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Saturday, April 20, 2024

A Little Old, A Little New: Rattlers Unveil 2024 Football Schedule


By Jonathan W. Gipson
Magazine Schools Media Relations

MAGAZINE – A little bit of old, and a little bit of new.

With the start of the Arkansas Activities Association’s new two-year cycle, the Magazine football schedule will feature just that when the Rattlers take the field this fall for the 2024 varsity season.

The 10-game schedule will feature three new nonconference opponents and two new conference teams, and six of the 10 games will be played at Diamondback Stadium, including four of the seven conference games.

“Our nonconference schedule is pretty standard. There’s nothing special about it,” Magazine Coach Ryan Chambers said. “I like the way our conference schedule is set up. There’s a good mix of who we play at home compared to away. We have our must-win games at home, and I really like that.”

Class 3A state semifinalist Mansfield and nearby rival Danville, who were both longtime nonconference opponents for Magazine, are no longer on the schedule, and Berryville, a last-minute addition to the nonconference slate last season to help avoid another open date, is no longer on the schedule as well.

In an effort to keep the longtime rivalry alive with Danville, Magazine will play Danville, who is now under the direction of its former head coach D.J. Crane, in a preseason benefit game instead of playing recent preseason opponent Paris.

“Mansfield is just on a different level than we are currently. It wasn’t really going to benefit either one of us playing each other again right now, so we both decided to explore different options,” Chambers explained. “We tried to get Danville back on the schedule, but we just couldn’t get it worked out with them date-wise, so we picked them up for the benefit game instead.” 

The three former nonconference opponents have been replaced with Class 3A Cedarville in Week 0 on Aug. 30 at Diamondback Stadium, Class 4A Lamar’s junior varsity in Week 1 on Sept. 6 at Diamondback Stadium and Class 3A Two Rivers in Week 2 on Sept. 13 at Ola.

Those three opponents, Chambers said, are a better fit at the moment for the Rattlers, who are looking to improve upon last year’s 1-8 overall finish and 0-5 mark in the tough 2A-1 Conference, which produced Class 2A state champion Bigelow.

“These are games that will be very competitive and good for us going into the conference slate,” Chambers said. “We really needed one more game, and I had trouble finding one that we didn’t have to travel across the state for. I called Coach (Josh) Jones over at Lamar and got something worked out playing their JV team. We’ve played their JV team multiple times over the years, and they always are very competitive, being one of the upper echelon teams in 4A.”

Following an open date in Week 3 on Sept. 20, Magazine will begin conference play and will do so with a full slate of seven conference games for the first time in recent history. Former conference member Decatur, which had struggled to field a team at both the 11-man and 8-man levels the past few seasons and created untimely open dates as a result, has dropped its football program, but two new teams join the conference – Mount Ida and Mountain Pine.

Mountain Pine returns to 11-man football after competing at the 8-man level last fall, while Mount Ida moves into the conference after playing in the 2A-3 Conference last season. They will join returning conference members Magazine, Bigelow, Mountainburg, Johnson County Westside, Conway Christian and Hector.

“We had some really tradition-rich teams added to our conference. Mount Ida and Mountain Pine have both been solid teams in 2A, especially Mount Ida. It’s nice to know we won’t have a week break in between conference games,” Chambers said. “Sometimes it is nice (to have a bye week) if you have some injuries and things like that, but overall, it normally hurts. You come out sluggish after a week off. It’s tough to replicate game reps in practice.” 

Magazine will play Bigelow in Week 4 on Sept. 27 at Diamondback Stadium and Mountainburg in Week 5 on Oct. 4 at Diamondback Stadium. The Rattlers will play at Mount Ida in Week 6 on Oct. 11 and will host Johnson County Westside in Week 7 on Oct. 18 at Diamondback Stadium.

The Rattlers will make consecutive road trips to Conway Christian in Week 8 on Oct. 25 and Mountain Pine in Week 9 on Nov. 1. Magazine will close the regular season against Hector in Week 10 on Nov. 8 at Diamondback Stadium.

During this first year of the two-year cycle, Magazine will play six home games, and Chambers said that is a big benefit for the Rattlers, especially with defending state champion Bigelow having to visit Diamondback Stadium to begin conference play.

“We get the defending state champions at home for our first conference game. That’s nice for the fans to see us be able to go up against the team who just won a state championship and finished off four conference championships in a row,” Chambers said. “Hopefully, we can come out with a good game plan and compete in that game in front of the home crowd. It’s always better playing at home than on the road. We have some big must-win home games on the slate this year, and I’m very happy we get them at our place with an opportunity to get the program headed back in the right direction.” 

The season schedule for the Junior Rattlers is very similar to that of the varsity teams. Magazine will play at Cedarville in Week 0 (Aug. 29) and host Lamar junior varsity in Week 1 (Sept. 6) and Two Rivers in Week 2 (Sept. 12). The Rattlers will play at Hector in Week 3 (Sept. 19), Bigelow in Week 4 (Sept. 26) and Mountainburg in Week 5 (Oct. 3).

The Junior Rattlers will host Mount Ida in Week 6 (Oct. 10) and play at Johnson County Westside in Week 7 (Oct. 17). They will host Conway Christian in Week 8 (Oct. 24) and Mountain Pine in Week 9 (Oct. 31) to end the season.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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