CAMDEN By PATRIC FLANNIGAN
One of the most intriguing things about the playoffs are the possibilities of first meetings between school. Even more intriguing however, is when two schools get to play each other for the third time in a matter of six years.
Camden Fairview (6-4, 5-2) will travel to play the Wynne Yellowjackets (6-4, 52) on Friday in the first round of the 5A State Playoffs.
The Cardinals enter the game as the No. 3 seed for the South and Wynne represents the East as the No. 2 seed.
The two teams first met in the playoffs in 2012 when C.F. defeated Wynne 34-21 before going on to win its first 5A State Championship a week later. The two met again in 2015, when Wynne dismantled the Cardinals 48-14. Both contest were played in Wynne.
While the two teams met for the first time in 2012, it wasn’t the first meeting between C.F. and Wynne’s current head coach, Van Paschal. He was the head coach of the 2009 Monticello Billies that defeated C.F. in that year’s state title game, 38-7.
The Cardinals and Yellowjackets share a couple of similarities - the same conference and overall record, both having gone through coaching changes since its last meeting, both playing in overtime games this season and getting off to 1-2 starts. But there is one major difference: Experience.
C.F. has over 30 seniors on its roster and Wynne didn’t even return a starter on offense from its conference winning team a year ago. The Yellowjackets only returned two starters on defense.
Despite the new faces, Wynne is averaging about 25 points per game and giving up 21 points per game.
The team is led by 6’3 junior fullback Allen Watson. Watson lines up all over the field from slot back to wide receiver and even at quarterback. He’s is most dangerous when he is in the backfield where he can use his size and 4.6 speed to get outside. Junior Quarterback Holden Parker is also sharp mentally and is a proven winner leading the JV squad to a 6-1 record last year. Terrian Harris leads the Yellowjacket defense from the end where he has 4.7 speed and thrives in third and long situations where he can pin his ears back.
C.F. enters the contest after losing to Little Rock McClellan last week, 34-6. Wynne runs a similar style of offense. While it is labeled as a “multiple” offense, it places its emphasis on the triple option attack. However, Wynne is not as fast or as big as LRM and they will look to pass the ball more often. C.F.’s defense played well considering the short field LRM had because of a couple of CF turnovers.
After last week’s game, C.F. Coach Jake Monden said that his team would look forward to playing a team with a offense to LRM and that the squad will have to get back clicking offensively. He said that he believes his team is confident and will be able to do some big things in the playoffs.
C.F. will have a pep rally for the Cardinals at 9 a.m. on Friday at the band parking lot at the high school.