In Northside's previous game at Mayo-Thompson Stadium, the Grizzlies had minimal trouble putting away Van Buren in the opening round of last season's 7A playoffs.
When the Grizzlies return to their home field Friday after starting the season with two straight road games, they will have a rematch against the Pointers. Unlike their recent games against one another including last year's playoff, it may be a far different result this time around.
"I've told our guys, as far as accomplishments, beating somebody in the past has been nothing," Northside coach Mike Falleur said. "All the stuff in the past, however many games we've played Van Buren and won, doesn't mean a thing, all that matters is right now, and if we can't figure that out, then that streak (against the Pointers) will end real fast.
"And we may play extremely well and still not beat them; they're a good football team, so we've got a huge task in front of us."
The Pointers have started strong out of the gate for first-year coach Crosby Tuck with decisive wins against Siloam Springs and Alma. Van Buren is seeking to go 3-0 for the first time since the 2010 season.
"The thing I really like right now is I feel like these first two games, I feel like we've been able to keep our energy and our intensity up for all four quarters," Tuck said. "I think that's really been the big thing for us to try to break through with our guys how important that is and to be involved with such an emotional roller-coaster of a football game and being able to keep their heads level and all that, so I think that's a big piece of it for us."
But at the same time, Tuck realizes that for the Pointers to get to 3-0, they will have to pass a huge test in the form of the Grizzlies. Van Buren hasn't defeated Northside since 2002 and have given up at least 35 points the last eight times the Pointers have played the Grizzlies.
"I think their defensive line and their linebackers are great players, and I think our pass protection will be important to keep their guys off our quarterback and they'll be a handful; they've got some really good players up there," Tuck said. "Even though they lost some really good players in those spots from last year, it's not a big drop-off, they've got some of the same guys back and then got some new guys in there that have already stood out."
Tuck also knows that the Grizzlies have dominated the series against Van Buren in the past. But he sees Friday's game as a chance for the Pointers to make their own history and reverse that trend.
"They definitely have (had the upper hand), and I think it's a good opportunity for our guys after the 2-0 start to really be able to make a statement if we can get past Northside and get to that 3-0 mark," Tuck said. "I think that would be a big win for the program and for these guys."
Falleur is impressed with the Pointers' collection of skill players, including quarterback Gary Phillips, tailback Brayden Rivas and receivers Jude Bartholomew and Jaiden Henry.
"They'll have as good skill guys as we've played to this date, so it will be a challenge for us," Falleur said.
"They're playing with a lot of confidence, they're kind of playing with a little chip on their shoulder and they've got something to prove. ... I'm sure there's nothing they would love more than to come over here and do the same thing."
The Grizzlies are just as eager to bounce back from last week's loss to Greenwood, a game in which they were outscored by the Bulldogs 25-0 in the second half.
"We've got to worry about us; we've got to learn how to play and if we continue to play the way we have, then it will be a lot closer (than the recent series against Van Buren), maybe the other way," Falleur said.
One player who may be counted on to have a big game Friday for the Grizzlies is senior receiver Jackson King. In the playoff win against Van Buren last season, King scored three total touchdowns.