The ranked and unbeaten Poyen Indians are pumped and ready for combat this Friday to host the Cutter Morning Star Eagles in their 5-2A Conference opener at Malvern National Bank Stadium, Indian Field for week 6 of Arkansas High School football.
Kickoff is set at 7 p.m., following the conclusion of pregame festivities for the homecoming ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Since it is homecoming night in Poyen for “Friday Night Lights”, the No. 5 ranked Tribe enters league season action on a five-game winning streak at 5-0 overall. The Indians are coming off another impressive victory to defeat a tough Class 2A team Dierks Outlaws 21-12 last week on Indian Field. Poyen wrapped up their non-conference schedule by ending the Outlaws unbeaten season for their first taste of defeat.
Now, the Tribe is ready to turn their focus to the most important time in a season—conference play. Poyen Indian football head coach Vick Barrett has been extremely proud of how his Tribe continues to battle each night on the gridiron. Barrett knows the Tribe has created a lot of momentum by how productively the team performs as the victors thus far into the 2020 football season.
Last week against Dierks, the Indians faced some adversity and Barrett thought that was something needed before entering into league action. He also believes by competing against a good team—Dierks was a key asset to help prepare them for their first league season opponent Cutter Morning Star on Friday.
“We’re planning well and I was proud of our effort Friday against Dierks,” Barrett said. “We got Cutter Morning Star for our conference opener Friday and they have a new coach—Matt Kinsinger. “He has brought a new philosophy and they have changed from the spread to the Wing-T that we got to prepare for.”
Barrett knows Kinsinger really well and he mentioned he is a good coach and a good guy. Barrett said, “Cutter Morning Star has the potential to put points on the board and they did against Murfreesboro last week,”
Barrett noted, this week is a new season and the Tribe must approach and attack during this time of the year like they did in week 0. “If we do that, we can come out with a win,” Barrett said.
The highlight to the Tribes’ success this season has been their team defense. Barrett has been extremely impressed by how productive and well Poyen’s defense has produced against their opponents. This season, the Indians have pitched out a shutout win against Drew Central 35-0 and held a high scoring Dierks squad to only 12 points Friday. Barrett knows his offense will produce, but the defense has been the key X-factor to their dominance as one of the top teams in the state for Class 2A.
“Our defense has not not given up much points and I thought we played the best we had ever played this season Friday,” Barrett said.
The Tribe has made a major statement this season and this Friday, the Eagles will face a different Indian team than last year at Indian Field. Cutter Morning Star took the Indians into double-overtime last year with Poyen escaping with the 35-29.
Defensively against Dierks last week—Anthony Nannemann led the Tribe’s defensive unit with 18 tackles and Nathan Orr racked up 12 tackles. Colton Lowe also impacted the defense with eight tackles and Orr and Brandon Reed each had an interception to spark on the defensive end for the Tribe.
Barrett is much aware about what happened last year and knows the Eagles are hungry to end their winless season so far on Friday. Barrett believes the Indians will come into this Friday’s match-up ready to attack on both ends of the ball.
Last week, the Indians had 239 total yards of offense, but 237 yards rushing to propel its run game. The sensational star playmaking ability of senior quarterback Jaxson Carter scored all three Poyen touchdowns on the ground for 144 yards rushing. Blake Rhodes produced productive yardage for 103 yards rushing to break over the 100 yard rushing mark for the second consecutive game.
Despite the Indians not being as effective for their passing game last week, their dynamic duo of Carter and Brandon Sanchez will return in a stout way. Sanchez was held end zoneless for the first time this season last week, but will be expected to come back ready Friday. Sanchez has produced monstrous performances throughout his football career at Poyen. Through the week 0 to week 5, Sanchez has been averaging three touchdowns a game in his new role this season as a slot back receiver. Sanchez has been the key throwing target for Carter and the duo aims to impact the Tribe Friday to keep Poyen rolling on the winning trail. Cutterr Morning Star returns key players from last season quarterback Sam Moore and receiver Keshawn Blevins as offensive weapons for the Eagles who helped them rack up nearly 400 yards of offense against Murfreesboro last week.
The Eagles will present a threat Friday against Poyen, but Barrett feels if his Indians have the right mindset of staying focused, humble and hungry—they can prevail.