By John R. Schirmer
For the second year in a row, the Nashville Scrappers will travel to northwest Arkansas to take on Shiloh Christian Friday, Nov. 29, in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs. Kickoff in Springdale is set for 7 p.m.
The Saints are 12-0 and are the top-ranked Class 4A team in Rex Nelson’s Road to the Rock Rankings. The Scrappers (11-1) are fourth.
“For the second year, we’ll play a very good Shiloh team,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “They breezed through their conference and playoff opponents.”
The Saints topped 60 points in three of their last four games and defeated Pocahontas 63-14 last week.
“Our football team has a huge task ahead of us to control their offense,” Volarvich said. “Defensively, we’re looking at a team that hasn’t given up over 27 points all year. They’ve only given up over 19 twice.”
The Scrapper offense will have “a huge challenge going against a very multiple, sound defense.”
In their most recent meeting, Shiloh defeated Nashville 40-21 in what Volarvich described as “one of our worst games of the year up there last year. Look at the film. The amount of mistakes are numerous. We have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Saints quarterback Eli Reece “has been very dynamic this year. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards and completed 73 percent of his passes,” Volarvich said. Reece has thrown 29 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions.
Wide receiver Truitt Tollett has more than 90 receptions for 1,500 yards, Volarvich said. “He’s one receiving touchdown away from [former Scrapper] Greg Washington’s receiving touchdown record in 1 season.”
The Scrappers practiced at 10 a.m. the first 3 days of this week.
They’ll meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
Players will leave for Springdale at 11 a.m. Friday.
“Overall, I’m excited about a chance to play Thanksgiving week,” Volarvich said. “I’m excited about our 11 wins” this season, Volarvich said. “It’s only the third time in the last decade for that to happen in Nashville.”
Previous 11-win seasons were in 2016 and the state championship season in 2015.
Going into Friday night, the Scrappers have averaged 41 points per game and allowed 19 points per game.
Shiloh averages 53 points per game and has allowed 13.
The Scrappers have a playoff record of 85 wins and 32 losses. They are in the playoffs for the 29th consecutive year, a state record.
Shiloh is 65-17 in the playoff alltime.
The Scrapper offense averages 409 yards per game total offense.
Shiloh’s offense averages 470 yards par game.
Defensively, the Scrappers have given up 270 yards a game. Shiloh has allowed 231.
Scrapper quarterback Ty Gordon has completed 76 of 134 passes for 1,229 yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He’s run the ball 130 times for 922 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Keyshawn Stewart has 126 carries for 931 yards and 17 touchdowns. Fellow Scrapper Carmillias Morrison has 89 carries for 817 yards and 9 TDs.
Devonte Witherspoon is Nashville’s leading tackler with a total of 143.
Kaden Henley leads Shiloh with 78.
Witherspoon and Lance Easter have 2 sacks each for the Scrappers.
Max Suarez has 5.5 for the Saints.
Ty Basiliere, Will Pope and LD Hendrix have 2 interceptions each for Nashville. Devarious Snell has 3 fumble recoveries.
Matt McEwin has 5 interceptions for Shiloh, and 5 players have 1 fumble recovery each.