Faulkner County has six teams that play either high school or college football.
Going into this weekend, five have a chance to at least share a conference championship. All six have a shot at postseason playoffs.
It’s "crunch-time, separation weekend" everywhere with the most significant showdown games of the season.
Unfortunately for Faulkner County fans, most are on the road.
Here’s a capsule summary of the excitement ahead:
CONWAY HIGH AT GREENWOOD: The Wampus Cats will try to end the 32-game winning streak by Greenwood, which has made the jump from 5A to 7A/6A Central with gusto. The Bulldogs, who host the Cats, are the only remaining team undefeated in conference play. They already drop to 6A for the state playoffs. But they are going for an outright 7A/6A Central title and a victory over Conway will put them on the downhill slide for that. The Cats have pretty much wrapped up at least a No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the 7A playoffs. A victory over Greenwood would not only give be a benchmark win but could produce a tri-championship in the conference with Greenwood and Fort Smith Southside.
GREENBRIER AT ALMA: The undefeated Panthers take on the once-beaten Airedales in a game that will set the stage for next week and beyond. Greenbrier, Alma, Morrilton and Vilonia will be the top four teams in the league; the next two weeks will determine playoff seeding. If the Panthers defeat Alma, they will play for the outright title the next Thursday in the Judge’s Cup game against Vilonia. An Alma victory will create chaos for playoff seeding.
VILONIA AT HUNTSVILLE: The Eagles still have an outside chance of sharing for a conference title and can control part of that since Greenbrier is left on the schedule. Alma and Morrilton must lose against once more and Greenbrier controls part of that.
MAGNET COVE AT CONWAY CHRISTIAN: It’s the only showdown game played in the county. Friday, the Eagles host the undefeated conference leaders in one of the biggest games in their young history as an Arkansas Activities Association member. CCS and Magnet Cove are the only unbeaten teams remaining in 2A-5. If the Eagles win, they will play Bigelow, probably with one conference defeat, the next Thursday for an outright conference title and the league’s No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. If CCS loses, the Eagles will likely play Bigelow for the No. 2 playoff seed.
UCA AT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA: The Lions, at 3-0, are the only undefeated team left in the Southland Conference race, However, Southeastern still has all of the current top teams in the league (UCA, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin) still to play. The Bears (4-1) have their bye week at the end of the conference season and thus, have one fewer league game remaining than anyone else. No. 1, a UCA victory would assure that the Bears would play Northwestern State in their SLC finale next week with at least a share of the title on the line. No. 2, a UCA win would create a chaotic situation at the top of the league among the Bears, Lions, SFA and Sam Houston State. No. 3, a UCA victory would mean the Bears would have to win one of their last two games to secure seven Division I victories, which would place in the Bears in the top pool for an NCAA FCS at-large position for the playoffs.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)