North Little Rock will travel to Little Rock Southwest this Friday in a 7A-Central Conference game.
The winless Gryphons look to be just the balm the ‘Cats need after taking a 38-10 loss to Conway last Friday.
Technically Southwest is 1-4 this season but only because Little Rock Parkview forfeited its season-opening victory and Southwest, now in its second year after Fair and McClellan were consolidated, has yet to win a game on the field the past two seasons.
Southwest is one of three winless teams in the conference this year and joins Central and Catholic but in a storyline worth watching, which of those teams wins against each other matters a great deal. With the Arkansas Activities Association realigning next year, they’re classifying public schools first and then adding in privates based on enrollment plus competitiveness to create unbalanced conferences.
In the other classes, it will mean Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian will be in 6A next season, while smaller powerhouses Shiloh Christian and Harding Academy will each be bumped up one class to, respectively, 5A and 4A.
That leaves Catholic and they’ll stay in 7A football only if they go 5-5, still not possible but not probable or if they go to the playoffs.
As it stands now, Jonesboro and Fort Smith Northside will be in the same conference next season, but only if Catholic makes the playoffs. If they don’t, the Rockets are, in essence, relegated to 6A, and that will push Northside to the 7A-West for football, and it will have nine teams, while the 7A-Central remains intact but adds Jonesboro to stay at eight.
Since Catholic, Central and Southwest have yet to play each other, it is all in limbo and Central and Catholic play each other in the regular season finale.
As for last Friday’s game, Conway dominated from the start.
At the half, the Wampus Cats were up 28-3 and in complete control.
The North Little Rock defense, that had given minus 24 yards rushing in the three previous games, saw Conway run up and over the field as the Wampus Cats gained 200 yards on the ground.
The loss overshadowed the gritty effort of junior quarterback Malachi Gober, who was like a weeble and got wobbled but didn’t fall down.
Gober rushed for a touchdown, and also passed for 193 yards in the loss. At the halfway point of the season, he’s now thrown for 851 yards this year.
Johnny Lewis was Gober’s leading target with four catches for 64 yards while Torrance Moore led the ground game with 50 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Kicker Devin Jackson got North Little Rock on the scoreboard with a 21 yard field goal, to make it 7-3 with :37 remaining in the first quarter.
North Little Rock (4-1, 1-1) never led in the game and the 'Cats final score came when Gober took it from 10 yards out with :39 remaining in the game.
Conway (4-1, 2-0) finished the game with 380 yards of total offense as the Wampus Cats scored in every quarter.
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Play of the game: North Little Rock was short on offensive highlights but junior quarterback Malachi Gober’s 10-yard run in the fourth quarter and was the ‘Cats only touchdown in the game.
Player of the game: Kicker Devin Jackson put North Little Rock on the scoreboard with a 21-yard field goal and was successful on a fourth quarter extra point.
What’s next: North Little Rock (4-1) travels to Little Rock Southwest (1-4*) 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
Friday, Oct. 8: North Little Rock at Little Rock Southwest
Friday, Oct. 15: Little Rock Catholic at North Little Rock
Friday, Oct. 22: Fort Smith Northside at North Little Rock
Friday, Oct. 29: North Little Rock at Bryant
Friday, Nov. 5: North Little Rock at Cabot
All games kickoff at 7 p.m. unless noted
7A-Central standingsSchool ... Conf. ... OverallCabot ... 2-0 ... 5-0Bryant ... 2-0 ... 4-1Conway ... 2-0 ... 4-1Fort Smith Northside ... 1-1 ... 5-1North Little Rock ... 1-1 ... 4-1Little Rock Catholic ... 0-2 ... 0-5Little Rock Central ... 0-2 ... 0-5Little Rock Southwest ... 0-2 ... 1-4**Win by forfeit
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)
Have any additions to this list? Email us at Arkansas@substack.com