BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
When you start a high school football season, one goal is for the regular season finale to be a meaningful one and that’s certainly the case for the two best teams in the Class 6A West.
Little Rock Christian (8-1, 7-0) will travel to Greenwood (9-0, 7-0) Friday night at 7 p.m. for a winner take all showdown.
Coach Eric Cohu’s Warriors are hoping to end the Bulldogs’ 61-game home winning streak, a week after Greenwood snapped Pulaski Academy’s 86-game home victory one.
“Greenwood is one of the most storied programs, at least in the last 20 to 25 years in Arkansas,” Cohu said. “I think they have 10 straight championships and haven’t lost a home game in about 10 years.
“…So they are a very big opponent, it’s a very big game and it’s for the outright conference championship. Obviously we both want the (number) one seed and its going to be an exciting game.
“It’s going to be an exciting atmosphere and as coaches want we really strive for is this type of game.”
It will be a rematch of Little Rock Christian’s 49-35 win over visiting Greenwood in last season’s regular season finale.
“I think certainly us beating them last year kind of got their juices going and with such a big game on the line right now for seedings and the chance to break that streak, it just has all the components of an outstanding football game,” Cohu said.
The game will feature arguably the best senior quarterback in Arkansas in Little Rock Christian star and Auburn commit Walker White (6-4, 225) and state’s best sophomore Greenwood sophomore Kane Archer.
“I think quarterback play will definitely set the pace, but during any one play there are 22 guys on the field and 21 other guys have a lot to do with it as well,” Cohu said.
“But there is no doubt that the way the game has changed is more quarterback driven. You hear these NFL experts say there are only about five or six guys that are good enough to win a Super Bowl.
“Obviously it is a big position as the game has evolved and changed and whoever plays the best at that position probably puts their team in a great position to win the ballgame.
…Still turnover margin is the number one indicator of wins and losses so we have got to have great ball security and hopefully force some turnovers because I think that will be a big stat at the end of the game.”
White has passed for 1,823 yards and 28 touchdowns with 5 interceptions and rushed for 244 yards and 5 more scores.
In last week’s 55-7 win over Greenbrier was 11 of 15 passing from 228 yards and four TD while also having four carries for 18 yards and another score.
“He has handled the pressure and the exposure at an extremely mature level,” Cohu said. “…These high recruits get a lot of attention at a young age and their is a lot of extra put on them to perform. I think he has handled it really well and step by step has gotten better each year and progressed. I look forward to watching his career progress in college.
“Last year we challenged him to be a better leader and he improved on that and this year we challenged him to just take over games over. Everything we have asked him to do historically to do in his development since the eighth grade on, he has been able to do.
“He’s definitely a great athlete, being 6-4 and 225 and can run and zips the ball real well. But he also has the intangibles and his teammates like him.”
Archer, whose team is averaging over 50 points per game on offense, is coming off a game in which he accounted for eight touchdowns in a 58-33 road win over Pulaski Academy.
That was Pulaski Academy’s first home loss since 2013.
Archer completed 18 of 28 passes for 274 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushed for 76 yards and three more scores while his older brother Cash heads up the defense and has 13 sacks.
Kane Archer has an offer from Arkansas and a plethora of other college programs.
Little Rock Christian has won seven consecutive games since a 43-22 home win to Class 5A power Shiloh Christian on Sept. 1.
The Warriors’ defense has rebounded since then and has allowed just 10 points in its last four games and just 87 all season.
“Our guys, we really took a pounding against Shiloh Christian early in the season, in our second game of the year,” Cohu said. “We really just had to sit down and have really just a come to Jesus meeting and just recalibrate.
“We had to say ‘what is our identity going to be? The players responded to the challenge and from then on we have really played outstanding football on the defensive side of the ball and offensively we have been doing well also.
“We are hitting on all cylinders and we want to keep it that way because now it is crunch time. It is obviously week 10 and then the playoffs are here.”
Cohu doesn’t think ending Greenwood’s home winning streak is high on the minds of his players.
“I think that is kind of secondary in our minds and probably bigger for them to see how long the big mark can go,” Cohu said. “But what it says about Greenwood is just how good a program they are year in and year out. They are always in the mix for a championship for the last couple of decades or more.”