JONESBORO — A big game looms next week for the Valley View Blazers, a trip to Wynne for a meeting of the last two 5A-East conference champions.
First, however, the Blazers have this Friday’s home game against Forrest City and Valley View head coach Sean Cockrell doesn’t expect his team to have any problem getting ready for the Mustangs.
“I think they can see on film that Forrest City has athletes who can stretch the field and go to the house at any time. You’ve got to respect that,” Cockrell said. “Sometimes our kids don’t even know what the records are of other teams. They do know the score of their Tech game, that kind of stuff, but when you see on film that they’re 6-7, 360 and 6-5, 300 on the offensive line on the right side, those are things our kids see.
“They’re not going to take them lightly. I don’t think we’ll have a problem this week getting ready for them.”
Valley View (3-1, 1-0 conference) will look for its fourth consecutive victory when Forrest City (1-3, 0-1) visits Central Dealerships Stadium on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Mustangs gave the Blazers problems when Valley View first moved to 5A in 2014, winning the first three meetings. Valley View has since beaten Forrest City by a combined 151-41 in the last four meetings, including last season’s 47-8 rout on the Mustangs’ home field.
Forrest City defeated Helena-West Helena Central 32-14 a couple of weeks ago, but the Mustangs scored only 14 points combined in losses to Star City, Little Rock Mills and Greene County Tech. GCT beat Forrest City 42-8 last week.
“I think they’re better than they were last year. They’re very big up front on both sides and they’ve got guys who can take it to the house at any time,” Cockrell said. “They have tons of speed at receiver and running back. They try to throw it deep on you, so that’s going to be tough, and defensively they’re going to man you up (in pass coverage) and try to not let you get off the line of scrimmage.
“There are some challenges for us. We just have to be prepared and we have to be able to work the ball down the field. Our run game has to be good and we have to be able to defend the deep pass, and stop their run game.”
Valley View opened 5A-East play with a 35-6 victory at Paragould. With a 35-0 halftime lead, the Blazers used their starters for only a half.
Sophomore quarterback Carson Turley was 4-of-6 passing for 116 yards and a touchdown. Turley also led the Blazers in rushing with 45 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while senior running back Layne Rains also ran for a touchdown.
Defensively, senior Evan Paxton returned an interception for a touchdown and classmate Jaden Wells had a team-high 10 tackles. The Blazers kept the Rams off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter while limiting them to 225 total yards.
“There were times when I felt like we kind of relaxed a little bit and didn’t play exactly like I want us to play as far as the intensity goes,” Cockrell said. “But all in all, up 35-0 at half and you get your backup guys a lot of quality reps, I’ve got to be pleased with that.”