By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville Scrappers will play on their home field for the first time this season when they host the De Queen Leopards Friday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Scrapper Stadium.
The Scrappers (2-0) defeated Watson Chapel at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock Aug. 20 and the Hope Bobcats at Hope Aug. 31.
“It feels really good to get back at home,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “I’m super happy with the crowd that traveled with us. War Memorial and Hope were two of our better away crowds. I’m happy with the way they supported us. Now, it’s exciting to be at home.”
The De Queen game will mark the end of the Scrappers’ non-conference schedule. Nashville will have a bye Sept. 14 before opening District 7-4A action at home against defending Class 4A state champion Arkadelphia Sept. 21.
The Scrappers aren’t looking ahead. “De Queen is the most important game right now. We want to keep concentrating on what we do and get better at our technique and scheme. We want to continue to get better every week,” Volarvich said.
The Leopards are 0-2 on the season with losses to Mena and Ashdown. “Mena is much improved from the last two years. They made some plays against De Queen. Ashdown is always athletic. They have a new quarterback and offensive system. Both [Mena and Ashdown] were able to get the better of De Queen.”
The match-up between Nash-
ville and De Queen is one of the oldest rivalries in southwest Arkansas. “It’s always a very competitive, hard-fought game. It’s been a big rivalry my three years and is always a tough game,” Volarvich said.
The winner will receive the Saline River Walking Stick, a traveling trophy sponsored by the Nashville News-Leader. The Leopards won the Stick in 2017 in one of the biggest upsets of the season statewide.
“Last year plays into it,” Volarvich said of this week’s game. “As coaches, we try to play every game the same. But the players know it. Both communities know it. Both schools know it.”
The Leopards have won the Stick only twice in 19 seasons, including 2011 and 2017.
“This is a game our kids want to win. We didn’t do a good job coaching, playing or executing the game plan last year. We didn’t do what we had to do to win,” Volarvich said. “Give De Queen a lot of credit for doing a good job.”
Nashville leads the series with De Queen 62-26-2.
The Scrappers are ranked second in Class 4A in Rex Nelson’s Road to the Rock rankings. They are third in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s poll. Warren tops both lists.