SPORTS >> Losing skids end to make picks pan out
Leader sports writer
All of us on The Leader prognostication panel enjoyed our best week of predictions to begin 2009 conference play last week.
We went 7 of 9, with a pick against Beebe and a pick for Riverview as our only setbacks.
North Pulaski and Beebe got the monkeys off their backs to set up a battle of 1-0 teams in the 5A Southeast on Friday in Beebe. The Cabot juggernaut showed no sign of slowing down last week against Conway, and the Panthers make a visit to storied War Memorial Stadium to face Catholic this week. At Jonesboro, Jacksonville will look to rebound from the 6A-East opening loss to Mountain Home, while the Bears of Sylvan Hills are looking for anything positive at this point.
BEEBE 28, NORTH PULASKI 12
The Falcons looked good against Little Rock McClellan last week in their 39-13 victory, but they were still a bit undisciplined. Senseless penalties were present, which will do the Falcons no good at all this week if they want to have a chance against John Shannon’s Badgers.
Beebe may not have the distinct personnel advantage over North Pulaski that it has enjoyed in the recent past, but we are betting on stronger tradition and discipline to win out in this one.
CABOT 17, LITTLE ROCK CATHOLIC 16
The 7A-Central Conference is set up so that many games with title implications take place in the first half of the season, and this one is a prime example. The Rockets lost a close one to Bryant last week, and are now almost in a must-win situation against the Panthers.
But Cabot simply has too much momentum and confidence, not to mention the best depth of any team in this conference. We say the train keeps rolling this week to lift the Panthers to 5-0.
JONESBORO 38, JACKSONVILLE 8
It’s hard to miss the playoffs in the 6A-East Conference, but the Red Devils are certainly putting themselves in position to do just that. The loss to Mountain Home last week could end up biting Jacksonville badly once the conference points are tallied at the end of the regular season, especially with the Searcy program on the rise and awaiting the Red Devils in Week 7. Things do not look to get any easier on the road Friday against an unbeaten Golden Hurricane team that has outscored opponents 150-20 through four games.
MILLS 18, SYLVAN HILLS 14 (THURSDAY)
The Comets have the worst behind them after last week’s 41-12, 5A-Southeast-opening loss to dominant Monticello. It’s still unknown how bad or good things can be for the Bears with almost half their starting defense on the sidelines nursing injuries.
This will be the Fearless live-televised game this week on KARZ-TV Channel 42, so here’s hoping coach Withrow and the gang can shake the bad luck and give everyone in television land a good show.
LONOKE 31, BALD KNOB 28
The Jackrabbits are another team in serious need of a victory this week. Homecoming is reserved for playing creampuffs at many schools, but the Bulldogs of Bald Knob appear to be anything but with a 4-0 record, including a 44-8 rout of DeWitt last week to begin 2-4A Conference play. The winner of this game will be in good position for a playoff spot in the conference.
The odds might be considered to be against the Jackrabbits with some of their best players out, but the 2010 class has a lot of pride, and will not give up a game on homecoming.
HARDING ACADEMY 42, ENGLAND 6
Look for the Wildcats to stay unbeaten this week.
LITTLE ROCK PARKVIEW 21, SEARCY 20
Friday will mark the second straight week of playing against Patriots for Searcy after last week’s 37-7 loss at Marion that began 6A-East Conference play. The Parkview Patriots in Week 5 will be a little easier to contend with, but Parkview has a little bit of an edge in personnel and tradition, so we will give it to coach William Hardiman’s team by the slightest of margins.
RIVERVIEW 38, ROSE BUD 13
Things may be bad right now at Riverview with the first- and second-string quarterbacks dealing with injuries, but the bright spot for the Raiders is that you might possibly get away with direct snapping to a running back the entire game and still pull off a victory against Rose Bud. No offense to the Rambler faithful, but this is definitely not basketball.