For the past 31 years, Barton High School has led the state of Arkansas with 318 victories and seven undefeated seasons.
"It's a small program that has tremendous accomplishments," says Coach Jim Sain.
With eight state championships, the last in 1997, the maroon and white take pride on its small teams with big ambitions.
“I just love it. It's something I’m good at. I mean I try my best at football. I play my heart out for football," explains player Kareem Matthews.
The 17-year-old senior is a linebacker. He's played for Barton since the 7th grade. This week, Matthews says their coach told the team of 11 the unthinkable.
"Even with the few we had, I was just willing to play. I never thought he'd cancel our whole season," explains Matthews.
Sain says, “The first two ball games that we played this year, at half time of both games we had people that were seriously hurt enough to go to the doctor, even at half time.”
“I couldn't believe it at first. I could not believe it. It felt like my heart just dropped," says Matthews.
Coach Sain met with players and parents and realizes the decision to sideline the season is unpopular but knows it's necessary and in the team’s best interest.
"They were hurt and naturally so," says Sain.
Sain doesn't want to speculate on whether the Bears will field a team next season, so for now the stands will sit empty and the score board blank.
Sain explains, "it's never easy it's just not easy at all."
It’s the end of an era for the tiny school that under the Friday night lights shined like a powerhouse for decades.
Only two schools, Little Rock Central and Pine Bluff, have won more state championships than Barton. The Bears also own a state record of 63 straight victories, a run that ended in 1990. Their last state championship was in 1997.
Coach Frank McClellan coached 35 seasons at Barton before retiring in 2005. He was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2003.