BIG PROGRAMS, BIG NAMES HIGHLIGHT 2010 ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOL KICKOFF CLASSIC AT WAR MEMORIAL
LITTLE ROCK — Eight Arkansas high school football teams will open the 2010 regular season on Aug. 30-31 at the site where they hope to end it: War Memorial Stadium.
Four games will be played during the two-night Arkansas High School Kickoff Classic as the teams begin their quest for a state title game at War Memorial in December. The event is presented by First Security Bank, 103.7 The Buzz (KABZ-FM) and ArkansasSports360.com.
On Aug. 30, Vilonia will play Sylvan Hills at 5 p.m., and Pulaski Academy will take on Central Arkansas Christian at 7:30. On Aug. 31, Little Rock Parkview meets Little Rock Mills University Studies at 5 p.m., and the featured late game is one of the state’s great rivalries as Cabot plays Jacksonville.
Six of the eight teams competing over the two days were state playoff teams in 2009. State championship games will also be played at War Memorial Stadium at season’s end.
“We already work very hard on our local shows to focus attention on high school sports, and this two-day event gives us another chance to showcase the prep talent, including some of the top recruits in all of Arkansas,” said Justin Acri, program director of The Buzz. “Anytime we get a chance to make these players and coaches feel special and be part of a great event at a great venue like War Memorial Stadium, we want to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Jeff Hankins, publisher of ArkansasSports360.com, said the event will also enable the home team schools to raise money because they will receive all of the presold ticket revenue and a percentage of the gate revenue. Tickets are $7 for each night and will be available in August at Jacksonville, Little Rock Parkview, CAC and Sylvan Hills athletic departments. Tickets will be sold at the stadium the day of the games.
“Playing at War Memorial is a fun opportunity for both the teams and their fans,” Hankins said. “And by playing early in the week, football fans will have the chance to see some players they might not otherwise be able to see during the regular season.”
Jim Harris, editor of ArkansasSports360.com, said the event will showcase tradition-rich programs like Pulaski Academy and Cabot, as well as rising stars who are already garnering recruiting attention such as Vilonia junior running back James Sax.
Last year’s inaugural event featured Fayetteville’s Brandon Allen and Demetrius Dean, two of this year’s top Arkansas seniors as well as Little Rock Christian running back Michael Dyer who is headed to Auburn this Fall.
Central Arkansas Christian, which produced current Arkansas Razorbacks D.J. Williams and Joe Adams, played in last year’s classic and returns this year to tangle with its longtime rival, Pulaski Academy. Coach Kevin Kelley and running back Greyson Skokos lead the PA Bruins, who won the 2008 5A state title and this year have dropped down to Class 4A.
Cabot, the titlist in the state’s highest classification in 2000, reached last year’s 7A state semifinals and is expected to contend for the championship again under veteran coach Mike Malham, who has won 237 games in 29 years at the school. Jacksonville has 17 starters back from 2009 and, with such stars as junior safety Jacarious Jordan and senior quarterback Logan Perry, expects to contend in 6A-East. Their annual opening battle is one of the best attended games in Arkansas.
Vilonia’s program has been on the upswing in 5A-West under Coach Jim Stanley and has a strong following. Sylvan Hills is a recent state champion and competes in 5A-Southeast.
Parkview’s program qualified for the 6A playoffs last year and is on the rebound under the leadership of William Hardiman. Its opening foe, Mills, is expected to contend in the 5A-Southwest.
The 7:30 p.m. games will be broadcast live on The Buzz.