The Crossett High School Eagle players say that this is thieir year and that they are not stopping until they win a state championship.
Senior Jalen Williams, a defensive lineman, said that winning Round 2 is not going to be good enough, that his team wants a state title.
The Eagles received a first round bye as conference champs, but will now host Gosnell High School in Round 2 on Friday night.
The Gosnell Pirates finished fourth in their conference with a 5-2 conference record and 6-5 overall record.
According to their records on Max Preps, they have averaged 212 rushing yards for the season and 144 passing yards. They’ve averaged approximately 32 points a game this season.
Gosnell’s quarterback Cooper Pieri is junior and is 5’10, 150 pounds.
Crossett is favored by Hootens rankings to win in the matchup against Gosnell.
Senior Kamaryn Frazier, the Eagle center, said the team has spent a lot of time this week reviewing Gosnell film to prepare.
Williams said Gosnell’s team has the same run scheme as Star City, so their offense won’t be anything the Eagle defense can’t handle.
“We can play better,” Williams said. “They haven’t played these southern boys before.”
Brady Lofton, a defensive back, said that the Eagle defense’s ability to fly to the ball sets them apart from other defenses in the state.
“We fly to the ball every time, we are the only team that flies to the ball every time,” Lofton said.
Senior inside linebacker Deuce Hall said Gosnell is an 80 percent run team and 20 percent pass team.
“We can stop them, we’ve got to fly to the ball and fill our gaps, but we can do it,” Hall said.
Quarterback Justin Stokes said the Eagle offense should have no problem scoring.
“We are way more physical than they are and they are going to get a beat down on the line of scrimmage,” Stokes said.
If the Eagles beat Gosnell, they will host the winner of the Arkadelphia vs. Dewitt game on Nov. 29.
The players all said they plan to win this week, next week, and the week of Dec. 6 because they aren’t stopping utnil they have a championship.
Some of the offensive players said there isn’t a team as fast as the Eagles. Stokes said that the other teams can’t run with them.
Williams said the only way the Eagles can lose is if they beat themselves.
“No one can beat us this year, we can beat ourselves, but no one can beat us,” Williams said.
Crossett kicker Chase Rice said the Eagles are just going to have to play it one game at a time, but he thinks they have a shot to play for the state title at War Memorial.
The Eagle players said they are treating this as just another week and are preparing just as they always do.
“Routine is important and we are going to keep ours the same way,” Williams said.
Coach Sonny Nason told the crowd during the community pep rally Monday that he believes it’s going to be a long drive home for Gosnell.
“Having this week off was different, we worked on ourselves and we didn’t even get the Gosnell film until Sunday.,” Nason said.
“I will say this, if the Eagles show up to play on Friday night, it’s going to be a mighty long night and drive home for the Pirates,” Nason said.
Hootens currently has Crossett ranked No. 7 behind Arkadelphia, Shiloh Christian, Joe T. Robinson, Nashville, Ozark and Warren.
When asked about potentially facing Arkadelphia, in round three, Nason seconded the players by saying he was taking this one game, one week at time.
“We’ve got a great group of athletes and we’ve got the potential, but we’ve got to beat Gosnell to move forward,” Nason said.
The players said they believe that this their year to win it all and they say they aren’t going to be satisfied until they do.
“I really think it is our year,” Lofton said.
Other players said they won’t be happy with only a conference title — even though this is the first team to win one for Crossett in 16 years.
“It’s great to win, but we can’t be happy with just winning the conference, we [have to] take it all the way,” Williams said.