TEXARKANA -- This week has been filled with special treats.
Arkansas High's football program is truly 3-0 for the first time since . ... well, a long time ago. The Razorbacks technically went 3-0 in 2020 but, to be fair, three of their first four games were canceled during the pandemic. Their second-best start came the year they won the state championship, but started 2-0-1 with a tie against then-crosstown rival Texas High.
Texas High and Pleasant Grove are also unbeaten to start 2023, both sitting at 3-0 after big wins on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Mother Nature unfortunately stole what seemed to be Liberty-Eylau's first win of the season. The Leopards, however, are showing improvement each week and look to be contenders again once district play begins -- if not before then with games against Atlanta and Sulphur Springs coming up.
Atlanta also had a lot to celebrate this week -- and last -- after record-setting performances by quarterback Peyton Harrison and wideout Jayden Riley. Harrison finished the win over Redwater with 533 total yards and eight touchdowns, while Riley set a mark in receiving.
The outing landed Harrison as both the Texarkana Gazette's and Maxpreps' Player of the Week. More on that below.
Here are some other local happenings in the Texarkana region this week that you may have missed in our editions:
Hooks volleyball coach Kaci Price has a big reason to celebrate this week. Her Lady Hornets handed the coach her 100th victory.
Hitting the century-mark was seven years in the making for Price.
"I began my (coaching) career as an assistant coach for Haylee Houston and Keri Waide at New Boston eight years ago," Price said. "Hands down, I could not have asked for better mentors in my life. Both of them broke everything down for me every single day and truly taught me how to handle the 'paperwork' side and expectations to hold myself accountable for each day."
After a four-year stint at DeKalb, Price moved to Hooks, where she has been three years.
No one was stopping Peyton Harrison.
The Atlanta quarterback amassed 533 total yards and eight touchdowns against Redwater on Friday night en route to a 68-38 triumph, in what was actually tied game at 38-all going into the fourth quarter.
The 6-1, 170-pound left-hander connected on 15 of 21 passes for 472 yards and seven touchdowns for the Rabbits, and rushed for another 61 yards and a score on eight attempts. He finished with a 153.3 quarterback rating and has received the Gazette's unanimous vote for Athlete of the Week for his Week 2 performance.
Pleasant Grove traveled down Interstate 30 and made quick work of host Mount Pleasant on Tuesday with three sweeps.
The varsity team won, 25-6, 25-11, 25-10, and Abby Runion scorched the home team with a game-high 18 service points. Julianne Naples finished with 10 kills.
Alyson Cherry had 15 points, 28 assists and 10 digs as James Bowie defeated DeKalb, 25-13, 25-15, 25-21, on Tuesday.
With the victory, James Bowie moves to 12-7 on the season.
Maddie Huggins finished with 12 points and 11 digs for the Lady Pirates, while Skylar Reeves recorded 25 kills in the victory.
Texas High's varsity volleyball team moved to 22-5 on the year after taking down former district foe Sulphur Springs 25-10, 25-13, 25-20, on Tuesday night at the Tiger Center.
It was the last non-district match for the Lady Tigers before entering district play at home against Whitehouse on Friday.
Senior setter Cy Hopkins had 16 points and 15 assists in the sweep of the Lady Wildcats. Fellow senior Mally Lumpkin had a full night with 14 points, 10 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Taryne Stiger continued her strong play at the net with 17 points.
Liberty-Eylau found more of a groove later in the match but it was too late as Atlanta swept the Lady Leopards, 25-9, 25-11, 25-20, in a varsity volleyball match Tuesday at the Rader Dome.
"We are a team of progress and I am trying to get them to understand to have confidence in themselves," Liberty-Eylau head coach Maya Polley said. "They need to know that they have the abilities to do whatever it is that they want to do.
"My leader, senior Ja'Kai Ray, continued to do a bit of everything and tried to take control of the floor. She talks to the team to try and keep them up as much as possible. I just need Ja'Kai to have some help in those sets."
Ray led Liberty-Eylau with six service points to go with a team-high six kills. Jada Stovall had five service points and a team-high eight digs.
Hooks hit the road and needed just three sets to take down Avery, 25-18, 25-22, 25-20, on Tuesday night.
Alle Winniford and Addy Hale combined for 21 points, with Winniford having a team-high 11 for the Lady Hornets. Winniford also had 18 assists while Hale added 15 more.
Morgan Creer finished with 17 kills and five blocks, Kinsley Birdwell had 10 kills and 16 digs, Anna Beth Black recorded six kills and four blocks and Maddie Campbell contributed with 13 digs.
Pleasant Grove and Texas High tennis program clashed Tuesday night and, as expected, it was a close contest.
Texas High ultimately got the win, posting a 10-9 triumph over the crosstown Hawks, and an overall score that was a 12-12 draw.
Arkansas High trailed in most of the sets against Ashdown, but came back to win all three, 25-21, 25-20, 25-17, at the Arkansas Middle School gym Tuesday evening.
Arkansas High evens its record at 5-5, including 0-2 in conference play, while Ashdown falls 0-5.
Mineral Springs jumped two spots this week and is now atop the Class 2A rankings.
No. 1 Mineral Springs (2-0) had huge contributions from its offense, defense and special teams, including a 39-yard fumble return for a touchdown, in its 42-2 win over Fouke on Thursday night.
Trailing the Hornets in the Class 2A rankings are East Poinsett Co., Des Arc, Hazen and Marked Tree.
No. 2 Prescott (1-1) was tied with Boooneville the rankings coming into Week 3, but fell short to a much higher classification team from Oklahoma after a 17-13 loss to McAlester in the final seconds on Friday night and dropped to second in the Class 3A rankings this week.
McAlester, which is the third-ranked Class 5A team in Oklahoma, staved off a Curley Wolves rally at the 1-yard line with 2 seconds left in the game to hold onto its 16-game winning streak at home.
Booneville garnered 13 first-place votes this week while Prescott received 12.
Texas High (2-0) entered last week ranked No. 8 in the Dave Campbell's Texas Football poll and remained the same this week in the eighth spot after taking down No. 11 Colleyville Heritage in a barn-burner, 41-38, on the road.
Pleasant Grove (2-0) stayed as the Class 4A, Division II's third-ranked team this week following a 27-10 victory over Shreveport Byrd last Friday in Texarkana.
Hooks (2-0) also remained idle this week in the polls after a 26-19 triumph over Class 2A, Division I's sixth-ranked Cooper. The Bulldogs entered the contest ranked fourth.
Atlanta quarterback Peyton Harrison had a historic night last week against Redwater after throwing for 472 yards and seven touchdowns.
The dual-threat left-hander also rushed for 61 yards and another score, to finish the night with 533 total yards and eight touchdowns in their 68-38 win over the Dragons.
With that, Harrison, who was named the Gazette's Athlete of the Week, took over for the most passing yards in the Texarkana region through two weeks with 615 yards. Texas High QB David J. Potter is close behind at 605 yards and Prescott's Pierce Yates is the next closest at 474.
Atlanta wide receiver Jayden Riley also etched his name into the Rabbits' record books last week, and now owns the No. 1 spot with 372 reception yards on just 10 catches entering Week 3. Texas High's Tradarian Ball (208) and Prescott's PJ Gulley (200) trail Riley.
Peyton Harrison keeps adding on the accolades after last week's record-setting performance.
On top of being named the East Texas Offensive Player of the Week by Smoaky and was unanimously chosen as the Texarkana Gazette Athlete of the week on Tuesday, the Atlanta quarterback has gained even more attention as he was named Texas' Player of the Week by MaxPreps on Thursday afternoon.
Harrison piled on 533 total yards and eight total touchdowns in a 68-38 win over Redwater last week, where he threw for 472 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 61 and another score.
Thirteen of Demilon Brown's 23 passes completed last Thursday went to Liberty-Eylau graduate Isaiah Cross and Nick Howard.
Playing among a deep stable of University of Arkansas at Monticello receivers, Cross and Howard combined to bring in 240 of Brown's 388 yards and accounted for all four of his passing touchdowns in a 49-26 win at Northwestern Oklahoma State University to open the season. Yet, UAM Coach Hud Jackson thinks Brown threw for more yards than that, adding the team is in the process of updating those statistics.