Two teams in nearby school districts will play in football for the first time to help open the season in Arkansas tonight.
Vilona, a member of 5A-West, and Sylvan Hills, a member of 5A-East, will begin a rivalry in the First Security High School Classic at 5:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Pulaski Academy and Central Arkansas Christian will meet in the second game of the doubleheader, co-hosted by 103.7 FM The Buzz and ArkansasSports360.
Both teams were playoffs teams last season. The Eagles return several experienced players. The Bears have one of their youngest teams in years, eight players with varsity experience.
The Bears return most of their experience on offense,
Sylvan Hills runs a double-slot offense.
"It’s a different offense than played against in our scrimmages (Rogers and Mayfloer), and we’ll have to adapt," said Vilonia coach Jim Stanley. "But we’ve been to so many college camps and team camps that there isn’t much that our kids haven’t seen. In two-and-days and preseason, we’ve gone against different types of offenses and defenses."
Both teams utilize smash-mouth running attacks.
The Eagles have one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in 5A in Drew Knowles. He’ll have a potent back in the double-wing attack with James Sax, Trey Lewis and Zac Mitchell, all of whom have experience.
"The kids are a hard-working group, but we have a long way to go," Stanley said.
"We’ve got to cut down on mistakes but this has a chance to be a pretty good group."
After Monday’s game, the Eagles will have off until Sept. 10, when they host Wynne.