The Barton Bears enter Friday night's contest against the Rose Bud Ramblers ranked No. 3 in Class 3A in the latest Associated Press Arkansas high school football poll.
The Bears are coming off back-to-back shutouts – 33-0 over Des Arc and 45-0 over Clarendon – after encountering a close call with the DeWitt Dragons in which they managed to escape with a 38-29 win. Friday marks the opening of Conference 2-3A play at Rose Bud.
Barton won easily on its home turf a season ago by a lopsided 41-14 score. Rose Bud is 2-1 following a 28-14 victory over Conway Christian last Friday evening. Previously, the Ramblers defeated Marshall, 44-6 after falling to Hazen 46-13 on opening night.
Despite lousy weather and poor field conditions, the Bears were able to score on some big plays. There were plenty of heroes in the contest including quarterback Laquarius Hall, who ran 38 yards for one score and tossed a 10-yard scoring strike to Justice Cole for another. Cameron Anderson had three touchdown runs of 11, 5 and 36 yards. Running back Chajobie Fulcher added another.
Rose Bud sported a respectable 4-5 record a year ago, good enough for a tie for sixth place in the conference. The team returns nine starters on offense and eight on the defensive side of the football.
The Ramblers have never appeared in the playoffs.
The Wynne Yellowjackets may have had the stingers but they were the ones that stung at Cad Polk Stadium. While rain conditions kept most of the Cougar faithful at home, the Central defense showed up determined to play. An impressive goal line stance turned back Wynne's opening drive.
Trailing 13-6 at halftime, Wynne had to put two scores on the board late to pull out the win.
Central's big play of the night came on a 57-yard scoring pass from quarterback Curley Brewer to Markease Williams.
Favored to finish in the runner up position in the rugged 5A Central Conference, the Jacksonville Red Devils begin conference action Friday night with a disappointing 1-2 record, having lost their first two games – Cabot, 42-0 and Benton 31-21 – before defeating Maumelle 27-20 last Friday.
The Red Devils finished 2012 at 6-5 and tied for second in the conference. They are slightly inexperienced on offense, having only five returning starters. Eight veterans line up defensively.
Jacksonville made a brief playoff appea