Central Arkansas Christian looks to end a three-game losing streak Friday when Southside Batesville visits Mustang Mountain for homecoming.
Tommy Shoemaker’s team (2-4, 0-3 in the 2-4A conference) had a good offensive outing at Heber Springs last week but came up short, 47-26.
“When we came out in the second half and scored to (pull within) 28-20, I felt good about it,” Shoemaker said. “We just couldn’t get any stops. They did a good job, and we didn’t do what we needed to do to get them off the field.”
Heber Springs (2-3-1) racked up 492 yards of offense, including 379 through the air.
CAC senior quarterback Tyler Williams put up big numbers: 186 yards and one score passing and 151 yards and three TDs rushing. Vance Strange IV caught nine passes for 61 yards and one score.
“They both had a good game,” Shoemaker said. “Vance played well on defense. I had not planned on throwing it that much, but it was one of those things where Tyler made some nice plays, and as much as we run the ball, sometimes your passing game opens up. Once we got behind, we had to throw it.”
The Southerners are 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play after knocking off Lonoke in overtime last week, 38-37. Their only conference loss came in the league opener, 21-18 to Stuttgart, which was the preseason favorite. Southside also beat Clinton, 35-20.
CAC lost to Clinton, 50–20, in their conference opener.
The Southerners were picked to finish seventh in the 2-4A, according to Hooten’s Arkansas Football’s preseason poll of league coaches. They finished 2-8 in 2020, including a 21-14 loss to the Mustangs.
Shoemaker said Southside was likely picked low based on the 2020 record.
“But they were competitive last year, even though their record wasn’t good,” he said. “They were close, but they couldn’t get over the hump. We only beat them by a touchdown. But they’re playing well right now. It’ll be a big challenge for us.”
Eight starters from that team returned on each side of the football. Southside runs the Gun T offense and a 3-4 defensive scheme.
“They’re a good football team,” Shoemaker said. “They’ve got a lot of seniors and a lot of experience. They’re going to run the football.”
The Southerners have an experienced quarterback in senior Landen Haas, who ran for the two-point conversion in overtime last week to hand the Jackrabbits their first loss of the season.”
In the 2-4A conference race, Stuttgart is 3-0, ahead of Mills University Studies, Lonoke, Southside and Clinton, all 2-1. Heber Springs is sixth, ahead of CAC and Bald Knob at 0-3.
Shoemaker said he didn’t expect homecoming festivities to affect his team.
“I don’t feel like it’s a huge distraction once we get to practice,” he said.
Keys to a Mustang win?
“To start, we’re going to have to get some stops on defense,” the coach said. “We’ve tried to move a few players around. We’ll get (senior) Isaac Rine back this week after being in the concussion protocol.
“We’re going to have to run the football. That’s what we do, and we’ll mix in some passing game. I hope we’ve got a little confidence there now. I don’t know that I want us to be completely balanced, but when we need to throw it, we need to be able to.”
The Mustangs also need a win.
“It’d be a big one,” Shoemaker said. “It’d be nice to get one at home.”
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Sept. 3: Riverview 41, Central Arkansas Christian 7
Sept. 10: Central Arkansas Christian 55, Carlisle 46
Sept. 17: Central Arkansas Christian 35, Mayflower 34
Sept. 24: Clinton 50, Central Arkansas Christian 20
Oct. 1: Little Rock Mills 60, Central Arkansas Christian 16
Oct. 8: Heber Springs 47, Central Arkansas Christian 26
Friday, Oct. 15: Southside Batesville at Central Arkansas Christian (Homecoming)
Friday, Oct. 22: Central Arkansas Christian at Lonoke
Friday, Oct. 29: Bald Knob at Central Arkansas Christian
Friday, Nov. 5: Central Arkansas Christian at Stuttgart
All games kickoff at 7 p.m. unless noted
4A-2 standingsSchool … Conf. … OverallStuttgart ... 3-0 ... 5-2Clinton ... 2-1 ... 3-3Lonoke ... 2-1 ... 5-1Little Rock Mills ... 2-1 ... 5-1Southside Batesville ... 2-1 ... 4-2Heber Springs ...2-3 ... 1-2Central Arkansas Christian ... 0-3 ... 2-4Bald Knob ... 0-3 ... 0-6
Gentry Miller, Arkansas State
Cole Shoemaker, Harding
Brandon Bishop, Henderson State
Jeremiah Wingfield, Ouachita Baptist
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