TEXARKANA — The Arkansas High Razorbacks seek to topple the Greenwood Bulldogs in the second round of the 6A Conference playoffs Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Bulldogs Stadium.
The Bulldogs have not lost a conference game at home since Nov. 21, 2014 when the El Dorado Wildcats knocked off Greenwood in the second round of the playoffs.
“The thing right now is nobody does it as well as Greenwood,” said Arkansas High head football coach Barry Norton. “We’ve got a great opponent coming up in all phases of the game and we’ve got to come out and match them and do the same thing. So, it’s going to come down to a great effort from us on the road to go get a win and advance in the playoffs.”
The Razorbacks hosted Greenwood on Sept. 22 at Razorback Stadium and took a 17-13 lead into halftime. However, the Bulldogs outscored the Hogs 25-0 in the second half.
Greenwood has a set of triplets in quarterback Connor Noland, running back Kenny Wood, and receiver Peyton Holt that have helped the Bulldogs pile on 298 points in conference play. Not even the 7A powers of Fort Smith Northside and Southside could slow them down in non-conference games.
“We’ve got to contain all three of those guys, try to find a way to make it work,” Norton said. “It will be quite the challenge, but I think it’s what our kids are looking forward to and are up to.”
Middle linebacker Treveon Cleveland leads the team in tackles. Rounding out the rest of the hard-hitting Hogs linebacker corps are junior Cameron Collier and Kendricks Young, who will find ways to affect Noland the passer as well as stop Wood the runner.
Said Norton: “We’ve got to find a way to affect the quarterback throwing. And if we have to bring a linebacker on blitzes, we may have to do some of that to rattle the offense. We may have to take chances here and there.”
Looking to go stride for stride with the Bulldogs offense is Hogs sophomore quarterback Sean Foreback and his trio of receivers in juniors Irijah Price, Drake Browning, and DeJordan Mask.
“It’s good to have some guys to balance out and move around and try to create some mismatches,” Norton said. “So, we have three really good wideouts. I think there are three really good athletes that can do good things with the ball. So, our job is to create some openings and maybe get them the ball.”
Buying what is being sold
Norton, who spent 1999-2016 at crosstown rival Texas High and built a championship program, had to spend the off-season installing a new Razorback Way for the athletes to follow. With winning a playoff game for the first time since 2011, Norton has already given his players a pretty sizable carrot for adhering to the stick of his ways.
Said Norton: “I think part of it is the kids they got to see the reward of their hard work. Kids have hung in there all year long and have learned new systems and new ways of doing things and worked really hard. When you work hard all week, you get a paycheck. That’s kind of what we did. They worked real hard. To go on the road and get a playoff win was big for us and big for the program.”
The best part was the postseason drought was snapped on the road. The last time Arkansas High won a road playoff game was 2010 at Jonesboro. Now, the Hogs have even more reason to believe the gospel Norton is preaching.
Arkansas High goes for the upset Friday night on Fox Sports Radio 1400, FoxSportsTexarkana.com, and the Freed AM Sports app with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff and 6:00 p.m. pregame show. Michael DelGiorno and Greg Hogan will have the call from Greenwood.