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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Charleston Tigers Class 3A Football First Round State Playoffs Preview


The Charleston Tigers will travel a little more than three hours next Friday to play Prescott in the first round of the class 3A state playoffs. Charleston (4-6, 3-3) are a number five seed in the playoffs and will play the two seed Prescott Curley Wolves. Prescott (8-2, 7-0) swept their conference schedule with their only two losses of the year being to class 4A Mena in a 36-35 overtime loss, and a double-overtime loss to Rison, 42-40. Prescott has lost two games this year by a combined total of three points in three overtime periods.

Booneville and Osceola are the top seeds overall in this year’s playoffs. Both schools received byes for the first round and will not play this Friday.

The winner of this game will play Friday, November 22 against the winner of another first round game featuring Jessieville vs. Pine Bluff Dollarway. For a copy of the Class 3A state football playoffs bracket, click here to be re-directed to Max Preps to view or download your copy. Max Preps will update the brackets as the games are played.

All roads in the brackets lead to the final championship game in Class 3A that will be played December 14 in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium.

Prescott is coached by James Cannon and their colors are maroon and white. The Curley Wolves are members of the class 3A-5 conference that includes Fouke, Bismarck, Smackover, Genoa Central, Horatio, Camden Harmony Grove, and Centerpoint.

According to Max Preps, Prescott has scored 445 points on the season and have given up just 218. They have won their last 8 games. The Curley Wolves are the number three ranked team in Arkansas in class 3A, and are ranked 47th across all classifications in the state.

Offensively, Prescott averages 144.7 yards receiving per game, and 241 yards per game rushing. Prescott has scored 54 touchdowns on the year.

Defensively, the Curley Wolves average 78.9 tackles per game, and 18 sacks per game. The Prescott defense has 7 interceptions for the year.

The Prescott offense is led by junior quarterback Jacobi Nolen. Nolen has attempted 84 passes and has completed 52 for a passing percentage of 62%. He averages 18 yards per completion and has passed for 936 yards for the season. Nolen has thrown for 15 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions. His longest completed pass was for 98 yards. Nolen is also the Curley Wolves second leading rusher this season.

The Prescott rushing attack is led by a “three-headed monster” attack of two outstanding running backs and a rushing quarterback. The leading rusher for Prescott is junior running back Alex George. George has carried the ball 67 times for 491 yards. He averages a little more than 7 yards per carry and 64 yards per game. His longest carry was for 34 yards. The second part of the Prescott rushing is headed by senior Derrium Thompson. Thompson has carried 47 times for 488 yards and averages 10.4 yards per carry. Thompson averages 62 yards per game, and his longest carry was for 69 yards. Quarterback Jacobi Nolen is the third rushing weapon in the Prescott offense. Nolen has rushed 88 times for 496 yards. He averages 5.5 yards per carry and 61 yards per game. His longest run from scrimmage this season was 76 yards.

Nolen’s leading receiver is Jacaylon Zachery. Zachery has 486 yards in receptions for the year on 18 receptions. He averages 27 yards per reception, 61 yards per game, and has a longest of 98 yards. Zachery is always a deep threat to opposing defenses.

For nine games, the Prescott offense produced 3,471 yards of total offense and averages 386 yards per game. The Curley Wolves are an irresistible force that have been difficult to slow down for opponents all season.

On defense, the leading tackler for Prescott is Jacobi Nolen. Nolen who plays both ways, has 28 solo tackles on the year combined with 48 assisted tackles. He averages 8.9 tackles per game and has 5 tackles for lost yardage. Junior Keihnan Paden leads the team in sacks with 4.5 sacks. The defense has 7 interceptions on the year and have caused 9 fumbles and recovered 6.

The Charleston defense will have its hands full containing the explosive Prescott offense. Coach Ricky May commented, “They’re pretty good. Their quarterback has something like 27 touchdowns combined (passing and rushing). Their line has two really big guys and they are so athletic. We are going to go down there and swing for the fences and give it everything we’ve got and see what happens.”

When I asked Coach May about last Friday’s performance against Lamar, he said that once again, the Tigers played hard. “The kids played hard. Man, they played hard all the way around. Like I told them, at the end of the day we can’t give up a blocked punt for a touchdown and we can’t have turnovers. One of those interceptions was just a great play by them (Lamar). They tipped it out of our receiver’s hands and there happened to be one of their guys standing around. And that was in the end zone. I don’t think Lamar turned it over at all and we turned it over three times and gave up a special teams touchdown.”

Coach May summed up the Tigers opponent this week by saying, “They’re loaded with skill people. They’re a physical ball club, well-coached, playoff-ready, have been there a lot. They were a semi-finalist last year against Booneville, one play away from being the state champion. They have a proud tradition.”

The Tigers will leave early Friday to travel to Prescott for Friday’s playoff game. Charleston will work out at Ouachita University’s indoor practice facility en route to the game. After lunch at the university, Charleston will board the bus in Arkadelphia to finish the trip to Prescott.

The forecast for Prescott this Friday is a projected high of 54 degrees and a low of 28 degrees. It is supposed to be sunny and dry. It should be a cold playoff atmosphere in Prescott Friday, and the Tigers need their fan base to bring their coats and make the trip to support their team!

Bundle up, and I will see you in Prescott!

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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