One thing the Barton Bears don't want this week is another shootout but it could happen this Friday evening when the Episcopal Wildcats invade Frank McClellan Field for a 2-3A Conference matchup.
The Bears established two season highs last week against Mayflower – most points scored 55 and most points given up 39. Meanwhile, the Wildcats outlasted the Bald Knob Bulldogs, 35-31.
Though the Bears were never serious danger of losing the contest, the defense allowed 575 yards in total offense – 482 of those yards coming through the air. It was the play of the Bears' speedy running back Cameron Anderson that helped keep the Eagles on the short end of the scoreboard. Quarterback Laquarius Hall and wide receiver Justice Cole also generated plenty of offense. Hall and Cole hooked up for a 51-yard scoring play.
Cole was a big-play man on defense also, picking off two Eagle passes bringing his career total to 17.
Justin Wilson was a busy man kicking all those extra points.
Episcopal is not the doormat they were a year ago when they posted only one win. To date, they have four games in the “W” column. Besides the victory over Bald Knob last Friday, the Wildcats have defeated Rose Bud, Perryville and Brinkley.
Episcopal is 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference and still in the hunt for a playoff spot.
The team's strength lies in the experience of its returning starters. The Wildcats boast nine returners on both offense and defense.
Players to watch include John William Henderson, a 6'1'' 240 pound senior, Trenton Deloach, a 6'1” 180 pound junior wide receiver/corner back and William Pollock, a 6'1” 175 pound junior quarterback and defensive end.
Henderson was an all league performer in 2011 and likes to run through would-be defenders. Deloach rolled up 800 passing yards and scored 15 touchdowns in 2011. He caught a 55-yard scoring pass against Benton Harmony and a 47-yarder that Barton fans will remember all too well from last year's meeting.
Pollock passed for 203 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another in Episcopal's lone win, a 31-28 decision over Brinkley last fall.
For the 2011 season, the Wildcats averaged to 15 points per game but erupted for 89 points in their final three contests.
Barton will attempt to probe Episcopal's weaknesses that includes lack of depth on the squad. The Wildcats are a young team on the rise.
The Bears won last year's meeting, 41-12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.