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NORTH LITTLE ROCK FOOTBALL | Drive for title starts Friday

North Little Rock cheerleaders Photo by Jaison Sterling
North Little Rock cheerleaders Photo by Jaison Sterling
North Little Rock's K.J. Hill. Photo by Jaison Sterling
North Little Rock's K.J. Hill. Photo by Jaison Sterling
The North Little Rock crowd. Photo by Jaison Sterling
The North Little Rock crowd. Photo by Jaison Sterling

The cupcake feast is over.

After blowout wins in their last four games, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats are setting their sights on what the season has been all about for them from the beginning.

Friday, they host Rogers Heritage in the first round of the 7A playoffs with the winner traveling to Bryant next week.

But next week means nothing without this week. Beating a big, fast team like Heritage who have lost to the top two in their league, Bentonville and Fayetteville by a combined four points.

“Seeding at this point really doesn’t matter,” North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding said.

Bolding has stuck by his mantra of “be better this week than you were last week”.

Things seem to be coming together for Bolding and the Cats in recent weeks. Blowout wins over Marion, Mountain Home, West Memphis and Searcy may have given Bolding’s boys a boost of confidence going into Thursday’s 38-14 win at Central.

Bolding said not only is his offense getting better, but the defense is finding its stride as well.

“Central’s leading rusher was averaging maybe 100 to 150 yards a game,” Bolding said, “and we kept him to under 100.”

Despite some hard luck knee injuries this season, Bolding has a depth of special players.

Deion Tidwell has stepped up for the Charging Wildcats as has K.J. Hill.

Tidwell may feast on a Heritage defense that allowed more than 500 rushing yards to Rogers last week.

If Heritage decides to be run stuffers, then North Little Rock’s pass catchers will have to step up.

“We’ve got several receivers that if one guy gets doubled, then the others make plays as well,” Bolding said.

The defense will have to stop quarterback Josh Qualls and running back Brandon Gates.

It’s all about playmakers, and Bolding has them on both sides of the football.

The march toward a state title begins Friday.

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