Since last year’s nail-biting loss to Bentonville at Rockhurst, the Hawklets have been looking for revenge. This Friday, the Hawklets will travel to Bentonville, Ark. hoping to not only avenging last year’s loss, but to also prove they are capable of bouncing back from last Friday’s performance against Webb City.
However, this will be easier said than done. Bentonville is the number one ranked team in Arkansas, hot off a 2013 State Championship victory over Cabot High School, the number two ranked team in Arkansas.
Rockhurst only narrowly missed a victory last year when Bentonville managed a come from behind victory to win 24-21. The Hawklets hope to redeem themselves tomorrow in front of an ecstatic Tiger crowd.
Location: Bentonville (AR) High School
Records: Rockhurst (1-1) vs. Bentonville (0-0)
Last week: Rockhurst lost to Webb City 40-14
State Ranking (according to maxpreps.com): Rockhurst- #9, Bentonville- #1 (Ark.)
Bentonville’s inexperienced defense vs. Rockhurst’s passing attack
This will be Bentonville’s first game of the season with a team that is only returning three starters. Because of this, the Tiger’s defense must be careful not to make any mistakes as Rockhurst’s offense tends to capitalize on their opponent’s errors.
Senior quarterback TJ Green continued his strong season last week, throwing for 179 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He now has four touchdown passes and just one interception on the season.
If Rockhurst receivers can take advantage of opportunities provided by the inexperienced Bentonville defense and Green can connect, the Hawklets should have no problem putting points on the scoreboard.
Bentonville’s skill positions vs. Rockhurst’s skill positions
With such a lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball, Bentonville will be relying heavily on what is perhaps their best player, senior defensive tackle Javier Carbonell. Already committed to play Division 1 football at Arkansas State, Carbonell will play a huge role in pressuring Green to prevent any big plays and deterring a variety of Rockhurst rushing attacks.
Rockhurst’s defensive line has struggled to slow opponent’s rushing attacks, giving up 325 yards on the ground last Friday to Webb City. If this week is consistent with last, stopping the run game will rest largely on the shoulders of Hawklet linebackers.
Two running backs in particular will be a noticeable threat to the Rockhurst defense: Hekili Keliiliki and Dylan Smith. Keliiliki has already received an offer from Stanford, and Smith is considering Arkansas State and Central Arkansas, both Division 1 schools.
Bentonville’s starting quarterback is also returning, and although he is young, he must not be taken for granted.
Bentonville’s Crowd vs. Rockhurst level-headedness
The football game atmosphere at Bentonville High School is not like that of the typical high school football game. The Tigers are notorious for the unmistakable presence of their twelfth-man at homes games. In fact, the student section is named “The Jungle,” and at times hosts as many as 500 students.
Rockhurst must come into this game focused and prepared to face perhaps the loudest crowd they will see all year. If the Hawklets want to win this game, they can’t let the roaring crowd get in their heads, especially on special teams when concentration is key.
Until the final whistle, this matchup promises to provide excitement. Both teams are aware of how much effort is necessary to come out on top of this matchup. Rockhurst seeks redemption, while Bentonville is hungry for a positive start to their season.
Rockhurst cannot rely totally on mistakes made by the inexperienced Bentonville defense. The Hawklet defense must play flawlessly. Without slowing Bentonville’s dominant rushing attack, the offense’s performance, good or bad, will mean nothing.
The Hawklets hope to silence the infamous Bentonville student section, The Jungle, who are guaranteed to arrive pumped for the Tiger’s season opener.