Undefeated Scrappers, Badgers to meet Friday in 7-4A opener


    By John R. Schirmer
    News-Leader staff

    One week after defeating Idabel 91-63 in a game lasting 3 1/2 hours, the Scrappers will open the District 7-4A race by taking on Arkadelphia Friday night at Scrapper Stadium.

    Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The start time will be 7 o’clock for all conference games at home or away.

    Both Nashville and Arkadelphia are 3-0 after completing the non-conference portions of their schedules. The Scrappers have wins over Hope, De Queen and Idabel. Arkadelphia defeated Stuttgart, Sheridan and Hot Springs.

    The Badgers “are a really good team. They’ll win a bunch of games. They’re very well coached,” according to Coach Mike Volarvich.

    Arkadelphia is “very sound fundamentally. They play extremely hard and do what they’re coached to do.”

    Volarvich and Badger Coach J.R. Eldridge know each other well facing each other when  Volarvich was offensive coordinator at Henderson State and Eldridge was at Ouachita Baptist.

    The Badgers are “a younger team. Five of the 22 starters are seniors, with 3 on defense and 2 on offense. They have some really good young players,” Volarvich said.

    The youth movement begins with freshman quarterback Cannon Turner (6-0, 170). “He’s one of their better players. They have several other freshmen and sophomores who contribute. The majority of the players are juniors,” Volarvich said.

    The Badgers “aren’t extremely big, but they’re fast. They execute well.

    Players to watch on offense in addition to Turner are running back Tajhan McKenzie (5-8, 180) and receiver Shemar Dickens (5-7, 165), Volarvich said.

    Linebackers Josh Burnham (5-11, 200) and Jack Burnham (6-0, 205) “are two of their better players on defense,” according to Volarvich.

    Defensively, the Badgers are “similar to what Idabel played. Offensively, they’re structured a lot like we are. They’re probably closest to us as far as the offensive scheme as anybody we play,” Volarvich said.

    This week, the Scrappers are “working on what we do. We have a couple banged up after Idabel. It was a long game. They’re tired, and there are some bumps and bruises. We’ll get them treated and healthy and make sure they know the game plan for this week,” Volarvich said.

    Volarvich looks for “an exciting game” against the Badgers. “They’ll bring a lot of people.”