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Defending Class 6A champion Pine Bluff eager for rematch with Class 7A Fort Smith Northside

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FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — Pine Bluff overcame three regular-season losses on its way to the Class 6A state championship last season.

Ranked No. 3 overall, the Zebras hope to make amends for one of those losses when they face No. 4 Fort Smith Northside on the opening Friday night of the high school football season.

The Class 7A Grizzlies finished 9-3 last season, including a playoff win over Little Rock Catholic, before ending their season against North Little Rock. Those wins included a season-opening 26-15 win over Pine Bluff, which went on to defeat Benton for the Class 6A title.

Most of the Zebras' starters return to defend their championship this season, while senior linebacker Deontre Hardwick leads the Northside defense.

No. 4 FORT SMITH NORTHSIDE 23, No. 3 PINE BLUFF 21

(1) Fayetteville 31, Lawton (Okla.) Eisenhower 21

Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst 17, (2) Bentonville 14

(4) Fort Smith Northside 23, (3) Pine Bluff 21

(5) North Little Rock 20, Little Rock Catholic 10

(6) Fort Smith Southside def. Alma, 35-19

(7) Conway 24, (8) Cabot 22

Highland Park (Texas) 41, (9) Pulaski Academy 40

Webb City (Mo.) 31, (10) Springdale Har-Ber 17

CLASS 6A

Fort Smith Northside 23, (1) Pine Bluff 21

(2) Greenwood 38, Springdale High 21

(3) Benton 17, Bryant 14

(4) El Dorado 28, Camden Fairview 24

(5) Jonesboro 37, Valley View 7

CLASS 5A

Highland Park (Texas) 41, (1) Pulaski Academy 40

(2) Batesville 23, Watson Chapel 17

El Dorado 28, (3) Camden Fairview 24

(4) Little Rock Christian 33, Fountain Lake 31

Lake Hamilton 27, (5) Hot Springs 24

CLASS 4A

(1) Dardanelle def. Danville, 42-0

(2) Nashville 29, Hope 23

(3) Star City 27, Lonoke 20

(4) Pulaski Robinson 30, Bauxite 14

(5) Arkadelphia def. Stuttgart, 23-12

CLASS 3A

Junction City 23, (1) Smackover 19

(2) Prescott 33, Gurdon 16

Shiloh Christian def. (3) Charleston, 77-49

(4) Harding Academy 24, Highland 21

Hamburg 31, (5) McGehee 21

CLASS 2A

(1) Junction City 23, Smackover 19

(2) Rison 27, Fordyce 23

(3) Hazen 30, Earle 10

(4) McCrory 36, E. Poinsett Co. 32

Prescott 33, (5) Gurdon 16

LAST SEASON: 326-52 (86 percent)

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