CABOT (2-1) at CONWAY (3-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Centennial Bank Field at John McConnell Stadium
Something you should know: The teams will be playing for the third time in 13 games. Cabot defeated Conway twice last season, 38-21, and 38-7 in the 7A playoffs.
The keys: It’s a confrontation of contrasting styles, which puts execution at a premium. Conway must match Cabot’s physical strength. Cabot has a problem with Conway’s overall speed.
The skinny: Even though it’s the 7A/6A Central opener, it projects as one of the pivotal game in the conference season. With three straight victories and a team that is packing a punch in Clint Ashcraft’s offense, the Wampus Cats should be a more confident team than either of the two that played Cabot last season. The Wampus Cats have not defeated the Panthers since 2006. This is one of their best shots.
HARRISON (2-1) AT GREENBRIER (3-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: John Hawks Field at Don Jones Stadium
Something you should know: Harrison has traditionally been a major nemesis for the Panthers. Greenbrier hasn’t defeated the Goblins since 1997. The Goblins handed the Panthers one of their four losses last season, 35-20.
The keys: For Harrison, which was routed 35-0 by Van Buren last week, must contain the Panthers’ one-two offensive duo of quarterback Neal Burcham and running back Hunter Winston. No team has done it yet this season.
The skinny: It’s the conference opener for both teams, which is always a critical game in the tough 5A-West. This figures to be almost a must-win game for the Panthers at home if they intend to contend for the conference championship. To be competitive, Harrison needs to show a more potent and consistent offense against a Greenbrier team that is only yielding an average of 11 points per game.
HUNTSVILLE (2-1) AT VILONIA (3-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Centennial Bank Field at Phillip D. Wever Stadium
Something you should know: Vilonia, technically, has not played a road game. The Eagles opened against Sylvan Hills at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, a neutral site. This will be their third straight game at Weaver Stadium.
The keys: Vilonia has proved to be an efficient and opportunistic team with Drew Knowles guiding a multi-faceted double-wing offense. Huntsville, a 4A team last year, is returning to 5A after consecutive 4A playoff berths. The Huntsville Eagles have gotten off to a good start in 5A but now must match the intensity of what appears to be a top-level 5A-West team.
The skinny: Huntsville is very young, staring sometimes seven sophomores on both sides of the ball. It’s a home game Vilonia needs to win to launch a challenge at the top level of 5A-West. Huntsville figures to have problems stopping the Vilonia offense if the hosting Eagles don’t give them much.
TWO RIVERS (1-0, 1-2) at CONWAY CHRISTIAN (1-0, 2-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Mission Field, Conway Christian
Something you should know: It’s Centennial Bank Night at CCS. The financial institution will donate to the school $300 per touchdown scored by the Eagles.
The keys: For the Eagles, who won 36-34 last year, it’s containing the Gators’ Blake Noales, who lines up at a variety of positions. For the Gators, it’s containing the Eagles’ one-two running punch of Bates Isom, who rushed for a school record 306 yards last week, and Adam Ragland.
The skinny: A key early season matchup for the pecking order in 5-2A. It was a high-scoring game last season. It figures to be again.
MAYFLOWER (0-3) AT RIVERVIEW (1-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Something you should know: The Raiders will be the second 3A team Mayflower has played after the Eagles opened the season with opponents from 4A (Dumas), 5A (Greenbrier) and Glen Rose of 3A.
The keys: Mayflower must develop a more balanced attack and contain Riverview running back Josh Roach.
The skinny: The teams are ranked back-to-back by Hootens.com (Riverview 27th and Mayflower 28th). The conference opener for both teams is important for two teams struggling for identity and each picked in the middle of the pack in 2-3A.