The Class 5A state-ranked No. 1 Aledo Bearcats are leaving the state to play a football game.
Aledo will conclude non-district play at Shreveport’s Independence Bowl against the Bentonville (Arkansas) Tigers, a team that last year was a state finalist in the highest classification in Arkansas.
The Bearcats and Bentonville will kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Independence Bowl in one of the “Battle on the Border” games.
The three-day event will feature six games that began Thursday. The Bearcats will play the fifth of those six games with another border battle scheduled after the Aledo/Bentonville game. It is the eighth year in a row the City of Shreveport has hosted the event that this year features top teams from across six states.
Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said the team will stay overnight tonight and ride charter buses. He appreciates the “college bowl-like” atmosphere but also wants his team to focus on football.
“I want the trip to be fun for the kids but I also want them to focus on the game and prepare,” Wood said. “This will be a neat deal for our kids. I hate it that we will lose a home game out of this deal, but the organizers made it inviting to come and they virtually paid for the trip so we would come out there.
“It is costing the school district very, very little. It will be a good bonding and team-building trip for the guys, and they gave us hotel rooms so we are leaving (today) the night before the game. This will be fun for the guys.”
Comparing its school size, Bentonville’s enrollment numbers are akin to a large Class 5A or small 6A school in Texas. Wood compared Bentonville, football wise, to Aledo.
“We are playing a quality football team, and they have a good program – they are a lot like us,” he said. “They were state finalists last year in the largest classification in Arkansas. They are very well coached, and they are allowed to practice in pads almost all year.
“They are tuned up, they work hard and you can tell by watching film they have been coached well. And they have talent on top of that.”
To read the remainder of the article see today’s (Sept. 7) issue of The Community News.
To follow the game on Saturday read The Community News blog at www.community-news.com.