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Bison, Wildcats meet at Hardke Field

Being at the bottom of the playoff bracket, a team usually gets only one home playoff game. The Carlisle Bison will play their third home game this week when they host perennial power Rison in the Class 2A quarterfinals at Fred C. Hardke Field.

Rison, the third seed from the 2A-8 conference, is 9-3 overall. The Wildcats were 5-2 in league play, losing to Junction City and Bearden, who are both still in the playoffs, as is fourth-place Strong.

Rison beat Mountainburg 52-6 in the first round and Magnet Cover 36-14 in the second round.

Carlisle, will host the third-round game because they are a higher seed, having finished second in the 2A-6 behind Des Arc.

The Bison are coming off a 48-26 win over Conway Christian in the second round last week.

“It’s really special for these seniors,” first-year coach Brandon Barbaree said of playing at home for the third week in a row of the playoffs. “We were guaranteed only one playoff game. It’s like a bonus game, not having to travel and the distractions with that. Our kids are excited to get to play one more game at home. It’s a great environment. It should be a packed house.”

“We get to play another week against a historical program like ourselves,” first-year coach Brandon Barbaree said. “It should be a fun one.”

Barbaree said he’s watched the Wildcats on film and that they have a tough, hard-nosed quarterback.

“They run the ball well … everything they do is based out of running the ball,” he said. “I think they threw once or twice against Bearden and once or twice against Magnet Cove. They are going to keep it on the ground and pound you.”

Barbaree said the Wildcats are “fundamentally sound.”

“It should be one of the quickest games,” he said. “It will be a fun game to coach in and fun game to watch.”

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