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Tight race in 6A East shaping up

by Tony Burns | October 19, 2021 at 9:30 p.m.

It’s crunch time in the 6A East football race. El Dorado travels to take on league-leading Sylvan Hills on Friday. The Bears are the defending league champions and have won six games in a row. They’re 6-1 overall and 4-0 in conference, tied with Jonesboro.

The Wildcats, winners of two straight, are 5-2 and a game behind at 3-1 in league play.

Crunching numbers rarely tells the tale of what’s about to happen on a football field. For instance, El Dorado upended Pine Bluff 70-38 in a mercy-rule beat down two weeks ago. Sylvan Hills edged those same Zebras 35-30 about a month ago.

Explain those numbers.

“Just turnovers,” answered El Dorado coach Steven Jones. “I think Pine Bluff had one of their better games offensively. Sylvan Hills put the ball on the ground a few times. When Pine Bluff plays well, they can play with anybody in the state, when they’re not getting behind the sticks on penalties and turnovers and things like that.

“You can’t compare scores with anybody. In Class 6A, whether it’s the East or the West, top to bottom, the majority of the teams in the division are competitive. Sylvan Hills is in the top tier of those teams.”

The Bears lost their season opener to Maumelle 31-21. Since, they own wins over Little Rock Central (30-0), Jacksonville (50-29), Pine Bluff (35-30), Marion (24-10), West Memphis (35-21) and Sheridan (28-6).

“You look at their record, they have put up a good amount of points this season,” said Jones. “Defensively, I don’t feel like they’re quite as explosive as they were last year. Their secondary last year was one of the best I’ve seen in years. I think they fell off just a little bit when those guys graduated.

“But, overall as far as their team goes, they can beat anybody any given night. They’re very competitive. They play very hard. Chris Hill is a great football coach that will have his team ready. Our focus is solely on them and putting ourselves in the best chance possible to have a chance to win a conference championship.”

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