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See who's No. 1 in Hooten's preseason rankings

Posted: August 29, 2014 - 6:30pm

Class 7A, Week 1

1. Bentonville

2. Fayetteville

3. North LR

4. Conway

5. FS Northside

6. Cabot

7. Springdale Har-Ber

8. LR Central

9. FS Southside

10. Bryant

11. Rogers

12. LR Catholic

13. Springdale

14. West Memphis

15. Rogers Heritage

16. Van Buren

7A/6A Central

Cabot at CONWAY (6): Cabot won this matchup 23-9 on its way to the state finals last year, but the Panthers graduated eight starters on offense and five on defense. Cabot returns safety Jake Ferguson, a college prospect, but lacks depth on both lines. Cabot was voted to finish third in East by conference coaches. Conway is the coaches’ pick to win the Central conference and opens the season ranked No. 4 in Class 7A. It’s the Wampus Cats highest preseason ranking in the coach Clint Ashcraft era. Conway returns nine regulars on a offense that scored 31.6 points per Friday a year ago. The Wampus Cats lost in the semis at Bentonville 21-14 last November.

Benton vs. BRYANT (11): Benton chases its first winning season this fall in nine years. First-year defensive coordinator Brad Harris inherits seven returning starters, including senior safety Stone Paul (80 tackles in 2013), senior linebacker Tim Dezort (90 tackles) and senior end Garrett Taylor (35 tackles). Bryant beat Benton 42-28 in last year’s annual Salt Bowl. The Hornets held six of their last seven opponents to six points per game. Coach Paul Calley expects this year’s defense to be just as good, if not better.

NORTH LR (14) vs. LR Catholic: It’s the first of six regular-season games at War Memorial Stadium for North LR. The Charging Wildcats await a new stadium next year. Third-ranked North LR welcomes back K.J. Hill, the state’s most electrifying player. D.J. Brown, who rushed for 1,017 yards at Catholic in 2013, transferred to North LR on the Monday after spring break in March.

Van Buren at WHITE HALL (2): The addition of speedy skill players over the summer and transfer tackle Nick Houston (6-6, 320), a two-year starter and college prospect from Greenwood, makes Van Buren better. White Hall has won at least eight games four of the past five seasons. Bulldog senior QB Kirk Baugh generated more than 2,700 yards last season. Van Buren has won six games over the past three seasons.

Class 6A, Week 1

1. Greenwood

2. Pine Bluff

3. El Dorado

4. Jonesboro

5. Lake Hamilton

6. Benton

7. Russellville

8. Alma

9. LR Parkview

10. Texarkana

11. Siloam Springs

12. Searcy

13. Marion

14. Mountain Home

15. Sheridan

16. LR Hall

Class 5A, Week 1

1. Wynne

2. Pulaski Academy

3. Camden Fairview

4. Batesville

5. Greenbrier

6. Hope

7. Sylvan Hills

8. White Hall

9. Beebe

10. Morrilton

11. Mills

12. Watson Chapel

13. Harrison

14. Forrest City

15. Magnolia

16. LR Christian

17. Nettleton

18. Vilonia

19. HS Lakeside

20. Jacksonville

21. Greene Co. Tech

22. Valley View

23. Maumelle

24. Hot Springs

25. Clarksville

26. LR McClellan

27. Paragould

28. De Queen

29. Farmington

30. Blytheville

31. LR Fair

32. North Pulaski

5A WEST

Morrilton at RUSSELLVILLE (7): Russellville has beaten Morrilton seven of the past eight seasons, including a 15-point triumph last fall. Defending Class 5A champ Morrilton returns linebackers Trey Blakley (86 tackles in 2013) and Cyrus McKaskle.

Beebe at GREENBRIER (7) (Tue.): Greenbrier has won four straight over Beebe, including the past two by a combined 96-38. Beebe junior fullback Tripp Smith ran for 1,938 yards and 25 TDs last year. Greenbrier QB’s Will Drewry and Harold Ross combined for 3,059 yards and 29 TDs in 2013.

Mountain Home at HARRISON (8): Harrison has won five of the past eight in the series, including a 37-point bombing last fall. Mountain Home enters with a 20-game losing streak. First-year coach David Joyce led Colorado Springs (Doherty), Colo., to eight wins last fall.

SYLVAN HILLS (8) at Vilonia: The Bears’ 15-point win over Vilonia last year snapped a three-game losing streak in the series. Sylvan Hills returns senior QB Tra Doss (2,200 yards, 23 TDs last year). Vilonia operated in the Double Wing.

Farmington at PRAIRIE GROVE (7): These teams have split the past eight meetings, but they are no longer part of the same conference after Farmington bumps to Class 5A. Farmington junior Justice Hobbs ran for 905 yards last year. Prairie Grove senior running back Bobby Catt generated almost 1,000 yards last season, and junior tight end Dylan Soehner (6-6, 265) could develop into a Division I prospect.e Wing scheme most of the summer.

Maumelle at JACKSONVILLE (2): Jacksonville ditches longtime rival Cabot as its season-opener in favor of the Hornets, whom it beat 27-20 Week 3 last season. Former Red Devil assistant Barry Hickingbotham took over as head coach in May.

Class 4A, Week 1

1. Warren

2. Malvern

3. Dollarway

4. Lonoke

5. Nashville

6. Star City

7. Newport

8. Gosnell

9. Hamburg

10. West Helena

11. Highland

12. Shiloh Christian

13. Dardanelle

14. Prairie Grove

15. Arkadelphia

16. Pulaski Robinson

17. Ashdown

18. Clinton

19. CAC

20. Pottsville

21. Mena

22. Gravette

23. Pocahontas

24. Monticello

25. Heber Springs

26. Stuttgart

27. Ozark

28. Fountain Lake

29. Dumas

30. Pea Ridge

31. Huntsville

32. Jonesboro Westside

33. DeWitt

34. Dover

35. Berryville

36. Cave City

37. Lincoln

38. Crossett

39. Harrisburg

40. Subiaco Academy

41. Bauxite

42. Southside Batesville

43. Arkansas Baptist

44. Trumann

45. Gentry

46. Brookland

47. Waldron

48. Riverview

Class 3A, Week 1

1. Booneville

2. Charleston

3. Harding Academy

4. Lamar

5. Glen Rose

6. Smackover

7. Episcopal

8. Prescott

9. Rivercrest

10. Hoxie

11. Paris

12. Fordyce

13. Mayflower

14. McGehee

15. Barton

16. Lavaca

17. C. Harmony Grove

18. Mansfield

19. Atkins

20. Fouke

21. West Fork

22. Osceola

23. Melbourne

24. Jessieville

25. Elkins

26. Corning

27. Greenland

28. Bald Knob

29. Danville

30. B. Harmony Grove

31. Mountain View

32. Green Forest

33. Cedarville

34. Two Rivers

35. Centerpoint

36. Horatio

37. Piggott

38. Marianna

39. Lake Village

40. Perryville

41. Bismarck

42. Rose Bud

43. Marshall

44. Yellville-Summit

45. Genoa Central

46. Manila

47. Cedar Ridge

48. Drew Central

2-3A

MARIANNA (1) at Augusta: Marianna has won two games over the past three seasons, including a 20-18 victory at Stuttgart Week 10 last year. Augusta lost its last four games after a 54-52 win in five overtimes over Marked Tree.

Bald Knob at DES ARC (3): Bald Knob has won 10 games over the past three seasons. The Bulldogs return starters at 16 positions, including senior QB Grant Glaze. Des Arc pushed 2-3A member Harding Academy Week 3 last year in a 12-0 loss before reaching the Class 2A championship game.

BARTON (42) at Marvell: Nine miles on Highway 49 in Phillips County separate these schools. Barton has won 30 games over the past three years. Marvell beat Palestine-Wheatley 22-12 Week 10 last year for its first victory since 2010. Marvell coach Jessie McGruder played for Barton in the mid 1990s.

Perryville at BIGELOW (2): Perryville has beaten Bigelow six of the past seven years, including 28-12 a year ago.

Dumas at MAYFLOWER (10): Mayflower has defeated Dumas by an average of 24 points the past two years. Senior QB Adam Dycus has passed for 8,896 yards and 98 TDs in his career. Other leaders on offense include senior receivers Josh Woodham (1,438 yards, 20 TDs in 2013) and Trey Lasker, senior RB Justin Bailey (1,020 yards, 11 TDs) and senior lineman Riley Norman.

Quitman at ROSE BUD (8): Both teams debut with a new head coach. Less than 24 players practiced in August for both squads. Quitman’s sophomores, led by athletic QB Trey McGhee, went 7-2 in junior high last year. First-year Rose Bud coach Kevin Coleman installed the Dead T over the summer, featuring senior fullback Caleb Ferren (school-record 1,490 yards and 14 TDs in 2013). Senior tackle Dustin Swint and senior tight end Sam McGrand lead up front.

Hootens.com Rankings

Class 2A, Week 1

1. Junction City

2. Bearden

3. Earle

4. Rison

5. E. Poinsett County

6. Carlisle

7. Gurdon

8. Hazen

9. Dierks

10. Des Arc

11. Hector

12. Magnet Cove

13. Mount Ida

14. Strong

15. Conway Christian

16. England

17. McCrory

18. Woodlawn

19. Walnut Ridge

20. Cross County

21. Bigelow

22. Marked Tree

23. Murfreesboro

24. Parkers Chapel

25. Salem

26. Hampton

27. Mountainburg

28. Palestine-Wheatley

29. Lafayette County

30. Poyen

31. Spring Hill

32. Hackett

33. Brinkley

34. Decatur

35. Mineral Springs

36. Magazine

37. Quitman

38. Cutter M. Star

39. Foreman

40. Augusta

41. Hermitage

42. Union Christian

43. J.C. Westside

44. W. Yell County

45. Clarendon

46. Mountain Pine

47. Midland

48. Marvell

49. Hartford

50. Rector

5-2A

Perryville at BIGELOW (2): Class 3A Perryville has beaten Bigelow six of the past seven years, including 28-12 a year ago. Team speed is at an all-time high for No. 21 Bigelow where senior B.J. Akridge has developed into a leader on the offensive line, while All-5-2A LB Damarcus Grider enjoyed a great spring and summer.

Quitman at ROSE BUD (8): Both teams debut with a new head coach. Less than 24 players practiced in August for both squads. Quitman hired former Hoxie assistant Brett Shrable last winter. Quitman’s sophomores, led by athletic QB Trey McGhee, went 7-2 in junior high last year. First-year Rose Bud coach Kevin Coleman installed the Dead T over the summer, featuring senior fullback Caleb Ferren (school-record 1,490 yards and 14 TDs in 2013). Senior tackle Dustin Swint and senior tight end Sam McGrand lead up front.

Poyen at B. HARMONY GROVE (13): Harmony Grove beat Poyen 40-7 in 2013 before reaching the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Horatio at CUTTER M. STAR (1): Horatio’s three wins last fall came over teams with a combined record of 5-23. Cutter Morning Star won seven games, including a 28-20 victory over 5-3A member Bismarck.

Mountain Pine at JESSIEVILLE (30): Mountain Pine enters the season with a 20-game losing streak. Jessieville lost its last nine games in 2013 after beating Mountain Pine 58-12.

EPISCOPAL (8) at Conway Christian: This is Episcopal’s second game in three days after taking on DeWitt Tuesday during Hootens.com Kickoff Week. The Wildcats beat Conway Christian 27-17 in last year’s opener. Conway Christian finished with six wins, including its second playoff victory in school history.

MAGNET COVE (6) at Parkers Chapel: No. 12 Magnet Cove expected to continue its mastery of the 5-2A, while Parkers Chapel battles for a playoff berth in the ultra-tough 8-2A. These teams split the past four non-conference meetings with Magnet Cove winning in 2010 and 2013. Parkers Chapel won this matchup in 2011 and 2012.

England at CARLISLE (13): No. 16 England shifts from the 6-2A to the 5-2A, making this a non-conference matchup. England does not lack for skill, starting with all-state senior ATH Tyrik Harris (6-2, 180), but linemen are few and undersized. No. 6 Carlisle rebuilds under first-year head coach Jack Keith, who came to Carlisle in 2013 after three years as an assistant at Warren. Carlisle’s senior class of 2014 won 35 times in three years and marched to the 2013 state semifinals.

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