‘Just win, baby, win’
Blue Devils control their own destiny in push to 6A playoffs
West Memphis School District There are no scientific formulas and point systems anymore for the West Memphis Blue Devils in their quest for the postseason.
Since their drop in classification from 7A to 6A, the Blue Devils' conference alignment is 6A all the way. No 7A school are in the 6AEast Conference.
The road to the state playoffs is now simple: Win.
The top 6 finishers in the 8-team 6A-East will go to the state playoffs. The top two finishers will receive a first-round bye and the third- and fourth-place teams will host a firstround game. The way the first four weeks of the high school football season has shaken out, it would appear the bottom-feeders in the conference are expected to be Mountain Home, Little Rock Hall and possibly Jacksonville.
The top two teams, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff, are ranked in the state's top 10.
So, after disposing of Marion last week, 22-10, it would appear West Memphis' date with Searcy this Friday night is the swing game on the regularseason schedule.
Kickoff for the big game is 7 p.m. at Hamilton-Shultz Field. It also marks homecoming for the Blue Devils. The notion of Searcy being a swing game, however, isn't shared by Blue Devil head coach Billy Elmore.
'I think every game is a swing game,' Elmore said. 'I think everybody's pretty decent in our conference. Little Rock Hall and Pine Bluff was like 16-6 at halftime last week.'
What may be more concerning to Elmore is his team's frame of mind coming off last week's win over Marion.
'Any time you come off a win in a big rivalry game you just hope the kids can get refocused,' he said.
And going even a step further, Elmore and his staff badly want to end a fourgame losing streak against Searcy.
'Losing to Searcy has been a frustrating factor,' said the coach. 'I can't speak to the first two losses to them, but the last two years for us it's been (because of) PAT issues. We scored as many touchdowns as they did. They just made their PATs and we didn't.'
Like the Blue Devils, Searcy is 3-1 overall and 10 in league play after last week's 27-12 win over Jacksonville.
Offensively, the Lions have averaged 30.5 points per game, mainly because of its aerial game that features one of the top receivers in the 6A-East in Trevor Rayburn.
'I think (Rayburn) is the best receiver we've seen so far this year,' said Elmore. 'He's not very big (5-foot-11, 165 pounds), but he's quick and he seems to get open. Plus, he catches the ball extremely well.'
Homecoming notes: Homecoming activities planned for Friday call for the pep rally that features introducing the court and their queen at 2:30 p.m. in Lehr Arena.
The homecoming parade will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. beginning at Lehr Arena and heading east on Broadway.
The chili supper, sponsored by the Academies of West Memphis band, begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Tickets, which are $5, can be bought at the door or from any band member.
Pre-game presentation of homecoming royalty will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Hamilton-Shultz Field.
By Billy Woods