Class 4A Week 15 Rankings, Notes & Picks

Class 4A Week 15 Rankings, Notes & Picks

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Class 4A, Week 15, 2018
Copyright Hooten Publishing, Inc. 
1. Joe T. Robinson (12-2)
2. Arkadelphia (9-5)
3. Shiloh Christian (12-2)
4. Dumas (12-2)
5. Rivercrest (11-2)
6. Nashville (10-3)
7. Ozark (9-3)
8. Stuttgart (10-2)
9. Warren (9-2)
10. Bauxite (9-3)
11. Helena (9-3)
12. Mena (8-4)
13. Dardanelle (9-3)
14. Heber Springs (7-5)
15. Hamburg (8-4)
16. Lonoke (6-6)
17. Trumann (7-4)
18. Elkins (7-4)
19. Pea Ridge (7-4)
20. Lincoln (8-3)
21. Prairie Grove (5-6)
22. Gosnell (5-6)
23. Pottsville (5-6)
24. Jonesboro Westside (7-4)
25. CAC (5-6)
26. Southside Batesville (6-5)
27. Fountain Lake (6-5)
28. Star City (4-7)
29. Pocahontas (4-7)
30. Gentry (3-8)
31. Harmony Grove Haskell (5-5)
32. Bald Knob (4-6)
33. Crossett (2-8)
34. De Witt (4-6)
35. Ashdown (3-7)
36. Berryville (4-6)
37. Riverview (2-8)
38. Brookland (2-8)
39. Dover (2-8)
40. Gravette (1-9)
41. Waldron (2-8)
42. Cave City (1-9)
43. Highland (1-9)
44. Subiaco Academy (1-9)
45. Monticello (0-10)
46. Malvern (0-10)
47. Mills (0-10)
48. Green Forest (1-9)

A rematch from Week 5, when Joe T. Robinson swelled a 13-7 halftime advantage into a 42-14 decision. Arkadelphia hasn't lost since, winning nine straight games after a disastrous 0-5 start. The Badgers, relegated to the No. 3 seed after the rocky start, have bounced Warren, Stuttgart and Shiloh Christian the past three weeks and they try to become the first team in state history to beat four No. 1 seeds in the playoffs.
The Badger turnaround coincides with defensive improvement. The Badgers give up just 6.8 points during the streak. Arkadelphia's swarming defensive front constantly harassed Shiloh Christian's quarterbacks in last week's 30-17 semifinal victory. Led by senior lineman Keaundre Dawson (6-0, 295) and juniors Jayson Campbell and Rickey Rogers, Jr., the Badger first-team defense has given up just two touchdowns in four playoff games. Junior linebacker Kyren Harrison paces the Badgers this fall with more than 90 tackles, while senior safety Carlos Haynie had an interception and punt return to set up touchdowns at Shiloh Christian. Opposing coaches say senior cornerback Victor Tademy clamps one side of the field and rarely gets beat in coverage. Another key component in the postseason is junior quarterback Cannon Turner playing more defense.
The Badgers have won games this fall with strong special teams. Senior Gabe Goodman kicked two field goals, five extra points and placed every kickoff in the end zone against Warren in the second round of the playoffs. He hit a 25-yard field goal against Shiloh Christian.
Turner struggled passing early in the season (41 percent during the five-game losing streak). But he's delivered timely completions in the playoffs, and often beats defenses with his feet. Turner went 46 yards for the first TD in the quarterfinals at Stuttgart and bulled 2 yards for the first score at Shiloh Christian. Senior Zion Hatley has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season. Hatley capped the semifinal win with clinching 22-yard TD scamper with 4:53 left. Harrison has developed into a threat at running back in the playoffs, after focusing on defense early in the year.
Joe T. Robinson plays in its second state title game (beat De Queen 26-6 in 1980) after rallying past Dumas 24-20 a week ago. The Senators trailed 14-7 at intermission but surrendered less than 100 yards in the second half. The Senator defense has allowed just one first-half TD since Week 9. Senior safety Isaac Dubose paces Joe T. Robinson with 120 tackles, including 16 against Dumas. Dubose posted stops against run-heavy Harmony Grove Haskell and 20 tackles against Bauxite. Senior Mekel Kentel has 71 tackles, while senior ends Zach Williams (97 tackles, 17 sacks) and Davis Wofford (90 tackles, five sacks) are hard to handle up front. Williams will play next season at Arkansas, while Wofford plans to play at Army.
Kentel and senior Tyler Jones are the workhorses for a Joe T. Robinson offense that averages 39 points and 370 yards weekly. Kentle ran 21 times for 144 yards and Jones had 133 yards against Dumas. Kentle moved from receiver to running back after the starter was injured in September, and he has 102 carries this year for 1,115 yards and 18 TDs, while Jones has 128 carries for 839 yards and 13 TDs. The explosive Kentle also has 31 catches for 538 yards and seven TDs, and he returned a punt 42 yards for a TD at Harmony Grove Haskell. Senior Traveon James paces the Senators with 36 receptions for 787 yards and 13 TDs. Senior QB Greyson Tackett has completed 95 of 178 passes (53 percent) for 1,654 yards and 22 TDs with six interceptions.
Opposing coaches believe the title game could be low scoring. “Joe T. Robinson is so physical and you are beat up after playing them,” Nashville coach Mike Volarvich says. “Arkadelphia's defense is solid agains the run. They can man up on you and bring pressure. On offense, Arkadelphia runs it well and gives you a lot of movement on offense.”

LAST WEEK correctly predicted one of two semifinals last week. has predicted 239 of 278 games this year (86 percent).

WEEK 15 PREDICTIONS (favored team in ALL CAPS)
ARKADELPHIA (1) vs. Joe T. Robinson

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