Arkansas' best high school football teams, preseason players of the year and games to watch.
Arkansas Preseason Top 10
1. Har-Ber Wildcats (Springdale)
Nine starters return, including heralded senior defensive lineman Josh Frazier. Offensive tackle Isaac Johnson and defensive end Jake Hall also have major college offers. Senior quarterback Kyle Pianalto completed 123-of-214 passes for 1,903 yards and 26 touchdowns last fall.
2. Bentonville Tigers
A solid cast of returnees for the Tigers includes senior tight end Jack Kraus, who has committed to Arkansas, and junior offensive tackle Ean Pfeifer, who had 26 knockdown blocks last fall.
3. North Little Rock Charging Wildcats
Coach Brad Bolding says this could be the fastest team he’s had. The program received a boost in the offseason with two transfers — senior linebacker Tim Quickel and junior utility back K.J. Hill.
4. Southside Rebels (Fort Smith)
The Rebels are led by athletic senior quarterback Isaac Jackson and his younger brother, Ian, a junior linebacker.
5. Cabot Panthers
The Panthers improved to 6-5 last season after finishing 3-7 in 2011. Five three-year starters return to the offensive line.
6. Fayetteville Bulldogs
The two-time defending Class 7A state champions could start as many as 16 underclassmen, including several promising linemen.
7. Greenwood Bulldogs
Greenwood is seeking to become the first Arkansas school to capture four-consecutive state championships since 1989.
8. Conway Wampus Cats
The Wampus Cats return 11 starters, seven on defense. Junior kicker Matt “Thunderfoot” Cummins is one of the state’s best.
9. West Memphis Blue Devils
West Memphis had won or shared eight consecutive conference championships before tying for third last fall.
10. Jonesboro Golden Hurricane
The program continues to flourish under alum Randy Coleman. Defensive lineman Chuks Ota headlines nine returning starters.
Three Can't Miss Matchups
9.6 – Webb City (Mo.) at Har-Ber
Webb City, which won last year’s meeting 30-15, is riding a 45-game winning streak.
9.27 – Har-Ber at Bentonville
Caps a brutal four-game stretch for Bentonville, which has beaten Har-Ber five consecutive times.
10.25 – Greenwood at Fort Smith Southside
This may be the toughest regular-season test for Greenwood, which has a 38-game winning streak.
2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Jabe Burgess, QB, Greenwood
Senior, 6-2, 200
Burgess, a Tulsa commit, made a seamless transition from backup to starter, completing 219-of-296 passes for 3,128 yards and 36 touchdowns last fall for the Class 6A champion. He is the cousin of former Greenwood and Arkansas star Tyler Wilson.
2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Bijhon Jackson, DT, El Dorado
Senior, 6-2, 320
Jackson was a starter as a sophomore on El Dorado’s Class 6A state championship team in 2011. The Arkansas commit had six sacks last fall and also won the state weightlifting title in April, bench-pressing 385 pounds and power-cleaning a record 335 pounds.
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