Green Forest facing a tough schedule in 2018
The Green Forest football team is moving from Class 3A to the Class 4A-1 conference in 2018. That means the Tigers will be playing the likes of Prairie Grove, Shiloh Christian and Pea Ridge. Green Forest will face Berryville in week 10 in the annual Carroll County Super Bowl. That returns the rivalry game to the final week of the regular season, where it was a tradition for many years.
"The conference is going to be tough," coach Bobby Bishop said. "We have got a good schedule put together and we are going to have to step it up in order to be competitive in the 4A-1. Any time you play the likes of Prairie Grove and Pea Ridge, who have been in the semifinals the last couple years, you know it won't be easy. We are going to have our work cut out for us. Stepping in there as the small guys, we are probably going to be picked dead last and we hope to go out there and prove some people wrong."
Green Forest will scrimmage Huntsville on Aug. 31, but will get the regular season under way the next week with a home game against Yellville-Summit. The Tigers will also play non-conference games at Commerce, Okla., and at home against West Fork.
"Yellville was in our conference for several years, so we know a decent amount about them," Bishop said. "We have seen quite a bit of game film on West Fork, but Commerce is a team we don't know much about. I just happened to be looking for a game and they saw that we had a week open, so we made a series out of it. It will be good for us to make a long road trip over the state line. Commerce is a small Class 2A school in northeast Oklahoma. It happens to be the home of Mickey Mantle."
Green Forest opens the conference season on Sept. 21 with a road game at Prairie Grove followed by a home game with Shiloh Christian. Prairie Grove finished second in the 4A-1 last year and the Saints made it all the way to the semifinals of the Class 4A state playoffs in 2016 before losing to Pea Ridge.
"That's two really good programs that will be tough for us to compete with," Bishop said. "In my estimation, with teams like this, the 4A-1 is the best league in 4A."
The Tigers play at Gentry on Oct. 5 before having homecoming against Lincoln on Oct. 12.
"We scrimmaged against Gentry last year," Bishop said. "We competed with them pretty good and I think we actually beat them, but it was just a practice game so it means nothing. Lincoln's a good team, but they are a team I think we can compete with."
Green Forest plays at Gravette on Oct. 19 and has a home game with Pea Ridge the week after. The Blackhawks won the conference last year and Gravette finished third.
"They have been two of the top four teams in the 4A-1 over the last few years," Bishop said. "Going up against those guys won't be easy."
Green Forest closes the year with the Carroll County Super Bowl at Berryville.
"It will be nice getting that game back to the end of the schedule like it used to be," Bishop said. "I think it will be exciting for the fans and players both."
Lastly, Bishop said being back in the 4A-1 is much like old times.
"Green Forest used to play all of these schools when they were smaller," Bishop said. "Those towns have outgrown Green Forest and bumped up in classification, just as Berryville did. It's basically the same league as it was in the ’80s and ’90s."