Football: North Little Rock hosts Fort Smith Southside this Friday as playoffs start

Under first-year coach Randy Sandefur, North Little Rock achieved one of its its goals, making the state playoffs that start this Friday when the ‘Cats host Fort Smith Southside.

Sandefur, previously a career assistant at the school, has been a driving force in North Little Rock’s longest sustained run of excellence as the ‘Cats look to play in a sixth consecutive state championship game in December.

But first up is Southside, formerly known as the Rebels, and are now the Mavericks. A team that went 2-8 in the regular season and limps into the postseason as the No. 6 seed from the 7A-West.

Southside and North Little Rock had three common opponents during the season in Northside, Fayetteville and Springdale Har-Ber. All were losses for Southside and wins for the ‘Cats.

The winner of Southside-North Little Rock will travel to Bentonville, the No. 2 seed from the 7A-West and as the No. 3 seed from the 7A-Central, North Little Rock is on the same side of the bracket as conference and defending state champ Bryant, and that would be a semifinals matchup.

To view the bracket, click here.

North Little Rock earned its way to the No. 3 seed last Friday with a thrilling 41-26 win at Cabot.

The ‘Cats won the game in all three phases — offense, defense, special teams — as the team put together a complete performance.

Offensively, it was junior quarterback Malachi Gober who led the with 199 passing yards and two touchdowns, one on the ground, while running back Javonte Harris had two touchdowns on the ground, and 79 yards rushing. The leading receiver was Jiquori Stewart: with seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

The defense was responsible for two scores, both interception returns with pick-6s from Tavion Akins and Davian Vayson.

Vayson’s interception return came late in the fourth quarter to set the final margin and ended Cabot’s hopes of comeback.

On special teams, North Little Rock kicker Devin Jackson was a perfect 5-of-5 on extra points.

  • Get the complete breakdown on stats by clicking here.

Paid subscriptions make this reporting possible

Subscribe if you like, pay if you can

North Little Rock 41, Cabot 26 | Game Sketch

  • Player of the game: The North Little Rock defense had two interception returns for scores.  Also noteworthy, quarterback Malachi Gober passed for 199 yards and now has 1,583 yards this season.

  • Kicker shoutout: Kicker Devin Jackson was a perfect 5-of-5 on extra point attempts.

  • What’s next: North Little Rock (8-2) hosts Fort Smith Southside (2-8) this Friday in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.


  • 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

  • Nov. 5: North Little Rock 41, Cabot 26

  • Friday, Nov. 12: Fort Smith Southside at North Little Rock | First round of Class 7A playoffs

7A-Central playoff seedings

School ... Conf. ... Overall

  1. Bryant ... 7-0 ... 9-1 (First-round bye)

  2. Conway ... 6-1 ... 8-2 (First-round bye)

  3. North Little Rock ... 5-2 ... 8-2

  4. Cabot ... 4-3 ... 7-3

  5. Fort Smith Northside ... 3-4 ... 7-3

  6. Little Rock Catholic ... 2-5 ... 3-7

» Click here for the #HighSchoolCats





Have any additions to this list? Email us at