By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports
(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the Shreveport-Bossier Journal spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)
After the first three weeks of the season, the Airline Vikings kept hearing what a good 0-3 team they were.
In Week 1, the Vikings were defeated 46-21 by North DeSoto, followed by a 26-22 defeat to Union Parish, and then a 35-28 loss to Northwood when the Airline offense started to show a spark in the second half.
Coming off of a 1-9 season, it wasn’t the start the Vikings wanted. Too many turnovers, too many missed tackles.
They were getting tired of hearing all the talk.
“We’re 0-3, but the good thing is they understand what they’re doing wrong,” Airline head coach Justin Scogin said before last week’s District 1-5A opener at Benton. “They’ve stayed true to who I thought they were. They’ve continued to compete. It’s never fun to lose, but the process of the whole thing – learning how to win – is fun.”
The Vikings had fun against Benton.
After setting a school record for points scored in their 75-59 victory over the Tigers (1-3, 0-1) last Friday night, Airline (1-3, 1-0 in district) has been named “Team of the Week” by the Shreveport-Bossier Journal.
The district-opening victory was against a Benton team coming off a wild 54-52 loss to Arch Manning and Newman.
“After all the talk that we were a really good 0-3 team, it was time to start winning,” said Scogin. “We’ve been working toward this. It’s not like we haven’t been trying. We preached a lot about us getting better as a team and taking what people give us. Things finally clicked for us.”
You could say that.
The offensive onslaught included:
- Sophomore quarterback Ben Taylor, who had thrown for 678 yards and 7 touchdowns in the first three games, was 26-of-37 for 412 yards and 7 TDs against Benton.
- Senior wide receiver Daxton Chavez caught nine passes for 233 yards and 5 TDs.
- Junior running back Tre’ Jackson had 15 carries for 173 yards and 1 TD.
- Senior running back Kylin Jackson finished with 120 yards on six carries with 1 TD.
There were also touchdown receptions by Bob Patterson and Cameron Johnson, an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD by JoJo Johnson, and Taylor added a rushing TD to his seven passing.
“Our O-line, every single kid on the field stepped up,” said Scogin. “It’s all a process. Anytime you have change – and we’ve had change in our staff – there’s a learning curve. We’re going to continue to focus on getting better.”
The Vikings will play host to Natchitoches Central (2-2, 1-0) in 1-5A action Friday night.
While people were doing a lot of talking about Airline prior to the Benton game, perhaps they should have been listening.
“I’ve been telling everyone that Daxton Chavez is the best receiver in the state,” said Scogin. “This should be a wake-up call to every football college in the state. Our phone should be ringing off the hook now.”
Honorable Mention: Woodlawn’s first win of the season came last Friday night during its homecoming game in the District 1-4A opener at Independence Stadium. After the defense gave Woodlawn the early lead – following De’Shawnee Snow’s recovery of the ball in the endzone and a 2-point conversion – the Knights held on for a 38-8 victory over Booker T. Washington.
“It feels good,” Woodlawn head coach Thedrick Harris said after the game. “I felt like we should have had a couple more before now. I am happy for those kids. They kept working. They kept the faith. They really worked hard all this time. It’s good for them for that hard work to pay off.”
Woodlawn (1-3, 1-0) will meet Evangel (2-2, 1-0) in a District 1-4A matchup Friday night at Lee Hedges Stadium.
Contact Harriet at email@example.com