JONESBORO — The state football playoffs are just beginning for many area high school teams tonight.
Of the 13 area teams remaining on the brackets, 10 did not play last week. Nine of those teams finished high enough in their respective conferences to avoid the play-in round in classes 3A, 4A and 5A, while East Poinsett County advanced by forfeit in Class 2A.
Hoxie coach Tom Sears said the off week came at a good time for the 3A-3 conference champion Mustangs, who host Lake Village tonight.
“We had a couple of guys who had some small bumps and bruises that we felt like the extra week would allow them to heal, and it has. It’s kind of been a nice blessing,” Sears said. “I feel like our kids handled the other bye weeks we had. I thought they came back after those bye weeks and played really, really well. You never know how some teams are going to respond to it and this team has done a really good job.”
Ranked fourth in Class 3A, Hoxie (9-0) is averaging 49.9 points per game behind three seniors who have made verbal commitments to sign with Football Championship Subdivision programs.
Brothers Daylon and ShunDerrick Powell have made verbal commitments to North Alabama. Daylon Powell has passed for 1,311 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 1,250 yards and 23 touchdowns. ShunDerrick Powell has 1,124 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing. Stefan Coleman, who recently made a verbal commitment to South Dakota State, has 25 receptions for 899 yards and 13 touchdowns.
While Hoxie was off last week, 3A-2 runner-up Newport (8-1) has been off for two weeks and three of the last four. The third-ranked Greyhounds’ break ends tonight as they host 3A-3 member Corning (6-4) in a second-round game, with the winner advancing to play the Hoxie-Lake Village winner next week. Corning rolled past Baptist Prep 58-28 in the play-in round.
Newport senior running back Tharon Davis, who recently committed to Memphis, has 699 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing, plus 22 receptions for 252 yards. The Greyhounds average 38 points per game while giving up 14.
In other games involving area 3A teams, Piggott (7-3) hosts Camden Harmony Grove, Harrisburg (5-3) visits Jessieville and Osceola (4-4) travels to Dollarway. Ranked seventh in the state overall and second in Class 5A, 5A-East champion Wynne (9-0) hosts Maumelle in the 5A first round. Maumelle (6-2) scored twice in the second half last week to defeat Nettleton 19-7 in the play-in round.
Ranked fourth in 4A, Rivercrest (9-0) hosts Pottsville to start the playoffs. Senior quarterback Kam Turner has accounted for 3,602 yards of total offense and 46 total touchdowns to power the 4A-3 champion Colts.
Elsewhere in the 4A playoffs, Trumann (6-5) visits Malvern, Gosnell (3-3) treks to Dardanelle, Blytheville (5-4) travels to Prairie Grove and Pocahontas (8-2) hosts Lamar. Trumann and Blytheville won last week to earn another game this week, the Wildcats routing Heber Springs 43-14 and the Chickasaws rolling past Clinton 49-14.
East Poinsett County (8-3) hosts Quitman in the 2A playoffs. The 2A-3 champion Warriors advanced by forfeit last week when Johnson County Westside bowed out because of COVID-19 concerns.