They were within a play or two of playing for the state championship in 2012. In 2013, they may win the whole thing.

Hooten’s Arkansas Football has taken the lead in anointing the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats as the 7A state championship.


The Charging Wildcats lose a senior running back in Altee Tenpenny to the nation’s top college football program, plus one of the state’s top senior linemen.

"They lose all that, and you wonder," Barry Grooms said.

Add to the fact that no team from Central Arkansas has even played for the state title since 2005, and North Little Rock’s perch on top can be questioned.

Grooms, who is a senior editor for the magazine that comes out yearly, said North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding is in the midst of building a program and that 2013 could be one of those "magical" years.

"He’s doing it the right way," Grooms said. "He’s got a lot of talent and a lot of depth."

Grooms said the obvious explanation for the hype is transfers of players such as K.J. Hill from Bryant who was recognized statewide as a sophomore and Tim Quickle who played linebacker for Little Rock Central last season.

Grooms expects those two along with the likes of Kavon Alexander, who could be the Charging Wildcats’ next big name, and North Little Rock should be a force to be reckoned with in the state landscape.

"They were talented and deep already," Grooms said. "Add the transfers and they are just that much more dangerous."

Grooms said the 7A/6A-East shouldn’t pose much of a threat for North Little Rock setting them up as a top seed once again when postseason rolls around.

"Teams like Jonesboro and West Memphis are not as strong as last year," Grooms said.

Grooms added that the Charging Wildcats’ game against Pine Bluff would be "interesting".

Before a semi-finals loss to Fayetteville last season, North Little Rock’s only setback was at Longview, Texas.