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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Bears, Mustangs to face off in playoffs' second round

  • Hoxie's Mustangs had almost no problem winning their opening round contest in the Class 3-A high school playoffs. The Mustangs trampled the Elkins Elks by an overwhelming 54-0 score.
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  • Hoxie's Mustangs had almost no problem winning their opening round contest in the Class 3-A high school playoffs. The Mustangs trampled the Elkins Elks by an overwhelming 54-0 score. The same can't be said of the Barton Bears who were taken down to the wire by the Lamar Warriors, 26-24. The teams matched other in touchdowns. It took a pair of successful Justin Wilson extra point kicks to lift the Bears over the Warriors. Entering Friday night's second round of the playoffs, the Mustangs and Bears are ranked numbers 4 and 5 respectively in the latest Class 3-A Associated Press Arkansas High School football poll. Barton quarterback Laquiarus Hall pitched three touchdown passes against Lamar – two to Chajobie Fulcher and another to Justice Cole. Fulcher scored the Bears' other touchdown on the ground. Barton's offense can be quite explosive at times as Hall's TD pass to Cole covered 64 yards. Another of the Bears' speedy backs, Cameron Anderson, had to sit out last week's game with an injury. Cole is also a big play man on defense. Against Lamar, he picked off his 29th career interception, adding to his record-setting totals for an Arkansas high school football player. In case you might think Hoxie's destruction of Elkins was done with smoke and mirrors, think again. The Mustangs extended their winning streak to 11. They not only defeated their opponents, they steamrolled them. On successive Friday nights, Hoxie defeated Harrisburg, 49-7; Piggott, 47-7; Corning, 42-14; and Manila 48-0. Quarterback Cole Sears, who is equally effective on the ground and through the air, leads the Mustangs' offensive attack. Senior running back Jacob Henson pounds out the yardage on the ground. Also an all-conference performer, Henson is a top-flight receiver with excellent hands. Hoxie is using the same recipe that produced conference titles in 2004 and 2008 – experience and leadership. The veteran squad has nine returning starters on offense and 10 on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. If the Mustangs' have an Achilles heal, it just might be the kicking game. If the game comes down to being decided by a kick, Barton might very well hold an edge with Wilson. Last season, Hoxie finished a modest 6-4, tied for third in the Class 3-3A Conference. They also had troubles against the Lamar Warriors in the opening round, 21-18 – note by losing the kicking game. The winner of Friday night's matchup will advance to the quarterfinals and battle the winner of the Fordyce-Earle matchup.

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