As conference play gets set to kick off around the Natural State tonight, there is a big game with a lot on the line that will be played in South Arkansas. This is a game that has a week 10 feel about it, but obviously, is being played in week four.
Regardless of when this game would have been played this year, it would have been a game with a lot riding on the line, as it could potentially decide the winner of the stout 6A South conference.
Tonight, is the Battle of the Wildcats, as #1 ranked Watson Chapel will travel to take on #2 ranked El Dorado.
These two teams met twice last season, once in the regular season, and again in the playoffs, with El Dorado winning both games convincingly. The first game was played to a 49-14 mark, and the second being played to a 49-22 mark. El Dorado would march on to play in the 6A State Championship game, but would come up short, and lose to Lake Hamilton 42-28.
Both teams will feature some very solid athletes on both offense and defense. Both teams are undefeated, and know that a victory will earn them statewide respect, and will most likely put them in the driver's seat, propelling themselves one step closer toward the Conference Championship.
But there are some questions that remain about this game. Those questions will be settled on the field tonight, but for now, these are the questions that fans from both towns are asking themselves.
Will Watson Chapel have an answer for El Dorado's James Ford? He has been deadly on both offense and defense. This game breaker is one to watch, and one that Watson Chapel will have to keep an eye on all night, as he has the moves to take the ball to the house on any offensive play, and the ability to disrupt opposing offenses while playing defense.
Will El Dorado have an answer for the C.J. Branch and Kyle Coleman connection? Coleman seems to be Branch's favorite target when Coach Shelton decides to take a shot deep down the field, and they have been successful with this thus far.
Can El Dorado not only shut down the Watson Chapel passing game, but can they do so effectively without giving up big yards to Kevin Johnson, Nycholas Vanderbilt, Aaron Lagrone, Chris Jones, and the rest of Chapel's potent Wishbone backfield?
Speaking of running games, El Dorado's is not too shabby at all either. We have already mentioned James Ford, but El Dorado also has solid runners in Cameron Mchone, Greg Roberson, and DeVinci Grider. How will the Watson Chapel defense respond to the El Dorado rushing attack?
Will Watson Chapel have an answer if Taylor Reed gets a hot hand, and starts passing the ball?
Will El Dorado have an offensive answer if Watson Chapels swarming defense, led by the likes of lineman Robert Moye, linebacker Barry Jackson, defensive back Antonio Jenkins, and a host of others continue to have big nights, and shut down nearly everything thrown at them?
Let's turn that around for a second as well. Will Watson Chapel have an answer for El Dorado's swarming defense?
Both teams have several other quality players who have not been mentioned, who you will also see stand out as the night progresses, but the main thing is that you can tell this is going to be a big time game between two big time teams.
Regardless of tonight's outcome, these two teams are both deep enough in depth, and talented enough across their roster's, that it is very possible that both will go deep in the playoffs. Either one of them could end up in the State Championship, if not both of them, if they happen to be on opposite sides of the bracket from one another.
As stated earlier, though this is only the first week of conference play, this game very well could decide the winner of the 6A south. If you happen to be in the South Arkansas area tonight, this is a game that will be worth checking out. It will kick off at 7:00PM in El Dorado, and ArkansasVarsity.com will be on hand to cover the game!
We feel this game will not be like either of the two games last season between these two teams. We feel that it will be a close game that will go right down to the wire. Regardless of the outcome, you can bet this will be one of the best games in all of Arkansas this week.