JONESBORO — Valley View head coach Sean Cockrell expects to learn quite a bit about his team this week.
Wynne, which entered the Arkansas Sports Media Overall rankings this week at No. 10, pays a visit to Valley View on Friday night. The Yellowjackets are ranked second in Class 5A behind Pulaski Academy.
“I think this is the best team we’ve played so far,” Cockrell said, “and so we’ll be able to tell kind of where we’re at.”
Only Morrilton, which lost 20-19 at Wynne, has played the Yellowjackets close. Greene County Tech trailed 7-0 at halftime last week, only to see Carl Washington score on runs of 36, 81 and 39 yards in the second half as Wynne pulled away for a 27-0 victory.
Wynne (5-0, 2-0 conference) outscored its first five opponents 107-13 in the first half. The Yellowjackets’ defense hasn’t allowed a first-half touchdown since the season opener against Marion.
“Something that we noticed, that jumped off film, is their offensive and defensive lines really come off the ball hard, very physical and very fast,” Cockrell said. “They’re a lot faster on defense all the way around and offensively, just like they always do, they have speed at the back position and they’re throwing it a little more. It’s going to be tough to handle both the run and the pass.”
The Blazers (4-1, 2-0 5A-East) will carry a 12-game conference winning streak into Friday’s game. Last year’s team defeated Wynne 28-23, giving Valley View its first victory over the Yellowjackets on the way to a perfect regular season.
While Valley View had significant losses to graduation, the Blazers are off to another strong start. They have won three in a row, including lopsided victories over Paragould (52-13) and Forrest City (47-8) to start their 5A-East schedule.
Valley View opened a 40-0 halftime lead last week at Forrest City.
“It just seemed like everything worked. I felt like we ran the ball effectively and we could throw it when we wanted to,” Cockrell said. “Defensively we just flew around, played really well. I think they only had one first down in the first half. I just felt good about everything, special teams as well.”
The Blazers continued to spread the ball around Friday with six different players reaching the end zone. Cockrell said Valley View has had 16 different players score and the Blazers have had a non-offensive touchdown in every game, three on interception returns and two on blocked punts.
Quarterback Zak Stracener has completed 62 percent of his passes for 914 yards and eight touchdowns. Aedan Huntsman is the top receiver with 33 receptions for 500 yards and three touchdowns.
Eight different Blazers have scored a rushing touchdown. Jeb Rapert leads Valley View with 258 yards and seven touchdowns on 56 carries.
Linebacker Cooper Lutz is Valley View’s top tackler with 28 and also leads the team with three interceptions. Nose guard Eli Lassiter has 24 tackles and has blocked two punts.