Week 4: Best collection of big games all season

Does anybody get eaten up with boredom in mid-July and start looking for the best high school football games of the week in Northwest Louisiana?

Just me?


It’s an exercise the football-starved, me included, partake in to bide their time. And it helps to ease the football hunger pangs.

It didn’t take long to realize that Week 4 was where it’s at. And by “it” I mean almost EVERY big game of the year, rolled into two days. 

Backyard Brawl? Check. 

Brotherton Bowl? Check.

Those are marquee matchups, but this year even those games take a back seat to what is going to happen Friday night in Sabine Parish when Arch Manning and the Newman Greenies roll through Robeline.

By the way, somebody might want to warn them about that village’s speed trap? No? OK.

It’s a game that matches the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Manning, versus the second-highest ranked recruit in all of North Louisiana, Many linebacker Tackett Curtis.

Only Neville’s Zalance Heard, a 6-5, 300-pound offensive lineman, is ranked higher in the 318 AC (No. 3 in Louisiana) than Curtis, who is No. 6 in Louisiana.

Once you have been to Many on a football Friday night, you never forget it. Yeah, the pre-game fireworks get all of the pub, but it’s more than that. It’s the throng of people who stand around the field. The smell of the smoke coming off the pits. And that same throng of Sabinites who gather around the team during postgame to hear what fiery Tigers coach Jess Curtis has to say to his boys. 

Last week’s Byrd-Calvary gate was over $14,000. As they normally do, the schools split the gate. Thursday night, Byrd is the home team against Captain Shreve and looks to win at the gate as well as the field. 

Will the players on the field and the fans in the stands survive what looks to be record-high temperatures? We shall see.

It’s the Backyard Brawl. You can throw the records out the window, but why would you want to? Both programs enter Week 4 with 3-0 records as spotless as a kicker’s pants. 

While the quarterback matchup between Shreve’s Kenyon Terrell and Byrd’s Lake Lambert is intriguing, one could make a case that the other game in town Thursday night – Huntington vs. Northwood – is even better.

After stumbling out of the gate in Week 1, the Falcons are soaring again and face a Huntington crew which has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the best programs in North Louisiana. 

Raider head coach Stephen Dennis talks often about “championship effort.” Huntington will need everything they can muster when they meet master motivator Austin Brown and his Northwood squad. 

Will it go down to the wire? Some think it will be Northwood by a couple of touchdowns. I think it will be closer than that.

And I didn’t even mention that the two Thursday night tilts kick off the district schedule for both District 1-5A and District 1-4A. Even more at stake.

While these matchups pit neighbors against neighbors, the Parkway-Haughton game, or Brotherton Bowl, pits brother against brother as the head coaches.

It will be the second time this has happened this season as the two met in a “friendly” at the Bossier Lions Club Jamboree. Parkway came out on top, 13-0, in two quarters of play. 

Haughton defensive coordinator Gary Smith will have his hands full containing a Parkway offense which has scored 94 points in the last two weeks. 

While – historically – the media has enjoyed hyping the game, it’s less enjoyable for the brothers, who usually talk to one another and trade notes about their opponents during the week. Not to mention the parents – former Haughton coach Bob Brotherton and Mrs. Brotherton. Where will they sit? What will they wear? It’s like watching a Royal Bossier Parish Football Family wedding … or funeral. Rest In Peace, Queen Elizabeth. 

What about Benton-Airline? This one has Hatfield-McCoy vibes. Imagine if Airline players, wearing their jerseys, started walking north after school on Friday, and the Benton players did the same thing only walking south. They would only have to go six miles before converging on Williow Chute Creek. The Battle of Willow Chute! Has a nice ring to it. 

Speaking of battles, there are a couple of generals in this one who are known for dropping bombs — Benton senior Gray Walkers and Airline sophomore Ben Taylor. 

Benton senior Landon Duggan would rather drive the truck than drop bombs, though. Duggan hops into the backfield in Reynolds Moore’s Diesel package, and they have found success with Duggan driving the truck.

Moore is not afraid to put it in Duggan’s hands, especially on fourth and short.

Airline, which beat Benton 20-0 in two quarters at the Bossier Lions Club Jamboree, is looking for its first win of the season – and the first win for new head coach Justin Scogin.

They will face some hungry … and road weary … Tigers, who scored 52 points last week after driving nearly seven hours to play in New Orleans. Despite their offensive output, the Tigers lost by two points, after giving up 33 while a 32-14 halftime advantage evaporated in the third quarter. 

Hold my scoring summary, Benton. My last game as a head coach? My North Caddo Rebels put 68 points on the board … and lost by four to Lakeside. It hurts.

I’m not going to be a Football Karen and complain about all of these Week 4 marquee matchups happening on the same weekend. I’m just going to let it happen, Captain.

As Calvary superintendent Chad McDowell would say, “Get you some!” Northwest Louisiana football fans.

Contact Jerry at sbjjerrybyrd@gmail.com