Greenbrier and Conway White are on course for a meaningful Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game on Thursday.
Conway White (3-1, 1-0) got back on the winning track, after beating rival Vilonia 34-20 in the teams’ North division opener. Searcy, a preseason favorite to win the North division, defeated Greenbrier 14-12 last week.
The Junior Panthers (2-2, 0-1) have beaten Conway White the past two years on their way to a division championship, so coach Trent Mallett wouldn’t mind going on the road into Don Jones Stadium to pick up another conference win.
"Greenbrier and Vilonia both have beaten us the past couple of years," Mallett said. "Vilonia had that (James) Sax kid who ran over us last year. We’ve been pretty down the past years in numbers. Most of our players have to go both ways. We have to start back getting wins in this conference."
Greenbrier appeared to have pulled the upset last week over the Cubs, but a long touchdown run by Jesse May, who scored their other two touchdowns on runs, was called back with under two minutes left to go in the game. Greenbrier coach Blake Benton is expecting this Conway White-Greenbrier game to come down to the wire as well.
"If we can stop their quarterback, No. 5, and that (Brandon) Cox kid, then we’ll have a chance to win," Benton said. "It’s going to be a big game. They’re 1-0 and we’re 0-1. They’re looking for a win and we’re looking for a win. We had a good week of practice, so I feel good about it. If we play like we did last week then we’re more than capable of winning."
CONWAY WHITE 34
Conway White’s Brandon Cox and Timothy Boyd scored each one of the Kittens’ five touchdowns, capitalizing off three second half turnovers.
"We did a hard job of stopping their offense in the first half," Mallett said. "In the second half, we were able to get those turnovers, so that help. Coach (Todd) Kendrick put together a good game plan at halftime, and our defense came out and played much better."
For the Junior Eagles (1-3, 0-1), Daniel Shipp and Jake Stewart scored on runs of 42 and 1 yards in the first half. Vilonia’s second half touchdown came on a 27-yard pass from Kyle White to Houston Cotton.
"We made a complete turnaround on offense from the week before," Vilonia coach Michael Stout said. "We were able to move the ball. We had about 250 yards of offense against Conway White, compared to 70 yards the week before. Those three turnovers really was the difference in the ball game because that turned into 21 points for them."
Vilonia’s Michael Atkins and Brian Ayers led the team in tackles.
"Our kids play hard," Stout said. "We knew that we we’re gonna have to control the ball and we did that for the most part. I was very pleased with our offense from tight end to tight end. Now we have to get ready for a tough Morrilton team."
Searcy beat Greenbrier 16-6 in eighth-grade football action last week.
"We got beat on a long pass and they ran a kickoff back for a touchdown," Greenbrier coach Clint Shadwick said. "Overall, our defense played well. They just had that one fluke pass play."
Greenbrier’s Grant White and Kevin Reynolds connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Trevor Nystorm and Dalton Griesemer were the defensive standouts.
The Greenbrier seventh- grade White Team defeated Morrilton 16-12 last week.
Josh Walker scored the first touchdown on a quarterback keeper from five yards out. Connor Thompson scored the extra point. Walker scored again on a bootleg keep, and extra point. Zach Alleman made a big catch on a 40-yard throw from Walker. Defensive standouts were Nathan Allbritton, Mitchell Eakin, Hunter Goss, Ryan Baker, Tyler Bush, Greg Taylor, Tristan Cochran and Kyler Gamelin.
Greenbrier’s seventh-grade Blue Team also defeated Morrilton 30-0 last week.
Greenbrier’s Cole Shaw scored the first touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Dylan McDearmon. Ryan McKnight scored the extra point. McDearmon scored the next touchdown on a quartback keeper. Michael Spainhour scored the extra point. Cole Shaw scored the next touchdown on a 40-yard reverse run. Will Drewry scored the extra point. Dearmon scored again on a 55-yard run. Defensive standouts were Michael Spainhour, Caleb Wunstell, Jordan Pearson, Carson Matthews, Ethan Edwards, Samuhel Colbert, and Kayden Kinder.
Conway White at Greenbrier, 7 p.m. (featured Game of the Week)
Bryant at Conway Blue, 7 p.m.
Vilonia at Morrilton, 7 p.m.
Mayflower at Brinkley, 7 p.m.
Quitman at Conway Christian, 7 p.m.
• Eighth grade games start at 5:30.