Run the football, and stop the run. Sounds easy.
The task may sound simple for the Conway Wampus Cats, but facing, and defeating the Bentonville Tigers at their stadium is far from simple.
That is what the Wampus Cats must do in order to keep their dreams of a state championship alive.
"Sounds easy," Conway head coach Clint Ashcraft said. "But knowing what to do and going out there and doing it is different."
Conway beat Springdale Har-Ber on Friday 52-42 for the right to go to Bentonville to face the Tigers in the semifinals, meaning the winner will take on the other semifinals winner between North Little Rock and Cabot for the 7A state championship. The Tigers have been in that game in each of the last three years, but have come up short in recent years. The Wampus Cats haven’t been to a championship game since 1993.
The Wampus Cats got an exceptional performance from quarterback Breylin Smith who threw for more than 300 yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers got a career night from running back Dylan Smith who rushed for 285 in a 45-13 win over Fort Smith Southside.
Ashcraft said Smith isn’t their only concern.
"They used to have just two that you could concentrate on," Ashcraft said. "Now they spread the ball around to several different ones."
Ashcraft said the Tigers are the normal, big up front on both sides of the ball type team that has bowled over opponents in the past. His team has played well up front on both sides.
No matter the reputation, Ashcraft said his players refuse to be intimidated.
"Our kids have a lot of confidence," Ashcraft said. "We just have to play well up front, and keep them out of second and short situations, and try to put them behind the sticks on first down, and run the ball well on offense."
Do that and the Wampus Cats can likely punch their ticket to War Memorial Stadium.
Sounds simple enough.