By John R. Schirmer
Last year, they met in the state semifinals. Friday night, Pea Ridge and Nashville will face each other again, this time in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs at Scrapper Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Scrappers won last year’s meeting 42-20 on their way to a 15-0 season and the state 4A championship. They are 11-0 for the current season and ranked number one in Class 4A by most polls going into the rematch.
“This is probably the top Week 2 match-up in the state,” Scrapper Coach Mike Volarvich said Monday. Pea Ridge has a good football team.”
The Blackhawks are ranked in the top 5 in most Class 4A polls. They are 10-1 overall and finished 6-1 in District 1-4A. Their only loss came against conference champion Prairie Grove.
Pea Ridge has a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator, Volarvich said. “They’re a different team than last year.
Nashville advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 49-7 win over Dover last week.
Pea Ridge defeated Arkadelphia 30-24 to secure a berth in this week’s game. Arkadelphia led 24-17 in the third quarter but gave up 2 touchdowns in the fourth and fumbled the ball at its own 19-yardline late in the game.
The Blackhawks defeated Shiloh Christian “pretty convincingly,” Volarvich said, earlier in the season. Their seniors never lost to the Saints.
Head Coach Stephen Neal went to Pea Ridge from Oklahoma, where his teams “won a bunch of games,” Volarvich said.
Running backs Zaine Holley (5-8, 180) and Drew Wynn (5-11, 170) “play extremely hard,” Volarvich said. “Both are 1,000-yard backs.”
Pea Ridge is “a good running team,” Volarvich said.
Quarterback Jakota Sainsbury (5-11, 180) returns from last year’s team. He’s passed for more than 1,000 this season.
Sainsbury’s main receiver is Hayden Holtgrewe (6-1, 160). He’s made 50 catches for 1,000 yards, Volarvich said.
Pea Ridge averages 39 points per game and gives up 16 points per game.
The Scrappers are averaging 57 points per game and giving up 26.
Quarterback Tyler Hanson has completed 128 of 183 passes for 2,418 yards, 33 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Ty Pettway has 33 catches for 721 yards and 12 touchdowns. Darius Hopkins has run the ball 152 times for 1,788 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Hunter White is Nashville’s leading tackler with 107 total tackles, including 20 tackles for losses.
Nashville is 80-29 overall in the state playoffs. Pea Ridge is 8-16.