Barton is Phillips County's only remaining undefeated high school football team. The Bears, 6-0, 3-0, will get their toughest test to date this Friday night when they host the Mayflower Eagles at Frank McClellan Field.
The Eagles also boast an unblemished 2-3A Conference record. Something will have to give. Mayflower's lone loss of the season came at the hands of the Dardanelle Sand Lizards by a 52-41 score back on Sept. 13.
More than one player handles the scoring chores for the Bears. Quarterback Laquarius Hall has been on a roll, having thrown seven touchdown passes in the past two games. One of his favorite targets is Justice Cole, who is also a terror on defense from the Bears' secondary. Running backs Cameron Anderson, Quinton Simmons and Chajobie Fulcher also ring up the points on the scoreboard.
Barton gobbled up the Perryville Mustangs 42-0 as the main course of their homecoming meal. Like the Bears, Mayflower ran roughshod over the Riverview Raiders by a lopsided, 54-14 score.
With 9 returning starters on both sides of the line of scrimmage, Mayflower has plenty of experience to draw from – particularly in the skill positions and the offensive line. The Eagles are within one win of equaling last year's victory total of six. The Eagles advanced to the second round of the playoffs after tying for third place in the conference. They nipped Yellville-Summit 42-35 in the opening round and were clipped 69-24 at the hands of the Prescott Curley Wolves in the second round.
Both teams appear to be a lock for the playoffs. A victory would be key to the all important playoff bracket seeding.
Barton won last year's meeting at Mayflower, 55-39.
Central simply stunned and overwhelmed Little Rock McClellan, 48-6 last Friday night. The win evened the Cougars overall record at 3-3 but more importantly put them at 2-1 in the 5A Central Conference. A victory over the Sylvan Hills Bears would definitely put the Cougars in the thick of the playoff hunt.
The Cougars scored nearly every time they touched the pigskin. Quarterback Curley Brewer tossed a couple of TD passes including a 65-yarder on the first play from scrimmage to Jordan Cooper. Anthony Lewis also had a 65-yard punt return for a score and running back Keith Hayes pounded the ball into the end zone on a couple of occasions.
Sylvan Hills posted a 25-16 victory over Jacksonville last Friday night. The Bears enter Friday's contest against the Cougars at Cad Polk Stadium with a 5-1 mark overall and 3-0 in the conference. There only loss was to the Newport Greyhounds 30-13 on Sept. 20.
Last year the Bears finished with a 5-6 record and a fourth place finish in the 5A Central. They fell to Greenbrier 48-21 in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs.
Page 2 of 2 - The Bears returned to the gridiron in 2013 with seven returning starters on offense and eight on defense. Sylvan Hills has plenty of team speed but not a whole lot of depth.
Central lost 33-14 last season at Sylvan Hills.
Marvell, 0-6, 0-3, is on the road again, this week at Brinkley. The Tigers also are winless at 0-6, 0-3. The winner will avoid the basement of the 6-2A Conference.
Brinkley's 3-8 record in 2012 put them in a tie for fifth place in the conference. They dropped their first round playoff game to Bigelow by a score of 20-6.
The Tigers have six returning starters on offense and nine on defense. Team speed and experience appear to be the team's strengths but they lack depth on both lines.
In other games, DeSoto, 7-1, 3-1, hopes to rebound following last week's disappointing shut out loss to Winona Christian, 21-0. The T-Birds will take on the West Memphis Christian Black Knights, 4-4, 2-1 at Sam Howe Field.
Marvell Academy, 1-5, 0-4, will host the Strider Academy Rams, 0-7, 0-4, following an open week.
All kickoffs are set for 7 p.m.