Hot Springs coaches expecting some ‘backyard football’ at Razorback Stadium

Hot Springs assistant coach Courtney Sanders was telling the Trojans to play fast and hard during Tuesday's practice in preparation of its 5A South game in Texarkana Friday night.


Hot Springs football coach Darrell Burnett is preparing his Trojans for some backyard football at Razorback Stadium Friday night in Texarkana.

Burnett says the playoffs are not a hot topic with him. However, a win over Arkansas High would earn the Trojans a share of first place in 5A South. He acknowledges a Texarkana win would probably lead the Razorbacks to the throne room.

Even Arkansas High coach Barry Norton agrees with that scenario.

“If we can get to 3-0 it would be big,” said Norton. “It would be hard for anyone to catch us. This is a big game. They’re coming in 2-1, and playing well. It’ll be a good contest. Hot Springs’ kids play hard, and it will be a four quarter game.”

Burnett emphasizes the key to his team’s success is playing aggressive and hard.

“I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the playoffs too much to my kids,” said Burnett. “I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on them. We want to compete and play hard for four quarters. We must be aggressive, squeeze the gaps, and make sure nothing gets outside because they’ve got some athletes.

Hot Springs coach A.J. Whitmore was playing the role of Arkansas High’s Braylon Bishop in Tuesday’s practice.

Trojans are ready for backyard football game

“Our biggest key is stopping (Torie) Blair and the quarterback (Braylon Bishop) before they even start thinking about their passing game. We’ve got to finish every play, every down, for four quarters. Blair reminds me of Alvin Kamara of the Saints. He does a good job of catching the ball. When he get the ball in his hands he is so shifty. He’s not slowing down, while making four or five moves. We’ve got to be ready for some backyard football.”

Both head coaches note that the Razorbacks’ passing game has not been sharp in 2020. Burnett’s concern is Bishop extending plays with his legs and playing backyard football.

“I think his baseball mentality hurts him sometimes,” said Burnett. “Bishop has a strong arm, and the ball in on the receivers so fast. Sometimes you just want a little touch on the ball. As long as he’s not completing passes and scrambling for thirty yards I don’t care, I don’t care.”

Norton said after Arkansas High’s win at Lakeside that his team would focus on their passing game, while preparing for the Trojans.

“Our passing game is going to take a little more time,” said Norton. “I believe it will get better each week. We need one receiver to emerge as the ‘guy.’ The guy you can depend on in one-on-one situations. We’ve been lacking the big play in our offense, but hopefully by the time we get to the playoffs we’ll be ready to roll.”

The third-ranked Razorbacks will be in good shape to finish the regular season with an unblemished record if they beat Hot Springs. Arkansas has Hope and De Queen left on its schedule.

Should Hot Springs pull off the upset Friday night, the Trojans still have Camden Fairview and Hot Springs Lakeside left to play. The Razorbacks beat Hot Springs, 24-20.


In other Arkansas action Friday night:

Ashdown (6-1) at ARKADELPHIA (4-0) – First place in 7-4A is at stake in Arkadelphia. The Panthers’ stunning win over Nashville last week opened these doors, but we fear the Badgers will slam those same doors, 41-21.

PRESCOTT (7-0) at Bismarck (2-5) – Bismarck’s offense is good enough to score twice in the fourth quarter. Look for the Curley Wolves to roll, 45-12.

Hope (1-5) at CAMDEN FAIRVIEW (4-4) – Keep an eye on Fairview come playoff time. The Cardinals romp, 55-7.

CENTERPOINT (5-2) at Glen Rose (6-1) – Second place goes to the winner. Going out on a limb by picking the Knights in a thriller, 21-20.

MOUNT IDA (3-5) at Cutter Morning Star (0-7) – 2020 hasn’t been a memorable year, especially for the Eagles. The Lions prevail, 28-6.

De Queen (0-7) at HS LAKESIDE (4-3) – The Rams pad their stats in preparation for the 5A playoffs, 52-7.

Murfreesboro (4-4) at DIERKS (6-1) – Ancient rivalry that the Outlaws should be celebrating, 28-20.

Fouke (1-3) at JESSIEVILLE (4-3) – If Jessieville starts slow like last week, the Panthers could surprise folks. Going with the Lions, 26-18.

Fountain Lake (2-3) at MALVERN (4-3) – Not a good matchup for the Cobras. Speed kills Fountain Lake, 34-6.

Horatio (0-6) at GENOA CENTRAL (3-4) – Horatio has discovered its offense, just not enough of it. Dragons win, 20-0.

Van Buren (3-4) at LAKE HAMILTON (6-0) – The Wolves might be the best first quarter team in Arkansas. Lake Hamilton can’t be caught looking ahead to Benton and Greenwood. Wolves win, 31-21.

NASHVILLE (4-2) at Harmony Grove Haskell (0-7) -Should be lopsided affair with Scrappers romping, 48-6.