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Great day to be Knight football fan

OPINION by Bob Wisener | October 27, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Something's not right here. The Centerpoint-Glen Rose football series isn't one-sided at all in favor of the latter team, if the records used here may be trusted.

One read the statewide newspaper Wednesday for its prediction on their game Friday night in Hot Spring County. Centerpoint won that straw poll 4-2 with former co-worker Henry Apple picking the visiting Knights, who were just getting started when he worked here.

Then, in a bylined story with other game predictions, the newspaper's first-year prep football editor (Jeremy Muck, another former co-worker and now on the Little Rock sports desk, succeeded the matchless Robert Yates in that position years ago) noted that Centerpoint had won six straight from Glen Rose, including a 2020 rematch in the Class 3A playoffs.

Not so fast, my friend, one who wasn't in Little Rock most of those years. According to fearlessfriday.com, Glen Rose has won 13 of the past 16 meetings with Centerpoint. The Knights' last victory in the series, according to the website, is 30-12 in 2014. Glen Rose won both their games in 2020, the pandemic season, 7-6 (regular season) and 34-21.

As someone who manned the sports desk more than 40 years, my first byline for a high school game coming at age 14 for Glenwood's weekly newspaper, I can attest that rounding up scores and keeping accurate records comes only with perseverance. Yates and Wadie Moore Jr., long with a now-defunct Little Rock newspaper, put years into the practice and if either wrote that Gentry beat Prairie Grove 14-13 in 1992 the game likely ended just that way.

More and more, like Sam Cooke famously sings, sports writers don't know much about history. Sadly, their readers often store even less detailed stuff. At the risk of being termed, like Nick Carraway in "The Great Gatsby," someone borne back ceaselessly into the past, I have been a history buff since childhood, insistent upon knowing the state capitals early on. At the risk of story embellishment, a family member is believed to have said, "Hell, I don't know all of the states."

One thing I do know is that however fuzzy the historical data, this is an especially important Centerpoint-Glen Rose game coming up. Both teams are 4-0 in the 3A-4 conference and having stomped Jessieville (Glen Rose by 37-0, Centerpoint by 40-8) at Phillips Field. (The Lions, in a difficult season, are off before the Nov. 4 roadie at Two Rivers determines the conference's fourth and fifth playoff seeds.)

Glen Rose (5-2 overall) has playoff tradition under coach Mark Kehner, beating Shiloh Christian for a state title in 2007 and making two other championship-round appearances. The Beavers' early-season losses to backyard rival Malvern (Class 4A) and Fordyce (state champion as recently as 2020) are forgivable. They can expect a large crowd at Beaver Stadium, hard by U.S. Highway 67, for the 7 p.m. kickoff.

Centerpoint (7-0) brought together the struggling Glenwood and nonexistent Amity programs in 1997 with former Mountain Pine Superintendent Bobby Gray its first head coach. Assistant coach John Bright quarterbacked the Glenwood Tigers' 1988 7A-North tri-championship team, which lost 6-0 in the playoffs to eventual state champion Mountain Pine at-then Trojan Field, now Reese Stadium. Another team member, Kevin Kelley, sailed to the top of his profession as Pulaski Academy's head coach.

Why Knights' coach Cary Rogers' name doesn't come up in discussion for jobs at other schools is puzzling. Maybe he likes it in Pike County, where the Rosboro campus of Centerpoint (a former lumber town) is located. The school's athletic program is first class all around with Bright's varsity girls state 3A basketball runners-up in 2021. This football team gives local people something to talk about this week besides politics, and who can find fault with that!

My alma mater (Glenwood), falling to the Big C (consolidation), lives on under a fresh new banner. As a sign coming into the city on the Caddo River reads, it's a good day to be a Knight. Hey, they've won over one skeptical alum.

Print Headline: Great day to be Knight football fan

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