JONESBORO — Valley View will have an opportunity to achieve one of its season objectives tonight.
The Blazers are making their fourth consecutive state playoff appearance in Class 5A, but they have yet to win a postseason game since moving up to their current classification in 2014. They have another opportunity tonight as Farmington visits Central Dealerships Stadium.
Valley View’s last postseason victories came in 2013 when the Blazers defeated Gravette, Prairie Grove and Maumelle to reach the 4A semifinals. As a 5A team, Valley View has finished with playoff losses to Pulaski Academy, Little Rock McClellan and Morrilton the last three seasons.
“We’ve been in the playoffs the last three years, but we haven’t won a game yet,” Valley View head coach Sean Cockrell said. “We’ve had a tough draw every year with Morrilton last year, the year before with McClellan and the year before with PA, but everybody is going to be good when you get in the playoffs. It was one of our goals this year and obviously we want to do that. It would be big for our program if we can.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on KBTM (FM-101.3).
Valley View (5-4) is the No. 4 playoff seed from the 5A-East while Farmington (4-5) is No. 5 out of the 5A-West. The winner of their play-in game faces top-ranked Pulaski Academy next week.
Farmington was 2-4 in the 5A-West with victories over Clarksville and Pea Ridge and losses to Vilonia, Morrilton, Greenbrier and Alma. The Cardinals did not play 5A-West champion Harrison.
Cockrell said Farmington has good size on both lines.
“They’re very athletic on defense, run to the football, play man-to-man, really scrappy. It’s going to be tough for us to score points on them,” Cockrell said. “Offensively they resemble what Batesville did. They’re going to be under center a lot in the I-formation. They come off the ball, they have a really good running back and a big 6-4 receiver they can throw it to, and they use a tight end quite a bit.”
Devonte Donovan, Farmington’s 6-4 junior receiver, has 39 receptions for 404 yards and five touchdowns. The Cardinals’ ground game features junior Caden Elsik, who has 975 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
Cockrell is glad Farmington has to travel, not his team.
“If we were going there, we’d probably leave at 8 o’clock in the morning and it would be a full day, getting kids out of routine,” Cockrell said. “Sometimes it’s fun for the kids and it’s a different experience for them, but for us at this point, I’m really glad we’re playing at home.”
Valley View finished the regular season last week with a 37-16 loss at Batesville. The Blazers defeated Greene County Tech 16-14 in their most recent home game three weeks ago.
Senior running back Jeb Rapert is Valley View’s leading rusher with 523 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior Aedan Huntsman has 1,112 all-purpose yards, including 704 receiving and 306 rushing yards, and has accounted for seven touchdowns.
Junior linebacker Cooper Lutz leads the Blazer defense with 54 tackles and three interceptions. Mario Crawford, another junior, leads Valley View with four sacks.
“In normal years, if everything went the way it went, we’d be traveling this week, but we’re excited about being in the playoffs and being in the top four, getting an opportunity to play at home,” Cockrell said. “Our seniors, they get to play at home one more time and maybe get us a win and keep moving forward.”