Norton hoping a healthy Alma team shows up to challenge his favored Razorbacks

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Arkansas High is hoping to see a healthy Alma football team show up Friday night at 7 p.m. in Razorback Stadium.

The unbeaten Razorbacks have had five games canceled in 2020 because of Covid-19. It cost Arkansas High the 5A South championship when winless De Queen couldn’t play its final game because of the virus.

Alma (2-7) also lost a game, its two wins coming against Rogers Heritage and Farmington in the Airedales’ final game.

“Alma has not had the season that they wanted to have,” said Razorback mentor Barry Norton. “They have grown weekly as a team, and have their idenity a little more now. They’ve had a quarterback change, and have been more effective than they had been.

“We’ve got to get the run stopped. Alma is a big, multiple formation, unbalanced set that creates space to run. Offensively, we’ve got to create some explosive plays. That’s something we haven’t done well all season in both the run game and pass game. If we do that we’ll be fine.”


Alma must share spotlight with virus

Norton notes that the Razorbacks’ biggest challenge is the fact his team has not played much recently.

“We’re trying to balance that, be prepared and ready,” he said. “Our goal is to play as long as we can. The hard part has been preparing a team week-in and week-out, and then having the run pulled out from under you. It’s been a hard year. I think the our coaches have handled it well, but I know we’re not where we want to be at this point. We haven’t had the consistency and continuity we’d like to have had. Hopefully we’ll put it together this week and get better.”

There were individuals in Texarkana who couldn’t understand why Arkansas High wasn’t the top seed in 5A South. Hot Springs Lakeside was awarded the conference title because it had four league wins, compared to three by the Razorbacks, Magnolia and Camden Fairview. Arkansas High did beat Lakeside early, but had league games with Hot Springs, Magnolia and De Queen canceled.

“The Arkansas Activities Association made a decision early on how they were going to do things because of the virus, and we’re going to honor it,” said Norton. “The AAA determined second, third and fourth with a point system, which I didn’t even look at.”

If the Hogs survive Alma, they’ll face the winner of the Morrilton-Hope game.