By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville Scrappers will make the long bus trek to frigid Northeast Arkansas Friday, Nov. 18, to meet Pocahontas in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with game time temperatures expected to be in the low- to mid-20s.
“Obviously, Pocahontas is a really good football team,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “They’re 10-1, with the only loss against Nettleton from 5A.”
The Redskins have the state’s all-time leading touchdown scorer in quarterback Connor Baker, 6-0, 198 pounds. “He runs hard and picks up yards after contact,” Volarvich said.
Pocahontas is “a big, physical team. They’re very well coached. They have several guys 300 pounds or more,” according to Volarvich. “There’s a big linebacker and running back who’s 225-230.”
The Scrappers (8-3 overall) “will have to play good football Friday night,” Volarvich said.
Pocahontas is slightly more than four hours from Nashville, but the bus trip likely will take five to six hours “by the time we get off and eat,” Volarvich said.
In addition to the distance, “Weather will be another factor. We’ll have to deal with the mental aspect of being cold. We’ll have to go out an dplay in it.”
Volarvich said the Scrappers have had “a fairly warm season. Now, the weather will go from the 80s to the 20s in a week with no cool down. Pocahontas will have to play in it, too.”
Coaches have talked to the team about the playoffs this week, Volarvich said. “We told them that the best teams at handling playoff conditions, the weather, bumps and bruises, and the long season are the teams that are successful.”
The Scrappers were excited Monday as practice for the second week of the playoffs began, Volarvich said. They had a film session and worked in the weight room before a short practice session.
“They’re excited about the opportunity to play,” Volarvich said.
The Scrappers have faced Pocahontas twice in the playoffs since the early 1990s. They defeated the Redskins 39-7 at Pocahontas in 1993 on their way to Nashville’s first appearance in the state finals at War Memorial Stadium.
In 1998, Pocahontas came to Scrapper Stadium, where Nashville won 41-20.