CAMDEN For the third consecutive year, all three Ouachita County teams have made it to the state playoffs. All games are set to kickoff at 7 p.m. on Friday. The lone home game will be between the Harmony Grove Hornets and the Mansfield Tigers.
Hornets vs. Tigers
The Harmony Grove Hornets (8-2, 6-1) and are the No. 2 seed out of the 5-3A and will host the No. 3 seed out of the 1-3A in the Mansfield Tigers at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Mansfield is coached by third year head coach Craig Bentley and is scoring 36 points per game while allowing 26 points per game in its 3-3 stack defense. This is only the third year the Tigers have advanced to the playoffs since 2011.
Led by Ethan Stoval on offense who is completing 66 percent of his passes for over 2,100 yards and 28 touchdowns. He’s also the teams leading rusher with over 320 yards. Mansfield’s leading receiver, Layton Howard, is five yards away from a 1,000 yard reception season.
The Hornets lead the conference in scoring with 456 total points — only second to Harding Academy (501) in the entire 3A classification.
Cardinals vs. Warriors
The Camden Fairview (6-4, 5-2) are the co-runner ups of the 5A South but represent the conference as the fourth seed. The Cardinals will travel to Little Rock to play the Little Rock Christian Academy Warriors (10-0, 7-0) on Friday.
The Warriors are led by third year head coach Eric Cohu and return seven starters on offense and six on defense from a 5A state championship campaign in 2018.
CF played LRCA in conference from 2008-2011. The Cardinals lead the series 3-1, with its only loss coming in the first game between the two. Since then, the Cardinals have outscored the Warriors 140-47 over their last three meetings.
LRCA is known for its high-powered offense that is averaging 49.5 points per game this season. The team utilizes a spread attack with capable wide receivers and all-state running back Kendel Givens in the backfield.
The Warriors are giving up 18.9 points per game in 3-4 alignment on defense and have several players that stand over 6’1” who play well in the passing lanes.
CF plans to have starting quarterback Logan Robertson back for the game against LRCA after he sat out last week recovering from an injury. Erik Hall also saw limited carries last week because of an injury and is hoping to be back at full strength.
The Cardinals defense held McClellan — the second most potent offense in the conference behind Lakeside with 325 points — to just 12 points last week on the road.
Bears vs. Eagles
The Bearden Bears (2-7, 1-4) are the fifth seeds from the 8-2A conference. The Bears will travel to play Des Arc (7-2, 6-0) — the No. 1 seed from the 6-2A conference.
This is the first year for both Bearden’s Greg Anthony) and Des Arc’s Tyler Paschal at the helm of their selective schools. The Bears enter the game off of one of their best performances of the season, defeating Strong 30-6.
Des Arc was picked by Hootens to come in third in conference but went undefeated in the 6-2A to grab the top spot. Paschal is using a flexbone formation that has made the Eagles one of the more physical teams in the conference rushing for nearly 3,500 yards. The Eagles are averaging 38 points per game in a backfield led by Jackson Morton (1,075 yards) Cooper Roberts (800) and C.J. Conway (700).
The Eagles line up in a 4-2-5 on defense and are only allowing 14 points per game.
The last time the Bears played Des Arc was in a semifinal playoff game on the road in rainy conditions. The Eagles were able to take advantage of the home field and win the game 8-0 in 2013.