By John R. Schirmer
Last week, the Nashville Scrappers traveled more than four hours to Northeast Arkansas and came home with a 37-7 win over Pocahontas in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
This week, they’ll load up and again travel more than four hours, this time to Northwest Arkansas for a quarterfinal match-up at Elkins (10-1). The Elks are the champions of District 1-4A.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m Friday, Nov. 25.
“It will be another long trip,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “Elkins has a really good football team. Their only loss came in Week 2” to Charleston, a team whom Nashville defeated 27-19 earlier in the season. Charleston defeated the Elks 42-22.
Since that game on Sept. 9, Elkins has pulled up nine straight victories, including a 63-27 win over Ashdown Nov. 18.
“Elkins has been playing really good football as of late. They’re unbeaten in conference,” Volarvich said.
The Elks are averaging 50 points per game while giving up 16 per game. They’ve scored at least 60 points twice, Volarvich said. Two weeks ago, they defeated Lincoln 77-20.
Elkins has “a really good quarterback,” according to Volarvich. They also have “explosive running back who was last year’s 100-m state champion.
“We’re going to have to play with great energy and have great effort” against the Elks, Volarvich said. “Obviously, we have to low their offensive attack.”
Additionally, the Scrappers “willl have to continue to make plays on offense. We’ll have to handle the long trip and keep playing with intensity.”
With the Nashville School District out all this week for Thanksgiving, the Scrappers are having morning practices. They hit the field at 10 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 23).
On Thanksgiving Day Thursday, the team will practice at 9 a.m.
The schedule will give the players “more time to do what they want to do” during the break, Volarvich said. “We’ll get our work done in the mornings, and they’ll have evenings off.”
The Scrappers are 9-3 overall, including playoff wins over Bauxite and Pocahontas.
Practicing and playing during Thanksgiving has become a benchmark for Scrapper teams going back to the days of the late Coach Billy Laird.
“If you’re still playing on Turkey Day, you’re a pretty dad-gum good football team,” Laird was fond of saying.