Central Arkansas Christian started six freshmen in last week’s 39-20 loss to Bald Knob, and the Mustangs will continue that baptism in the season finale Friday at Stuttgart.
Tommy Shoemaker’s team fell to 2-7 overall and 0-6 in 4A-2 play with its sixth consecutive loss
Stuttgart leads the league standings at 6-0. The Ricebirds are 8-2, having lost to Warren, 47-27; and Hazen, 36-0. They’ve won their last six.
Among CAC’s freshmen starters was quarterback Grayson Wilson, who led the junior Mustangs to a 9-0, conference-championship season. The freshmen are eligible to move up to varsity after the junior high season concludes.
“Our quarterback played unbelievable,” Shoemaker said. “It wouldn’t matter how old he was. He was 20 of 25 (passes) for 238 yards, threw two touchdown passes and ran another one in, so he accounted for all three of our scores.
“He seemed really calm and collected, and he was very accurate throwing the football. That’s one of his biggest attributes.”
The Mustangs pulled within a touchdown but gave up a kickoff return for score.
“I did think we played better; we just didn’t get a win,” Shoemaker said. “And we had our opportunities. That part obviously was disappointing for our seniors.
“But we’ve got one more game, so we’re going to try to finish out strong and do the best we can. We’ll still have that same group of young kids in there. If there’s a positive in this, it’s that they’re getting really good experience for next year.”
Shoemaker said he remembered starting only one other freshman, about 15 years ago.
Stuttgart went 12-1 last year, falling only in the Class 4A state semifinals to Shiloh Christian. Seven starters returned from that team on offense, with nine back on defense. The Ricebirds beat the Mustangs last year, 42-14, and were picked to win the conference by league coaches, according to Hooten’s Arkansas Football’s preseason poll.
“I just want us to play well for our seniors and give a really good effort, and we’ll see what happens,” Shoemaker said. “That’s all we can ask."
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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
Oct. 15: Southside Batesville 59, Central Arkansas Christian 19
Oct. 22: Lonoke 42, Central Arkansas Christian 13
Oct. 29: Bald Knob 39, Central Arkansas Christian 20
Friday, Nov. 5: Central Arkansas Christian at Stuttgart
4A-2 standingsSchool … Conf. … OverallStuttgart ... 6-0 ... 8-2Southside Batesville ... 5-1 ... 7-2Clinton 5-4 … 4-2Lonoke ... 4-2 ... 7-2Heber Springs ...2-4 ... 3-5Little Rock Mills ... 2-4 ... 5-4Bald Knob ... 1-5 ... 1-8Central Arkansas Christian ... 0-6 ... 2-7
Gentry Miller, Arkansas State
Cole Shoemaker, Harding
Brandon Bishop, Henderson State
Jeremiah Wingfield, Ouachita Baptist
Have any additions to this list? Email us at Arkansas@substack.com