The math is pretty simple for North Little Rock this week.
Beat Cabot on Friday, and the ‘Cats are the No. 3 seed from the 7A-Central and have a home game when the playoffs start Nov. 12.
A loss would still get North Little Rock a home game, but, perhaps, an easier path through the playoffs, but more on that in a bit, as the ‘Cats look to play in a sixth consecutive state championship game this December.
Cabot and North Little Rock have identical 7-2 overall records and are 4-2 in the conference. Both have lost to Bryant and Conway, as those two schools play this Friday to decide the conference championship.
The winner of North Little Rock-Cabot would host the winner of Fort Smith Southside and Springdale, two venerable programs that have both seen better days. Each school is 1-8 overall.
This Friday’s loser will most likely host Springdale Har-Ber in the first round. North Little Rock beat Har-Ber, 58-28, on Sept. 3. The winner of that game would get the 7A-West champ in the second round, and that would most likely mean a trip to Fayetteville, another team North Little Rock beat in the non-conference portion of the regular season.
That win was on Sept. 10 and the final score was 14-7.
The semi finals are when things get really interesting, assuming the Central keeps up its dominating run against the West. That’s when the No.3 seed would play the Conference champ, while the 4 seed would play the runner-up in the third round.
Winning is, as always, the most important thing though.
To view the bracket, click here.
Last Friday, North Little Rock hung tough against Bryant, the defending 7A state champs, in a 24-12 loss.
North Little Rock never led in the game but it was 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, and 14-6 at the half.
That lone touchdown was a 57-yard bomb from quarterback Malachi Gober to Jiquori Stewart with 3:38 remaining in the quarter. The Devin Jackson extra point was blocked by the Bryant defense to prevent the tie.
North Little Rock’s last touchdown came in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and again it was Gober, but this time he found Johnny Lewis for 16 yards with 2:13 remaining in the game. North Little Rock’s two-point try was no good and that set the final margin.
In addition to the two touchdowns, Gober threw for 104 yards in the loss. Running back Torrance Moore was again the team’s leading rusher with 125 yards on 18 carries, and Stewart and Lewis both had two catches each.
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Play of the game: North Little Rock’s Malachi Gober hit Jiquori Stewart for a 57-yard bomb to give the ‘Cats its first score of the game.
Player of the game: Gober passed for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the win and now has 1,384 yards this season.
Kicker (and punter) shoutout: Kicker Devin Jackson’s lone extra point attempt was blocked but he also punted and averaged on 41.2 yards on six tries.
What’s next: North Little Rock (7-2) travels to Cabot (7-2) this Friday.
Aug. 27: North Little Rock 38, El Dorado 28 (Scrimmage)
Sept. 3: North Little Rock 58, Springdale Har-Ber 28
Sept. 10: North Little Rock 14, Fayetteville 7
Sept. 17: North Little Rock 41, West Memphis 0
Sept. 24: North Little Rock 35, Little Rock Central 6
Oct. 1: Conway 38, North Little Rock 10
Oct. 8: North Little Rock 62, Little Rock Southwest 14
Friday, Oct. 15: North Little Rock 42, Little Rock Catholic 7
Friday, Oct. 22: North Little Rock 28, Fort Smith Northside 21
Oct. 29: Bryant 24, North Little Rock 12
Friday, Nov. 5: North Little Rock at Cabot
Friday, Nov. 12: Playoffs
All games kickoff at 7 p.m. unless noted
7A-Central standingsSchool ... Conf. ... OverallBryant ... 6-0 ... 8-1Conway ... 6-0 ... 8-1Cabot ... 4-2 ... 7-2North Little Rock ... 4-2 ... 7-2Fort Smith Northside ... 2-4 ... 6-4Little Rock Catholic ... 1-5 ... 1-8Little Rock Southwest ... 1-5 ... 1-8Little Rock Central ... 0-6 ... 0-9
Carlos Gordon, Arkansas Tech
Tobias Enlow, Central Arkansas
Dwain Hunt, Central Arkansas
Jaden Salley, Central Arkansas
Dennis Carroll, Harding
Frederick O’Donald, Henderson State
Jordan Owens, Henderson State
Mason Carlan, Air Force
Slayten Clark, Dodge City Community College (Kansas)
Chris Jefferson, Dodge City Community College (Kansas)
Damon Ball, Jackson State University
Drew Martin, Memphis
Brandon Thomas, Memphis
Tony Collier, New Mexico
Oscar Addaway, North Texas State
David Chapple, North Texas State
Kareame Cotton, Northwestern State
Jaylon Glosson, Northwestern State
Erin Smith, SMU
K.J. Hill, L.A. Chargers
Martrell Spaight, Mass. Pirates (Indoor football league)
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