Regardless of what happens Friday, first-year Maumelle Coach Kirk Horton knows the Hornets will be better prepared for North Little Rock this year than they were last year.

The Hornets hosts the Charging Wildcats in the season-opener after losing 48-21 at North Little Rock last year. They fell behind 27-0 after the first-quarter because of mishaps with the punting team. After serving as the defensive coordinator the last two seasons, Horton is ready to begin his head coaching experience-starting it against his alma mater puts a whole other spin on the situation.

“North Little Rock is my alma mater, and it will be a David versus Goliath situation,” Horton said. “I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the job. We’ve worked all summer preparing for them. It will be interesting to see what adjustments we make.”

North Little Rock being the Class 7A Goliath to Maumelle’s Class 5A David, but for those not remembering their Sunday School lessons, it was David that won that matchup.

Both schools got in scrimmages last week.

North Little Rock traveled to Springdale and faced Bentonville for a half.

It wasn’t pretty, for Bentonville at least, as North Little Rock ran wild and beat the Tigers, 41-18.

The Cats rushed for nearly 300 yards as quarterback David Chapple scored three touchdowns, while running back John James added another touchdown, on a 48-yard run, and finished with 118 yards on the ground.

North Little Rock coach Jamie Mitchell said James was a player worth watching in the preseason and James, who missed last year with a knee injury, delivered on that early promise.

Maumelle also scrimmaged and defeated Dardanelle, 38-10, in a benefit game. Horton said the Hornets started off slow especially the offensive line but finally got it together. He was pleased with his defense forcing turnovers.

“I was excited about our defense forcing takeaways,” Horton said. “We had two fumbles and an interception. Once our offensive line got it together, it was what we envisioned. We do need to simulate game-like situations more in practice.”

After seeing film on the Charging Wildcats, Horton said they still have the speed they had last year. What is different is the Hornets hadn’t seen that speed last year, but they do have speed this year. One of Maumelle’s strengths is its speed on defense.

“We should be more used to the speed of the game,” Horton said. “They have our scrimmage film, but we haven’t shown them all our tricks and have a few other plays in our playbook. We have things designed for how they are aligned.”