Omolo, who finished the drive with a 2-yard TD run to tie it up 7-7. The stage was set for a back-and-forth affair.

Lindsey drove the Purple Dogs down the field and completed a 4-yard TD pass to Delamar to take a 14-7 lead at the half. 

Trouble struck for Conway as Omolo got hurt early in the third. Backup QB Wesley Tapp came in and had a pass intercepted by Fayetteville defender Isaiah Taylor at the Conway 45. Lindsey threw a 14-yard TD pass to Mason Spencer on the ensuing drive for a 21-7 lead. 

Conway countered with a 23-yard TD pass from Omolo to Jackson Anderson after they hooked up on a 44-yard completion earlier on the drive. The Omolo-Jackson TD made it 21-14 late in the third quarter.

Conway’s Ben Chandler sacked Lindsey to end Fayetteville’s next drive, and that was followed by an 8-yard TD pass from Omolo to Jaydon Gaines to tie the game 21-21 with a little over 7 minutes left. 

The Purple Dogs countered with 2 runs by Setzer for 57 yards, eventually settling for a 27-yard field goal by Nathan Kachel.

Conway moved to the Fayetteville 12 but failed to convert on fourth-and-8.

They got the ball one more time after stopping the Purple Dogs, who were trying desperately to run out the clock. Conway got the ball back at the Fayetteville 39 after catch interference was called with 40 seconds to play. But the Purple Dog defense forced 4 straight incompletions to end the game. 

When Fayetteville and Bentonville met earlier, Lindsey threw for 5 TDs in a 42-21 win over the Tigers. Delamar (119 receiving, TD) and Setzer (90 rushing) complemented Lindsey that night. In that game, Tigers QB Carter Nye left the game in the third quarter and the offense didn’t do very well after that. 

Nye is back and Bentonville Coach Jody Grant had this to say about his stars. "Our quarterback is playing his best football, and he is confident and doing what we need to do and it’s fun to watch. Luke Coon is phenomenal. C.J. Brown is playing phenomenal football. They brought some heat, and our offensive line did a wonderful job handling it.”

This should be a close game between very deserving football teams who beat the best central Arkansas had to offer to get here. I was worried about the Fayetteville defense all year but it has a strong defensive line and seems to stand up when needed the most and do what it has to do to win games.

Bentonville is a complete team that can beat you running the ball, throwing the ball, or with their defense.

I had to really reach deep for an edge when looking at these teams.  When a team like Fayetteville goes into the championship game undefeated, sometimes it’s because it is making things go its way. Notice I said it is making things go its way, not just that things have gone its way. I believe that is what Casey Dick’s team is doing this year, especially lately, and I think the Purple Dogs bring the 7A trophy back to Fayetteville.

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