I took a photo of the senior walk after the Hawks' football game last week, and stuck it on my Facebook page. A friend I have in Kenya saw the post and asked about what it meant.
I explained to him that the players, cheerleaders and managers lined up to walk across the field one more time together as it was the last time they might get the chance. They were graduating in the spring, I told him, with many or most of the students scattering hither and yon pursuing employment or education in a variety of places.
The senior year in high school is probably the most eventful one folks have in their lives for lots of reasons. Graduating from college wasn't nearly as eventful for me, or most people, I think, as it was more of a relief to get the degree secured and getting to stop the educational expenses from piling up.
In high school, you approach the end of associations of people you may have known all your life. In college, you make new friends and associations but they aren't like the ones you make in your youth, to a large degree. The fact that high school reunions are much more attended than college reunions would seem to bear that out.
The high school experience comes with the family experience and especially in the area where we live and work, the community experience. I went to college in a different state, and I met lots of people from lots of states, and it was a good thing. Eighty percent of the students at my college were not from the state the college was in.
I am not sure when the senior walk thing started, but as Shadrack Cheluget told me from the other side of the world, "I see. Good tradition." I have never seen this done at other schools but I agree with Shadrack.
Remembering last games, I remember well the playoffs of 2012 when the Hawks lost at home against Heber Springs. Senior Dayton Winn was out in the middle of the field for a long time following that loss. He was down of course, because they lost, but he was more down because football at Pea Ridge High School was over, at least for him.
Winn went on to have four super successful seasons at Hendrix University and he has been a football professional playing in Denmark for the past few years. He has branched out to a lot of places, even around the world, but his roots are here in Pea Ridge.
Traditions and roots go together.
4A State cross country meet
this Saturday in Hot Springs
The Pea Ridge boys cross country team will among the first on the course when they toe the line at 9 a.m. this Saturday morning at Oaklawn Track in Hot Springs. The girls will get their turn at 10 a.m. with the 5A boys running between the two 4A races.
A change in format was done this year, eliminating the back to back format for the classes. Lots of schools have coaches who direct both boys and girls team, and it is tough trying to figure out what is happening during one race while prepping your other team to go in the next.
Harmony Reynolds, who was a 2018 All-State athlete in cross country, will be leading the girls' team. The Lady Hawks were fourth as a team in 2018 with the boys taking third. Reynolds was eighth overall among the 150 runners.
4A-1 Conference football
It's the final week of the regular season and the 4A-1 has drama throughout the league games this Friday.
In this "Game of the Week," conference unbeatens Pea Ridge and Shiloh will play for all the marbles this Friday in Springdale. This is the second year in a row that the two teams ran through their schedule unbeaten at 6-0.
Shiloh has been beating their district foes by an average 55-6 score while Pea Ridge has been rolling over the competition with an average 50-14 final score. Shiloh is 9-0 for the season, beating three average teams in non-conference action. Pea Ridge played their non-conference games against three 5A schools who all had 5-0 records at mid-season.
The winner Friday gets the conference title and a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs, hosting the fifth seed of the 4A-2. Friday's loser will almost certainly be hosting fourth seed Hamburg from the 4A-8.
The fifth seed of the 4A-2 could be anyone as there are four teams tied for third right now, that being Mills, Central Arkansas, Lonoke and Heber Springs, all at 3-3. Lonoke is playing No. 1 team, Riverview, so the Jackrabbitts are likely out, with Central Arkansas playing winless Stuttgart so the Mustangs are likely in. Heber plays Mills so that winner is definitely in. Who will be the fifth seed? We won't know till Saturday.
Another clear cut game Friday is the Berryville/Green Forest matchup. The teams are currently 0-6 with the winner taking seventh in the league with the loser saddled with the basement.
The other two games matching Lincoln at Prairie Grove and Gravette at Gentry are a bit more complex. Three of the four teams will get into the playoffs. Currently Gentry has a 4-2 slate, with Gravette and Prairie Grove tied at 3-3 with Lincoln having a chance at 2-4.
Gentry wins and the Pioneers will grab the No. 3 seed. Lincoln loses and they are done for 2019. If Gentry wins and Lincoln loses, Prairie Grove will take the fourth seed, with Gravette receiving the fifth one. If Lincoln wins and Gentry loses, Gravette would get the No. 3 seed, with Gentry getting fourth. Lincoln beats Prairie Grove, earns the fifth seed and the Tigers stay home for the playoffs the first time in this millennium. Gentry is the only team of the four that has a lock on a playoff spot somewhere.
District football standings
1. Pea Ridge^6-0
5. Prairie Grove^3-3
football stat leaders
As a team, the Hawks are leading all schools in rushing in the 4A-1 with 1,951 yards, comfortably ahead of second place Gentry with 1,485 yards. Shiloh leads passing offense with 1,859 yards with Gentry second with 1,746. Pea Ridge is fourth with 1,157. Senior Samuel Beard leads all rushers in total yards, touchdowns and scoring.
1. Samuel Beard, Pea Ridge, 961 yds.
2. Brandon Atwood, Gentry, 788
4. Tate Busey, Pea Ridge, 518
1. Brandon Atwood, Gentry, 1,666
2. Eli Reece, Shiloh, 1,598
4. Tate Busey, Pea Ridge, 1,014
1. Truitt Tollett, Shiloh, 778
2. Beau Tomblin, Gentry, 646
3. Zach Jarnagan, Gentry, 644
5. Trevor Blair, Pea Ridge, 337
1. Luis Reyes, Pea Ridge, 32
2.Keaton Carter, Shiloh, 31
1. Samuel Beard, Pea Ridge, 86
2.Truitt Tollett, Shiloh, 78
1. Samuel Beard, 14
2. Truitt Tollett, Shiloh, 13
1. Mazon Harris, Pea Ridge, 6
2. Trenton Durham, Gravette, 5
5. Gavin Warden and Lance Nunley, Pea Ridge, 3
1. Zac Jarnagan, Gentry 6
4. John Roses, Luis Reyes and Joe Adams, Pea Ridge, 2
1. Luis Reyes, Pea Ridge, 47.0 per kick
2. Bryan Soto, Green Forest, 42 per kick
1. Ian Drake, Gravette, 39.9 per kick
2. Tate Busey, Pea Ridge, 37.3 per kick
1. Luis Reyes, Pea Ridge, 35
2. Keaton Carter, Shiloh, 31
MaxPreps/CBS 4A State
football poll news
*Current statewide MaxPreps rankings
There was not a lot of movement in the state rankings this week.
The top 10 teams stayed the same with some shuffling of the deck. No. 2 Shiloh dropped to No. 3, replaced by Robinson who was third previously. Robinson blasted Ashdown 55-12 while Shiloh was running up the score in their 61-6 defeat of Gravette. Robinson got most of their points in the first half while Shiloh got most of their points late. Meanwhile Arkadelphia's blowout win over No. 8 Bauxite cemented their No. 1 status.
Pea Ridge and Bauxite both dropped two spots with Dardanelle and Crossett moving up the same two spots. Bauxite was hammered 42-7 by Arkadelphia with Pea Ridge beating Green Forest 47-14. Dardanelle destroyed Elkins 44-18 while Crossett edged Hamburg 21-20 to get their poll ranking higher.
Riverview and Gosnell were the big losers of last week, both dropping eight spots in the poll. Riverview was heavily favored to beat Heber Springs last week but lost 49-35. Gosnell was considered a even match against Pocahontas but they were crushed 45-18.
For the big winners of the week, there were six teams that climbed four spots in the poll, one of them Gentry. Gentry earned their higher rank with a 34-13 pasting of Lincoln on the road last week. They led only by 1 at the half 14-13, then ripped off 20 points in the third quarter to put the game away.
4A State football rankings
9. Pea Ridge^6-3^-2
13. Star City^6-3^--
15. Harmony Grove^4-5^+4
20. SS Batesville^7-2^+3
25. Prairie Grove^3-6^+1
26. West Helena^5-4^-1
31. Central Ark^5-4^+3
36. Heber Springs^3-6^+3
37. Fountain Lake^1-8^4
40. Bald Knob^2-7^--
45. Green Forest^2-7^--
47. Cave City^0-9^--
Editor's note: John McGee, an award-winning columnist, sports writer and art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, writes a regular sports column for The Times. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted through The Times at [email protected]Sports on 11/06/2019
Print Headline: It's all about the tradition