Battle of the Unbeaten: Bismarck, Poyen clash for intense brawl

A Bismarck Lion defender tries to bring down a Poyen Indian runner during the Lions and Indians 2018 game. Photo by Alexis Meeks
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

For Week 2 of Arkansas High School football, Grant County will showcase a battle of two unbeaten teams at Malvern National Bank Stadium-Indian Field in Tribe country of the Class 2A Poyen Indians (1-0) hosting the Class 3A Bismarck Lions (2-0) in Poyen. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Last year, the Indians displayed a dominating performance on the road against Bismarck 58-27, but the Lions aim for redemption following two impressive wins to start the 2019 football season victorious.
Bismarck Lions football head coach Daniel Keithley was pleased by an overall productive performance his Lions had to defeat the Class 3A Baptist Prep Eagles 32-18 last Friday, September 6, 2019 for Bismarck’s season home-opener at Doyle Henderson Stadium. Keithley thought the Lions’ run game stood out and the defense maintained productive play to stop the Eagles. Team wise, Keithley likes how the Lions are playing and aim to take down a talented Poyen Indians squad to keep their winning ways alive to finish their non-conference schedule unbeaten.
Lions’ quarterback James Kegley has led Bismarck in both of their victories to account for 16 pass completions for 200 yards passing. Kegley also has racked up 148 yards rushing for five trips in the end zone for touchdowns. Brett Williams leads the Bismarck rushing attack with 172 yards rushing and scoring two touchdowns. Collier Roberston leads the Lions’ receiving group with 115 yards receiving for nine receptions through two games. Defensively, Williams leads the defense with 13 tackles, Braden Shuffield, Kadin Walker and Joe Parker each have eight tackles with Michael Anderson accounting seven tackles to help the Lions post 67 total tackles. Anderson also has two interceptions and Braden Efird has one INT. Keithley feels the Lions’ production to outlast teams for their victories through two games have been credited of their conditioning. “We’re a better conditioned team and I’m proud of the work my boys put in this week,” Keithley said after Friday’s win against Baptist Prep. He knows this Friday night will be the biggest test on the gridiron to face one of the most talented teams in Class 2A of Poyen. The Lions are picked to finish the 5-3A Conference seventh voted by league coaches. But, so far the Lions are one of four teams currently undefeated during non-conference play from the 5-3A Conference. Out of 47 teams in the entire Class 3A, Bismarck is one of 21 teams currently undefeated through Week 1.
The Indians are coming off a huge road victory against Drew Central 20-6 in their 2019 football season-opener in Monticello last Friday, September 6, 2019. Poyen Indians football head coach Vick Barrett believed his Tribe performed well and thought their defense was the key in their win over the Pirates. Poyen held a Pirates club, that features multiple standout college caliber players’ offense scoreless the entire second half. Offensively, the Indians were led behind star running back junior Brandon Sanchez who ran for 226 yards to score two touchdowns. Sanchez also had the lone reception for the Indians for 41 yards. Poyen produced a strong ground attack in their season-opener with quarterback Jaxson Carter scrambling for the other touchdown of the Indians three end zone trips. Carter racked up a 100 plus yards against the Pirates for 102 total yards rushing to help Poyen rack up a team total of 366 yards on the ground.
Barrett knows this Friday night’s game will be tough due to the improvement of the Lions. With productive defense, Barrett aims for the Indians’ defensive unit to come up big in their season home-opener against a charging Lions team with a total of 455 yards rushing so far through their two previous games. The Indians are on a mission to finish the non-conference season productively to prepare them for a challenging 5-2A Conference play. The Indians are picked to finish third in the conference standings voted by league coaches.