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Monday, October 3, 2022

WCFL Programs Getting Hot As The Weather Gets Colder

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Going into Week 5, every program in the West Central Football League had a shot at making the playoffs. As a very competitive league, this is nothing new for the WCFL programs. Week 5 was the dividing factor though as teams began to separate from just being one of the six teams making the playoffs, to the seeding process.

On the 3rd and 4th Grade level, Week 5 ended with two undefeated teams as Mansfield and Mountainburg aim to make another run for the WCFL Championship. The last time these two mixed things up, it was in the 2019 WCFL Championship game where Mansfield edged out the Dragons. Since that game, both programs have been on a roll like butta. The Tigers hosted JC Westside last Saturday and ran away with a 38-0 victory over the JC Westside Rebels. Not to be outdone, the Dragons rolled into West Fork and won 28-0. Both teams will put their 4-0 winning streaks on the line Saturday, October 17th when Mountainburg heads south into Tiger territory in what should be an epic game. After this clash of the 3rd and 4th Grade Titans, both teams will travel away from home to face their rivals as Mountainburg will head to Cedarville in a battle for the Little League Treasure Chest and Mansfield will go west to battle for the Sebastian County Rivalry Trophy against Hackett.

Photo courtesy of Brian Mott

The Hackett Hornets currently sit in 3rd place having only lost to Mountainburg. The Hornets were able to narrowly swarm past Cedarville 14-6 last Saturday. Hackett currently has a record of 3-1 but still has a tough road ahead as they travel to Lavaca this week and then host the Mansfield Tigers for the end of regular seasons Rivalry Week on Saturday, October 24th. Hackett is always a tough card to draw for anyone so although their remaining games may seem difficult, never count out the Hornets. Sitting in the middle of the pack is JC Westside. The Rebels currently have a 2-3 record, but don’t let that fool you. They have lost two of those three games in a very close fashion and their other loss was to Mansfield last Saturday. With their final week of regular season play being a bye week due to Magazine being out this season, Saturday’s game will solidify the Rebels playoff stance.

West Fork and Lavaca are tied, having a record of 1-3 each. With both teams having two of their three losses being against Mansfield and Mountainburg, they could be able to split the tie this weekend or when they square off against each other on Saturday, October 17th when the Golden Arrows head due north to play the Tigers. The Pirates of Cedarville currently sit in last place in the 3rd and 4th level with a record of 0-4, but with only six teams in the 3rd and 4th Grade this season, the Pirates will still make the playoffs. That being said, they are not going to just lay down. Cedarville will look to take down JC Westside this weekend and then head to Dragon territory to try to upset their rivals, Mountainburg.

At the 5th and 6th Grade level of the WCFL, it’s every team for themselves as the shake-up for the playoffs continues into Week 6. Mansfield sits alone at the top with a 5-0 record. The Tigers have taken the league by storm this season after coming up short in the 2019 Championship against Magazine. With a high powered offense and punishing defense, Mansfield aims to finish the season with a win against Mountainburg and then retain the Mackey/Campbell Rivalry Trophy when they square off against the Hackett Hornets. Records almost don’t count when the Tigers and Hornets play because no matter what, that matchup is always a slobber knocker of a game. Hot on the Tiger’s tail is Lavaca who has taken a winning run since their loss to Mansfield. That being their only loss in the season, the Golden Arrows will take aim at finishing the season at the #2 seed. That will be quite the test though as Lavaca still has Hackett this upcoming Saturday then faceoff against a hot West Fork team to close out the regular season.

Right on the heels of the Golden Arrows is West Fork and Mountainburg. Both sit at a record of 3-2 with the Dragons holding the tiebreaker after last week’s 22-0 victory over the Tigers. There’s still a lot of football to play though as both teams could mathematically have a shot at the #3 seed. The Dragons have lost to Mansfield and Lavaca and West Fork fell to Mansfield and Mountainburg. The Tigers still have a feisty Magazine team this week and Lavaca in the final week. They would have to win both games and have a Mountainburg loss to solidify their spot at the #3 seed while the Dragons can hold onto the #3 seed by winning out-beating Mansfield and Cedarville or go 1-1 if West Fork loses a game in the next two weeks. Either way you look at it, the #3 seed is a battle. This could become even more intriguing if Lavaca drops both of their next two games possibly opening the #2 slot for either West Fork or Mountainburg.

Photo courtesy of Karen Nichols-Campbell

Both the JC Westside Rebels and the Cedarville Pirates are tied up at 2-3 this season. The easiest way to solve that tie is on the field and that will happen this Saturday as the Rebels take their camp to the stormy seas of Cedarville. Both teams have had their fair share of nail-biting games this season with the solid defenses holding the line for the programs. On the outside looking in is Hackett who with a couple of wins and some help from those ahead of them, could crash someone’s party and make it in the top 6 teams. The Hornets have the top two teams to close out their schedule as they will go to Lavaca this weekend and will try to use home-field advantage and some hard-nosed football to take back the Mackey/Campbell Rivalry Trophy from Mansfield on October 24th. The 2019 defending WCFL Champs, the Magazine Rattlers, will have a rough road to make the playoffs this season as they sit at 0-5. The Rattlers will have to step up and travel to beat both West Fork and JC Westside while also needing Hackett, Cedarville, and JC Westside to drop all of their final games to have a chance to make it into the final 6. With Cedarville holding the tiebreaker and West Fork and JC Westside left on their schedule, it’s a chance they’ll gladly take. Although the champs are down, Magazine is a team that can strike without warning so it’s not impossible.

With only two weeks left in regular season play, as amazing as it seems, it’s still anyone’s game at both levels of the WCFL to make the playoffs. The league was made for small schools to play in a competitive league. That being said, this is about as competitive as it gets. Now we just wait to see what Week 6 and these great programs bring us.

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