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The Blackhawks' convincing win over Gentry kept their record unblemished at 4-0, and more importantly, kept them atop the 4A-1 District standings.

As I predicted last week, the 'Hawks were among the four victors in week No. 1 in the district's inter-league schedule. Along with the Pea Ridge victory, Shiloh whipped Berryville, Prairie Grove blasted Huntsville and Gravette ran over Lincoln. Game summaries are as follows:

Prairie Grove 35,Huntsville 7

Prairie Grove is without their best running back Bobby Catt (a good name for a Tiger player) due to an ankle injury and it took them some time to get rolling against Huntsville, but roll they did. After getting in gear, they scored on four of five possessions to have a 29-0 lead at the half. Huntsville was punchless throughout the game until the fourth period when they scored on the Tiger reserves. The Tigers rolled up 410 yards rushing -- without their best back.

Gravette 41, Lincoln 6

The Wolves couldn't stop Cedric Duarte and the Lion senior had 233 yards -- in the first half. Duarte had almost all the Lion rushing yardage in the first half, and Gravette had some success passing the ball to complement their star running back which had the Benton County school ahead 34-6 at the half. Interestingly, Lincoln scored on their first possession to briefly lead.

Shiloh 43, Berryville 14

Shiloh ran the opening kickoff back, then covered a fumble a few plays later, converting it to a touchdown as Shiloh led 16-0 after only a couple of minutes. The Bobcats actually moved the ball on Shiloh and had several scoring opportunities but they couldn't cash in on them. Shiloh ended the first quarter with a 36-0 lead to start the mercy clock. Shiloh has some speedy receivers with one of them managing to return kickoffs all the way back three times this season.

4a-1 Standings

Conf. All

Pea Ridge 1-0 4-0

Gravette 1-0 3-1

Prairie Grove 1-0 2-1

Shiloh 1-0 2-2

Huntsville 0-1 2-2

Berryville 0-1 2-2

Lincoln 0-1 1-3

Gentry 0-1 0-4

My predictions for week No. 2

While two of the weeks games appear to be easily pickable by a large majority of people, two will be a little tougher to discern.

Shiloh will be heavily favored to best Huntsville, and more than likely, sports fans and prognosticators will favor Pea Ridge coming out on top in their game with Lincoln. Gentry/Berryville is a toss-up with Prairie Grove probably winning over Gravette.

Shiloh 42, Huntsville 14 -- While Shiloh still has things to fix on their defensive side of the ball, Huntsville hasn't shown a lot of offensive prowess to date and probably won't this week although they are playing at home. If Huntsville doesn't have a good secondary, Shiloh will get a lot of yards through the air which is probably where the game will be lost for the Eagles.

Prairie grove 21, Gravette 14 -- Can Duarte beat Prairie Grove? Duarte is tough, quick, mobile and good-sized but if anyone can stop him, it would likely be the Tigers. Duarte will get 30 carries a game if need be, and it the Tigers can keep throwing fresh bodies at him, he will wear down eventually. I think that Prairie Grove's depth and offensive versatility will carry the day although Duarte will be the best player on the field this Friday.

Gentry 14, Berryville 13 -- If the Pioneers didn't have an injured quarterback (ankle) in Stone Faulkenberry, I would be inclined to think that the Pioneers would be clear winners. He is injured to some degree though, making their thin roster a bit thinner if he can't come back by Friday. Berryville will likely have better fan support as the dismal crowd at the Pea Ridge/Gentry game attested to last week. That was the smallest home crowd I have ever seen.

Pea Ridge 35, Lincoln 6 -- If the 'Hawks play their best and all their tools are available, they should win comfortably Friday. The 'Hawks have proven they can both pass and run effectively, something that make their odds of success far more solid. A long time spent in football cellars at Lincoln was changed last year by the Brad Harris regime. Though he is gone, some of his old proteges could make things interesting, given the chance.

'Hawks maintain status quo in rankings

The Blackhawk varsity football maintained its 23rd ranking position in this week's MaxPreps/Freeman/CBS Arkansas 4A State Poll.

Rankings are based on won/loss record, strength of schedule and point differential. Beating teams of low rankings don't ordinarily move you up the rankings unless teams ahead of you lose. If teams you have beaten come back and have a better season, that will boost your ranking as well.

This week's game with Lincoln represents a game with a higher ranked team than the past game with Gentry represented. The looming game with Gravette will be a chance to boost the strength of ranking should we come out the victor.

Meanwhile, even though Shiloh whipped Berryville, they actually dropped a couple of spots in the polls. Prairie Grove moved up a little and are now the highest ranked team in the conference, ranked 11th in the state.

Rankings are fun and mostly for the fans of the teams involved. What really matters is what happens on the fields each Friday night. Any team taking care of that bit of business need not sweat the polls.

MaxPreps/Freeman CBS

Arkansas 4A State Poll

1. Dardanelle 4-0

2. Nashville 4-0

3. Dollarway 3-1

4. Arkadelphia 3-1

5. Star City 4-0

6. Warren 2-2

7. Pottsville 2-2

8. Hamburg 2-2

9. Malvern 3-1

10. Robinson 4-0

11. Prairie Grove 2-1

12. Shiloh 2-2

16. Gravette 3-1

23. Pea Ridge 4-0

34. Huntsville 2-2

39. Lincoln 1-3

41. Berryville 2-2

43. Gentry 0-4

Cardinals win their division again

St. Louis has done it again, winning the Central Division of the National League and heading to the playoffs beginning this Friday.

Sunday afternoon, All-Star pitcher and catcher Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina were warming up for their game against Arizona until word came that Pittsburgh had lost their game against Cincinatti, thus giving St.Louis sole possession of first place for the 2014 season. Had the Pirates won and the Cards lost, there would have been a tie-playoff game Tuesday. Happily, the reverse happened and St. Louis rested many of its stars Sunday. Even better, the Cards won their last game 1-0, for their league leading 23rd shut out.

St. Louis will play Los Angeles in Los Angeles before the series moves to St. Louis. St. Louis beat the Dodgers two of three in St. Louis earlier this year but lost three of four from them in April. St. Louis is a much better team since then, so I wouldn't bet they don't make it back to the World Series.

If they beat the Dodgers, they will play either Pittsburgh, San Francisco or Washington. Washington has the best record overall, but Pittsburgh has the best record since Sept. 1.

•••

Editor's note: John McGee is an award-winning columnist and sports writer. He is the art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, coaches elementary track and writes a regular sports column for The Times. He can be contacted through The Times at prtnews@nwaonline.com.

Sports on 10/01/2014

Print Headline: 'Hawks assume early conference lead

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