Sep 27, 2017
by Chase Gage
JONESBORO, ARK – Two 5A East leaders will face off Friday night. The Valley View Blazers will host the Forrest City Mustangs with first place on the line.
The Blazers (3-1, 1-0 5A East) enter this game on a three-game winning streak after losing their opener to Searcy. They have knocked off the likes of Rivercrest, Highland and Paragould on their way to the top spot in the 5A East conference.
Valley View’s success has been greatly due to their dynamic offense led by multiple seniors. Senior quarterback Joe Waleszonia is averaging 147 yards through the air and 74 more on the ground per game. His favorite target is fellow senior, wide receiver Lehman McNabb, who is averaging 73 receiving yards per game. To round out the rushing attack, senior running back Ryder Snell carries most of the load, averaging 101 yards per game and over seven yards per carry.
This Valley View team knows how to score points. Their offense is averaging 39 points per game and their lowest point total of the season came in week 2 against Rivercrest when they ‘only’ scored 32.
The defense is a bit of a different story, as they give up nearly 30 points per game to opposing offenses. Their low-point came in the opener when they surrendered 63 points to Searcy at home.
The Mustangs have not been as successful this season as the Blazers, but don’t let that fool you. Forrest City played a grueling non-conference schedule that featured the likes of West Memphis, West Helena Central and Dollarway, the latter two being on the road. When you take that schedule into account, their 2-2 (1-0 5A East) record doesn’t look so bad.
The Mustangs are fresh off of a win against 5A East foe Greene County Tech. They won that game by a score of 18-10.
The Forrest City offense has yet to find their spark, averaging only 17 points per game. Their defense has not been much better, giving up 30 points per game to opponents. Can they tighten things up defensively against the Valley View offense this week?
Though Valley Views holds the better overall record, these teams are both tied atop the 5A East standings. The winner will move to 2-0 in the conference and hold at least a share of first place.
Since moving to the 5A East conference in 2014, Valley View has not defeated Forrest City. The Mustangs are 3-0 all-time against the Blazers.
“Next week is going to be a tough game. We’ve never beaten Forrest City before. We’re gonna have to come out and show what we’ve been working on,” Snell said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 P.M. Friday night at Valley View High School.