Bentonville West linebacker Kendall Young is one of the top prospects in Arkansas’ Class of 2019. Young and his teammates opened a new stadium on Friday night when Fort Smith Southside came to town.
The Mavericks took a 44-31 victory to spoil the first game ever at the stadium, but Young was impressive. He finished unofficially with 10 tackles and a sack for a 10-yard loss. They also lost to Owasso (Okla.) in the season opener after quarterback Will Jarrett went down with an ankle injury and West leading by 13 points.
On Friday night against Southside, Jarrett didn’t play and then standout wide receiver Jadon Jackson left the game and he too was on crutches with ice on his foot following the game.
“We keep having adversity,” Young said. “Will got hurt Game 1 and tonight we had to go in with a sophomore QB and that was kinda hard.
“We knew we were gonna battle adversity, but I put that all up on the defense. Today’s game was on the defense. We let them run right up the middle scoring touchdowns. If they don’t score as many points they don’t win the game so that’s on the defense.”
Bentonville West is one of the teams that was picked in preseason as a favorite to win the conference and play for the state title. Now they are 0-2. How do you bounce back?
“We’re gonna definitely keep pushing,” Young said. “We feel like we’re still a state championship team. We came in people expecting us to compete against North Little Rock in the state championship game. We’re gonna still continue to carry ourselves that way. We still need fan support. I know we’re 0-2, but this is still non-conference. Just look for us in conference games.”
Yeah, in the grand scheme of things you are still undefeated in the conference.
“Yes sir, Bentonville Tigers lost two games non-conference last year and they went to the state championship last year,” Young said. “I feel we can be a state championship team most definitely.”
Southside never trailed in the game. They jumped out to a 13-0 start with 10:07 remaining in the first half. Despite never being able to tie the game, Young and his teammates pulled to within 30-28 with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter. They also closed to within 37-31 with 3:54 left in the game, but Southside had an answer for every Bentonville threat.
“We never quit,” Young said. “We carry ourselves like Coach Pratt carries himself. He’s a man who is gonna keep fighting until the end so we’re gonna keep fighting to the end. We’re not gonna be down. We didn’t get the W today, but next game we’ll be right back at it.”
Young wears jersey No. 24 because of Kobe Bryant, former Los Angeles Lakers star. How did you grow up following Kobe?
“He’s an assassin,” Young said. “I loved Kobe from the jump. He was a great player and I aspire to be like that in the football world. Mamba Mentality is what I like to call it when I get into it my Mo.”
Young has narrowed his college decision down to three schools. How is the recruiting going?
“Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Mizzou are still Top 3 and I will probably be committing sometime next weekend,” Young said.
How do you think Arkansas will do against Eastern Illinois?
“I’m actually going to the game,” Young said. “I would like to see what kinda position I will be playing. Will linebacker and how the Will goes about stuff. It will be fun [on Saturday].”
Young and the Wolverines will be at home on Friday to host Bryant in what should be another big-time test in this young season. They open the conference season on Sept. 21 at Fayetteville.