From the beginning of the season, high school football fans in Arkansas knew that the Bentonville Tigers and the Fayetteville Purple Dogs would meet in the state playoffs. Bentonville and Fayetteville have met once this year, in what was one of the better games of the year. The Tigers left Harmon Field with a 24-21 victory. The meeting between the two teams this time is for more than just bragging rights, a spot in the state championship game is on the line.
Coach Jody Grant’s Bentonville Tigers come into the game Friday with a 10-2 record on the season. Bentonville’s two losses during the season came to Kansas City Rockhurst and Springdale Har-Ber. The Bentonville run during the playoffs has been an impressive one. The Tigers have picked up wins over Little Rock Catholic and Fort Smith Northside so far in the playoffs.
Bentonville used the passing game to overwhelm the Grizzlies last Friday night. Canaan Ross and Kam’ron Mays-Hunt hurt Northside, connecting on a 49-yard touchdown pass to break the game open and make the score 24-10 in the third quarter. Ross threw for 164 yards against Northside. Mays-Hunt had a majority of the yardage with 99 yards receiving. The 31-10 victory over Northside has set the stage for semifinal matchup against Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville Purple Dogs come into the semi-final matchup Friday night with one loss on the season. The one loss was to the Bentonville Tigers, which makes this tradition rich match up that much more interesting. Fayetteville and Bentonville always seem to meet in the playoffs and this year is no exception. Fayetteville much like Bentonville has plenty of weapons that can light up the scoreboard.
Fayetteville will mix the run with the pass with Terrance Rock and Taylor Powell sparking a potent Purple Dogs’ offense. Fayetteville has the ability to either strike quickly or milk the clock in using sustained drives. Another factor to take into consideration in this matchup is whether or not revenge will come into play. Earning a championship is always at the forefront of what the Purple Dogs attempt to do and this year is no different.
The defenses for both teams will have to step up to have a chance for either team to win this game. Fans should look for a game that is similar to the last time that Bentonville and Fayetteville met. A low scoring tight defensive battle is what should be expected. Fayetteville and Bentonville always seems to have championship implications and for one of these teams they will take a step forward into the 7-A State Championship game.