The Crossett Eagles knocked off the No. 1 team in the state to advance to Round 4 of the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The city is now preparing to host one of the semi-final matches.
The Eagles beat the Arkadelphia Badgers 28-27 in a nail biter of a game (story on page 6).
Now, the Eagles will not only play in the semi-finals, but they are hosting it. On Friday, Crossett will host Shiloh Christian Academy at Yarborough Field.
The winner of Friday’s game advances on to War Memorial on Dec. 13 to play in the state championship.
The Eagles have created a true Cinderella story after starting the season with an 0-3 record. The Eagles finished undefeated in their conference, earning a BYE in the first round of the playoffs. They beat the Gosnell Pirates in Round 2, the No. 1 ranked Arkadelphia Badgers in Round 3.
The Eagles have not won a state championship since 1984, when a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Audwin Bradford to Butch Dickerson with 4:15 to play in the game put the Eagles up 26-21 over top-ranked Searcy. A two-point run topped it off 28-21.
Coach Sonny Nason said he was happy enough to shed tears and he is proud of his team and the work they have put in this season.
“This is a big deal for Crossett, and it came at a time when we needed it with the mill announcement and everything,” Nason said, alluding to the rounds of layoffs that have happened at Georgia Pacific in recent months.
In celebration of the team’s wins, community members have been decorating the town with signs and “cupping fences” with spirit sayings.
“All we are doing in yearbook this week is painting signs,” Crossett High School student Jayden Thurmon said. “This is all I can think about.”
CHS cheerleader Jaci Doss said that she really wants the Eagles to win because they haven’t in so long, but she also really wants to cheer at War Memorial Stadium.
The Eagles will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Yarborough Field.