We normally save this space for a semi-review of all three preseason magazines that have been in circulation the past few years.
But this year, Hooten’s Arkansas Football, was the first one to arrive via the U.S. mail so we will start there.
There are a lot of high expectations for area football teams, including predicted conference titles for North Little Rock and a runner-up conference finish for Jacksonville. The Charging Wildcats, with three possible Division I signees, are ranked No. 2 in Class 7A.
But before we go any further, let’s start by saying happy birthday to the magazine, founded by brothers Chris and Chad Hooten. This is its 20th year. The venture has expanded to more than just an annual magazine but a website, television show and weekly football rankings. It is good to see a tradition established.
Here are some of the tidbits, which are the same if you get the Razorbacks or Red Wolves cover.
•North Little Rock is the choice to win the Big East Conference, which is the collection of 6A and 7A schools in basically the northeast quadrant of the state. The Wildcats, with top running back Altee Tenpenny, defensive linemen Kenny Howard and defensive back Gary Vines, are considered among the elite teams in the state.
•5A-Central: Somehow Helena-West Helena was tossed into the mix and not Beebe, but it is a conference that should save on a lot of fuel costs with all the teams except one being in Pulaski County.
Jacksonville is ranked second in the conference. Sylvan Hills is picked fourth and North Pulaski is projected eighth.
•Pulaski Academy, the 4A champion last season, moves up to 5A and is the favorite.
Central Arkansas Christian returns to Class 4A and the Mustangs are picked fourth in the 7-4A conference.
Maumelle, despite Class 5A size, stays in 4A but shifts to the 4-4A league (think Arkansas River Valley). The Hornets, still young, are picked third in the league.
Cost of the magazine is $17.99.
Jeff Reed is sports editor of Stephens Media’s Pulaski County newspapers. His e-mail address is email@example.com.