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NORTH LITTLE ROCK FOOTBALL | Cats roll on to second round

The North Little Rock team celebrates as the band plays on Jaison Sterling photo
The North Little Rock team celebrates as the band plays on Jaison Sterling photo
North Little Rock's Payton Holmes Jaison Sterling photo
North Little Rock's Payton Holmes Jaison Sterling photo
North Little Rock's Steven Powell closes in on the Rogers Heritage quarterback. Jaison Sterling photo
North Little Rock's Steven Powell closes in on the Rogers Heritage quarterback. Jaison Sterling photo

Round one is complete.

The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats took care of Rogers Heritage on Friday night in the first round of the 7A state playoffs. This Friday, they hit the road to a familiar venue.

North Little Rock will head to Bryant to take on the Hornets, who earned a bye last week. The Hornets are former conference foes for the Charging Wildcats. Both were former members of the 7A-Central.

North Little Rock represents Bryant’s fourth opponent this season from the old 7A-Central league. Bryant defeated Little Rock Central and lost to both Conway and Little Rock Catholic in the regular season. Hornets’ coach Paul Calley called the Charging Wildcats “ultra talented and virtually unbeatable.”

The familiarity goes a bit deeper this week.

North Little Rock’s star junior receiver played for the Hornets last year and turned heads. As a Charging Wildcat he continues to turn heads.

“I think he’s the best in the state,” North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding said. “With the way teams double him and he’s still able to do what he does.”

Hill has been the team’s most consistent playmaker along with Deion Tidwell since Bolding’s two starting running backs went down with season ending injuries.

Hill caught six passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the 49-16 win on Friday.

Bolding said a lot of credit also goes to quarterback that is “throwing very well” and solid play on the offensive line.

“He can’t (put up numbers) if we can’t get him the football,” Bolding said.

Bolding also said the side story of Hill returning to Bryant is a nonfactor saying that his receiver isn’t practicing extra hard knowing Friday’s opponent.

“I’d say they are all stepping it up,” Bolding said. “Our seniors have been to the semifinals the last two years, and they know what it takes. It takes our best efforts every week.”

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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