By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports
Airline was 1-9 last year. Airline is much better this year—but 0-3.
The Vikings know that. Not easy to swallow. Too many turnovers. Poor tackling.
Do that better and who knows?
Benton? 1-2. Special teams mistakes. Gave up two kickoff returns for touchdown in back-to-back games. Pass coverage problems. Like Airline, poor tackling. Fix that and who knows?
Some answers will come tonight when Airline and Benton meet at Mason-Newman Field in Tiger Stadium. An argument could be made that this is the best matchup tonight in the state of teams with a combined 1-5 record.
Benton’s Tigers are coming off a heartbreaking loss in New Orleans in a game they led by 18 points to Newman, 54-52. Yes, that many points.
“Mentally, I think we’re in a good place (after the loss),” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “Still some fatigue. We’re not the freshest we’ve ever been. We have a lot of guys who played a lot of snaps.”
Cramping was usually a problem for the other team, not for Benton. Friday night in New Orleans was a different story. But a match with Airline suddenly clears the cramping air.
“It’s a big rivalry game,” Moore said. “We have to do whatever it takes to win this game. Airline is not a typical 0-3 team. If it were a team that nobody thought was good, our kids would be in a different mindset. But this is Airline. It’s a lot easier to be focused.”
“If we eliminate turnovers and if we tackle, we’ll be fine; I don’t worry that much about intensity if we do that,” Airline head coach Justin Scogin said. “We’re 0-3, but the good thing is they understand what they’re doing wrong. They’ve stayed true to who I thought they were. I know they’ve never gotten to the point where they’ve said, ‘Man, we’re giving up.’ They’ve continued to compete.
“We’re tired of people telling us how good of an 0-3 team we are,” he said. “Our kids understand; they get it. This has been the best part—nobody’s giving up. It’s never fun to lose, but the process of the whole thing, learning how to win, is fun.”
Contact Teddy at email@example.com
Airline (0-3) at Benton (1-2), Mason-Newman Field at Tiger Stadium
Series: Airline 2-1
Last year: Benton 28, Airline 7
Last week: Airline lost to Northwood 35-28; Benton lost to Newman 54-52
Rankings: Benton is No. 5 in SBJ poll
Radio: Benton (The Light, 92.1 FM)
Notable: Tigers receiver Pearce Russell ranks third Caddo-Bossier with 18 receptions and 351 receiving yards … Benton is coming off a wild 54-52 loss to quarterback Arch Manning and Newman in Week 3 … Benton defeated Airline 28-7 last season and lost 31-28 in 2020.
Natchitoches Central (1-2) at Southwood (2-1), Lee Hedges Stadium
Series: Natchitoches 22-9
Last year: Natchitoches 37-6
Last week: Natchitoches lost to ASH 54-6; Southwood lost to Carroll 40-12
Radio: Natchitoches (95.9 Kix Classic Country; http://126.96.36.199:8192/kixstl)
Notable: After starting the season 2-0 for the first time since 2006, the Cowboys fell to Carroll 40-12 in Week 3 … They hope to get back in the win column when they open District I-5A play against the Chiefs … Southwood coach Jesse Esters said the Cowboys will regroup and get back to the basics … “We had become distracted with the two wins that we didn’t perform well,” Esters said of last week’s loss … The Cowboys will be without three players tonight – workhorse running back Melvin Coleman, safety Jathon Skinner, and left guard Jayden Stevenson.
Calvary (1-2) at Wossman (2-1)
Series: First meeting
Last year: Did not play
Last week: Calvary lost to Byrd 14-7; Wossman beat Mentorship 67-0
Rankings: Calvary is No. 8 in LSWA 2A poll, No. 4 in SBJ poll
Radio: Calvary (Promise 90.7 FM)
Notable: So much for that quarterback competition. This week, Calvary Baptist Academy quarterback Bryce Carpenter, who had shared time with Abram Wardell, withdrew from the school and enrolled at Loyola College Prep … on the season, Carpenter has completed 39 percent of his passes (11-for-28) for one touchdown and one interception. He also added 29 rushing yards and a score. Wardell is 11-for-16 passing for three touchdowns and an interception … Barring a special reprieve, Carpenter won’t be eligible to play until Week 4 of his senior season.