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Benton supplants Greenwood as main Lake Hamilton foe

by Bob Wisener | October 27, 2021 at 3:50 a.m.

The game of the year in Garland County football comes a week earlier and involves a different Lake Hamilton opponent than expected.

Benton plays at Lake Hamilton Friday night for first place in 6A-West and a No. 1 seed in the Class 6A playoffs. Both teams are 5-0 in conference play with the Wolves 8-0 and the Panthers 7-1 overall, Lake Hamilton ranked No. 7 and Benton No. 8 statewide by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Lake Hamilton's eight victories have come by double-digit margins, its closest calls a pair of 10-point games against Little Rock Parkview and Russellville. The Wolves just finished a two-game swing into northwest Arkansas, beating Siloam Springs 42-7 and Van Buren 63-33. They also opened conference play in the state's northern tier, beating Mountain Home 36-6.

Benton has been perfect since a 42-3 Salt Boss bowl to 7A-rival Bryant Aug. 28 in Little Rock. The Panthers, state runners-up in 2019, have won two close games, 30-23 over Little Rock Parkview and 41-40 over defending 6A champion Greenwood.

Somewhat surprisingly, their Week 9 game takes on high stakes for both teams. Benton plays at Van Buren next week at home while Lake Hamilton goes to Greenwood, which handed the Wolves both losses on an 11-2 record last year.

Greenwood, which won its first 16 games under coach Chris Young, is 5-3 overall and 3-2 in conference. The Bulldogs lost 29-20 to 7A and Sebastian County rival Fort Smith Northside, then dropped their first conference game in two years, 45-38 to Benton. Losing to Benton last week leaves Greenwood hoping for a three-way share of the conference title.

Lake Hamilton leads the conference tiebreaker standings with 59 points -- up to 13 for each conference victory -- with Benton second at 47 and Greenwood and Parkview tied for third at 39.

The visiting team has won the last two Benton-Lake Hamilton games, the Wolves 51-34 last year after Benton prevailed 31-20 on Bank OZK Field in 2019.

Another game of interest Friday night finds Prescott (8-0, 5-0 in 3A-5) at Jessieville (5-2, 4-1). Jessieville has won four in a row since a 46-24 conference loss to Glen Rose, pulling out close games with Genoa Central (28-25) and at Centerpoint (28-27). The Lions finish at Horatio Thursday, Nov. 4.

Prescott has won nine straight from Jessieville since 2010, beating the Lions a second time in the 2011 3A playoffs. The Curley Wolves, state champions as recently as 2016, lead 3A teams in scoring (366 points) and are fourth in scoring defense (94). Prescott received a forfeit from Horatio and survived its closest game, 50-41 to Centerpoint.

Glen Rose, also 5-0 in conference, goes to Prescott Nov. 5.

Elsewhere, it's Hot Springs (4-3, 2-1 5A-South) at Camden Fairview (7-1, 4-0), Fountain Lake (2-3, 4-4 4A-7) at Haskell Harmony Grove (1-4, 2-5) and, in eight-man action, Cutter Morning Star (2-5, 1-4 South) at Mountain Pine (5-3 4-1). Lakeside has a bye week before the unofficial city championship Nov. 5 with Hot Springs.

Print Headline: Benton supplants G'wood as main Lake Hamilton foe

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