Unexpectedly, the 2013 Central High School Cougars almost over night have become playoff contenders in the always rugged 5A Central Conference. There will be a playoff atmosphere in the air for the Central faithful that travel to Jacksonville this Friday night.
Unexpectedly, the 2013 Central High School Cougars almost over night have become playoff contenders in the always rugged 5A Central Conference. There will be a playoff atmosphere in the air for the Central faithful that travel to Jacksonville this Friday night. If the Cougars are successful against the winless North Pulaski Falcons not only will their season record improve to 5-3 but Central also will boast a 4-1 conference mark with just two games left to play. The Falcons are 0-7 overall and 0-4 in the 5A Central. North Pulaski's hometown rivals, the Jacksonville Red Devils shut out the Falcons a week ago by a 36-0 score. Central jumped out to a 20-0 lead over the highly favored Sylvan Hills Bears and never looked back en route to a 28-19 stunning upset last weekend. Quarterback Curley Brewer ran for two touchdowns, threw for another and clicked on a pair of successful 2-point conversion passes for the Cougars. Keyshawn Simpson hauled in Brewer's TD toss and Anthony Lewis hauled in one of the 2-point conversion pass and Malik Arnett caught the other. Fullback Keith Hayes scored Central's other touchdown on the ground. Defensively, the Cougars bent frequently but refused to break. Aswad Allen had a big interception and returned a punt return 47 yards to set up one of the Cougars' scores. They never trailed in the contest. North Pulaski has won only five games in the past seven years. Central won last season's meeting 20-6 at Cad Polk Stadium. The Falcons were one of the Cougars' two victories they notched in 2012. Barton is seeking to extend its perfect season record to 8-0, 4-0 as they travel to Little Rock to take on the Episcopal Wildcats, 6-1, 3-1. The Wildcats are coming off a 48-12 win over the Bald Knob Bulldogs last Friday evening. The Bears maintained their No. 3 spot in the Associated Press' Class 3A high school football poll by pounding the Mayflower Eagles into submission by a lopsided 56-19 score. Episcopal will have their hands full trying to contain speedy running back Cameron Anderson. Anderson scored three times, twice on runs of 95 or more yards. If Anderson is not inflicting the damage, running backs Chajobie Fulcher and Quinton Simmons manage to find their way into the enemy's end zone. Quarterback Laquarius Hall is also quite an offensive weapon – having tossed eight TD passes over a 3-week period. Episcopal finished 4-7 in 2012 and were quickly dispatched from the playoffs by Prescott by an overwhelming 52-16 score. The squad does have some experience with eight returning starters on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They also have some speed. The Wildcats are a young team but lack size. The Bears won last year's meeting at Barton by a 38-21 score. The 2013 schedule doesn't get any easier for the winless Marvell Mustangs, 0-7, 0-4. This week they travel to Carlisle to take on a herd of Bison that are undefeated at 7-0, 4-0. Carlisle whipped the Hazen Hornets 40-12 last Friday night while the Brinkley Tigers hung the Mustangs out to dry at 36-0. The Bison are a perennial playoff participant. They rolled past Mount Ida, 39-14 and East Poinsett County, 37-26 before being edged by Mineral Springs, 22-21 in the 2012 playoffs. The Bison are defending Conference 6-2A champions. They have plenty of experience on both sides of the football with nine returners on offense and seven on defense. Carlisle won last year's meeting at Marvell, 60-0. All kickoffs are set for 7 p.m.