Texas High, Arkansas High clash for the 102nd time Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Razorback Stadium, and nobody really knows what to expect.
There will be drama with the tragic death this past week of Texas High’s star defensive end Leonard Parks, and veteran coach Barry Norton making his debut for Arkansas High in this storied rivalry after coaching for Texas High against the Razorbacks for 18 years.
One thing we know is that players from both squads will have the logo (LP6) on their helmets in memory of Parks, who attended schools in Texarkana, Arkansas, before moving to the Texas-side in middle school.
Texas High’s first-year coach Gerry Stanford had a busy schedule this week for obvious reasons, preparing his team for a game Friday night and a funeral Saturday morning. While mourning himself, Norton said he expects a good, competitive football game.
“There will be emotions on both sides, but once the kids get settled I think they’ll play and you’ll see a good competitive game,” said Norton, who only lost twice against Arkansas High as the Tigers’ coach. “It’s just a tough time all the way around, but all of these kids are resilient.
“This game is special to me because it’s my first game being a Razorback. It’s difficult playing against the kids I’ve coached in the past, but I’m getting a great opportunity to coach another great group of kids. I’m going to root for the Texas High kids every day of their life except for this Friday.”
Norton acknowledges he had advantages at Texas High over Arkansas High.
“I wasn’t even aware of some of those advantages until I came over here,” he said. “The number of kids is a huge advantage. You’ve got twice as many kids at Texas High. Resources are different, but kids are still kids, and so is football. You can only play eleven at a time. I think we’ve got some advantages at Arkansas High, too.”
Both teams suffered disappointing setbacks in last week’s season openers. The Tigers lost to Dallas Bishop Lynch, while Arkansas High was beaten by Pleasant Grove. Barring a tie, one of these teams will be in the win column after this week.
Despite its’ adversity coming into the game, Texas High is a touchdown favorite according to at least one ratings system.
Fox Sports Radio 1400 AM will broadcast the Arkansas High-Texas High game.
Pleasant Grove underdogs at Paris
In other local action Friday Pleasant Grove (1-0) travels to Paris (1-0), where the host Wildcats are a 14-point favorite according to the Harris Ratings. The Wildcats won big last week over Terrell.
ESPN Texarkana 94.1 will have a live broadcast of Pleasant Grove’s game with Paris.
Liberty-Eylau (0-1) will be looking for its first win when it treks to Carthage, which routed Gladewater last week, 49-7. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 overall in Class 4A. Harris has Carthage a two-touchdown favorite.
Another big rivalry game features Redwater (0-1) at Hooks (1-0). The Hornets are picked to win a close contest in Hooks after last week’s 20-6 victory over New Boston.
The Lions are expected to bounce back at DeKalb. Atlanta is a 3-point pick over Daingerfield; Linden-Kildare a 24-point favorite over Clarksville; Overton an 18-point pick at home against James Bowie; and Joaquin a 17-point favorite at Maud.
Across state lines Genoa Central finds itself a surprising 8-point favorite over Lafayette County. Ashdown is the pick over Hope by 13; Nashville by 20 against De Queen; and Fouke is expected to outman Hermitage by 35.