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Little Rock's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Little Rock, Arkansas | THV11.com

NLR makes 6th trip in 9 years to state finals

"This is the game that everybody in Pulaski County wants to see and we’re fired up about being there."

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — North Little Rock head coach Johnny Rice and the Charging Wildcats are back in the state finals for the 6th time in 9 years.

"Our kind of motto the past few weeks is we want to play hard and we want to play together." Awaiting them in Hot Springs, their biggest rivals from across the river. The defending co-champion Central Tigers.

"Those guys are good, they beat us twice so we’re going in with a chip on our shoulder and really focusing in on this game." Coach Rice adds, "this is the game that everybody in Pulaski County wants to see and we’re fired up about being there.

NLR has had some real legends in this program win titles. Two future S-E-C stars in Moses Moody and KeVaughn Allen. Now senior D-J Smith wants to add his name to that legacy.

"I think about that all the time. Coach has all the guys and all the championships up here. It’s in our face every time we practice so it’s always on my mind."

Thursday afternoon Smith and the Cats will get their chance to add another banner for dog town. "I’ve been here for 4 years preparing for it so that would mean everything to complete that ultimate goal in the end."

If North Little Rock wins it will be the 5th title for Rice as the head coach of the Charging Wildcats. "We’ve won 4 here and I keep telling them I said we need 1 more for the thumb. We get one for the thumb we’ll be good."