Wednesday, November 04, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Local teams’ postseason set

Leader sports editor

A lot of football playoff positions are still yet to be settled around the state, but most of the local teams already know where they will be when the postseason begins Friday, Nov. 13. Only Lonoke’s fate hasn’t been settled, and the Jackrabbits play a win-and-your-in game this Thursday at Riverview.

The winner of that game will get the five seed from the 4A-2 Conference and will travel to Gosnell in the first round of the playoffs. The loser’s season is over.


Jacksonville and Cabot will be sitting at home when the playoffs begin, but not for the same reason. The Red Devils can’t make the playoffs even with a win over McClellan on Friday, while the undefeated Panthers have already clinched a one seed and a first-round bye in the Class 7A playoffs.

Cabot travels to Searcy on Friday to play another meaningless conference game against a 6A opponent, but it will be important for the Panthers to shore up a defense that was torched for 540 yards and 53 points at Jonesboro last week.

The Panthers’ offense continued to produce, piling up 512 total yards, and the team continued to find other ways to score. Cabot looked good on special teams when Jonesboro kicked deep, but was poor at covering onside kicks.

Jonesboro scored three quick touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, aided by two successful onside kicks. That’s how the Hurricanes turned a game on the verge of a blowout into a nail-biter. Cabot led 55-31 at the end of the third, but that lead was down to two points with seven minutes remaining.

Cabot senior Holdyn Barnes got his third kickoff return for a touchdown at Jonesboro, and also returned a recovered fumble for a score. He has scored six non-offensive touchdowns this season.

Searcy has also shown a knack for scoring points this year, though not at the same rate as Jonesboro. The Lions’ lowest point total of the year was 14 against Little Rock Central in the conference opener. They have scored at least four touchdowns in every other game. Last week, Searcy (6-3, 3-3) plowed through Mountain Home 61-26 and has scored 49 points or more two other times this year.

Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Cabot will wait for Friday’s outcomes to see whom it might play in the second round of the playoffs in two weeks. The Panthers are set to play the winner between the West four seed and the Central three seed.

Both of those spots will be determined in head-to-head matchups this Friday. Catholic faces Van Buren for the Central three seed, while Fort Smith Northside’s rivalry game with Fort Smith Southside is for the West four seed.


Carlisle’s game against McCrory this Thursday will probably not affect the 2A-6 playoff picture. McCrory is the No. 1 seed win or lose. The only way the Bison can jump from the five seed they already have locked up to a four seed is for two upsets to occur. Carlisle must beat the undefeated Jaguars, and the winless Marvell Mustangs must defeat Brinkley. Most likely, the Bison are headed for Hackett, the 2A-4 runner-up, in the first round of the playoffs.


In an unusual turn of events, the 5A-Central Conference playoffs slots are completely set with a game left to play. Pulaski Academy is the one seed; McClellan, Beebe and Sylvan Hills follow in that order, no matter what happens Friday.

Beebe is off this week due to its scheduled game against North Pulaski. Even if Sylvan Hills beats PA and/or Jacksonville beats McClellan, every tiebreaker scenario still comes out to the same order of placement. The only thing that could change is that McClellan could share the conference championship if it wins and PA loses.

The 5A-Central is matched up with the West in the first round of the playoffs, and almost nothing is set there. Little Rock Christian Academy is the one seed and will host Sylvan Hills in the first round of the playoffs.

Morrilton is in as the two or the three seed. Everything else will be settled this week. If Greenbrier beats Vilonia, the Panthers are the two seed, Morrilton is the three and Harrison is the four.

If Vilonia wins, Greenbrier is most likely out. Morrilton is the two seed, Vilonia the three and Harrison four.

If Farmington upsets Harrison or Clarksville upsets Morrilton, then deep tiebreaker scenarios come into play.