By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville and Greenwood may or may not make it to the state championship games following the season, but both are young teams with talent that should gradually get better and better as the year progresses.

The two teams battled last night and both obviously made first-game mistakes. But it was just a scrimmage game and both Greenwood’s Chris Young and Fayetteville’s Casey Dick played everyone available. Thus it would be wrong to take too much, good or bad, away from the scrimmage. What it did do is allow both the coaches to get a look at their team against someone on the other sideline.

Fayetteville linebacker Brooks Yurachek obviously was 100% correct when he said it was good to strap it up and face an opponent. At this point the teams have practiced for weeks and now are set to start facing opponents. The next game for both will be a real one though and that is why getting a look at the squads Tuesday night was important for each of the coaches.

Greenwood Class of 2026 quarterback Kane Archer, 6-0 1/2, 193, didn’t play last night. He is one of at last three freshmen moved to the varsity. Offensive lineman Cody Taylor, 6-3, 278, started for the Bulldogs and defensive back Jacob Cruz, 6-2, 180, is very talented secondary player. Taylor has impressed Cody Kennedy at Arkansas and Cruz has an offer from Louisville. Archer obviously has 10 offers including one from the Hogs.

The Bulldogs were 9-4 in 2021 and finished as the state runner-up in Class 6A as they fell to El Dorado 27-17 in the championship game. Senior quarterback Hunter Houston, 6-1, 200, returns for the Bulldogs. He passed for 3,080 yards and 26 touchdowns while also rushing for 334 yards and six touchdowns in 2021. He made some nice throws on Tuesday night. Last year Greenwood suffered several injuries and what a strength for Young to have an Archer ready to replace Houston if he is injured. Would be the same thing if Archer started and then was injured few in the state would have a back-up quarterback like Houston to run into the game.

Greenwood is blessed with several very good wide receivers. That is one of the deepest units on the team. Senior Aiden Kennon, 6-0, 220, returns after catching 67 passes for 1,191 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021. Junior LJ Robins, 5-10, 155, caught 72 passes for 898 yards and seven touchdowns last fall.

They have other wide receivers among them sophomores Isaiah Arrington, 5-10, 145, and Grant Karnes, 5-10, 165.

On the defensive side for the Bulldogs have senior linebacker Evan Williams, 6-2, 210, and senior safety Storm Scherrey, 6-0, 190. Williams had 152 tackles and six sacks in 2021. Scherrey had 54 tackles in six games before exiting with an injury.

The Bulldogs will open the season on Friday, Aug. 26, when they travel to face Stillwater (Okla.) High School. The home opener will be the following Friday when they play host to Fort Smith Northside. Young is 23-4 at Greenwood. He was an assistant under Rick Jones and has replaced the legendary coach with the Bulldogs not missing a beat. The Bulldogs have a vast amount of young talent on the squad to go with some talented seniors.