By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
Winning a big, district-opening, come-from-behind game is all well and good, but there is one thing Huntington coach Stephen Dennis hopes his team remembers – there is another game this week.
Like many teams, the Raiders have been using the mindset of “going 1-and-0” every week, but nowhere in that theory do wins carry over from week to week.
And Dennis knows that the Minden Crimson Tide is not exactly the type of team his Raiders need to be playing if they haven’t put last week’s win over Northwood behind them. Huntington and Minden will meet tonight at Independence Stadium at 7 o’clock in a District 1-4A game.
“I think that any time you are dealing with high school kids, you have to learn how to put one game behind you and focus on what next week is going to be,” Dennis said. “That’s part of any natural growth for kids. We went 1-0 last week. We accomplished that goal. Now we have to do it again.”
Huntington, Northwood and North DeSoto are considered to be the District 1-4A favorites, but even though Minden is 1-3, Dennis knows what a challenge the Tide can be.
“They are a team that their record does not reflect their talent and their coaching staff,” Dennis said. “(Minden coach) Spencer Heard is a very good football coach who has won a whole lot of games for a long time. By no means is this a walk in a park for us.”
Four weeks into the season, most coaches have already figured out what they have in terms of personnel. For Dennis and the Raiders, the adjustments from this point forward are more subtle.
For example, Huntington has allowed touchdowns in the last two weeks in the two-minute drill before halftime.
“With high school kids, sometimes it’s hard to keep their attention in practice and even in games,” Dennis said. “So you have to make them understand why we do the drills and specific scenarios that we do. I stopped during practice and said ‘This is why we are doing this. Under no circumstances can we be giving up a touchdown right before half.’ We have to understand why we do these drills because they will come up in a game.”
Of course, tackle-the-guy-with-the-ball is a scenario that always works, especially on the last play of the game. As Northwood was attempting to drive for a potential tying score, sophomore defensive end Nehemiah Barrett, who had two sacks in the game, ended the contest with an open field tackle as the horn sounded.
“We thought he was going to be a running back,” Dennis said. “But he is just now starting to figure out how to play defense and he is going to be a problem for people when he fully figures it out.”
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Minden (0-1, 1-3) vs. Huntington (1-0, 2-2), Independence Stadium
Series: Minden 17-9
Last year: Huntington 40-7
Last week: Minden lost to North DeSoto 40-12; Huntington beat Northwood 28-20
Rankings: Minden is not ranked; Huntington is ranked No. 6 in SBJ poll
Radio: Minden on (Real Country 104.5 FM)
Notable: Dennis pointed out the play of running back John Solomon (“He had a huge fourth quarter”), quarterback Kam Evans and junior linebacker Derrick Edwards, who led the team last week with 11 tackles … Edwards (42 tackles) and Dylan Holmes (44) lead the Raiders … wide receiver Jarvis Davis had seven catches in last week’s game … Evans ranks second in the state in passing yardage (1,107), according to GeauxPreps.com.
BTW (0-1, 0-4) at North DeSoto (1-0, 4-0)
Series: North DeSoto 6-3
Last year: North DeSoto 54-0
Last week: BTW lost to Woodlawn 38-8; North DeSoto beat Minden 40-12
Rankings: North DeSoto is ranked No. 9 in LSWA 4A poll
Notable: The Lions have a challenge going on the road to take on North Desoto (4-0) Friday in Stonewall. “We’ve got a daunting task ahead of us,” BTW coach Tony Reliford said. “We are young and have a tough schedule, so we are just trying to keep them encouraged” … Kendrick Pratt and sophomore linebacker Cedric Dennis continue to give outstanding performances for BTW, according to Reliford … first-year senior starter La’Devin Jackson remains at quarterback for BTW … Reliford doesn’t expect any players back from injury this week, but top offensive lineman Jamarion Edwards should be back soon from a leg injury.
Evangel (1-0, 2-2) vs. Woodlawn (1-0, 2-2), Lee Hedges Stadium
Series: Evangel 2-1
Last year: Evangel 13-6
Last week: Evangel beat Bossier 33-14; Woodlawn beat BTW 38-8
Rankings: Evangel is ranked No. 9 in SBJ poll
Notable: Woodlawn had a rare two-win week. On the field, the Knights got in the win column with a 38-8 win over BTW. Later in the weekend, Coach Harris was informed that Southwood would have to forfeit both of its wins, which came during the first two weeks of the season … on The Tim Fletcher Show, Coach Harris attributed the Knight’s success in the red zone to moving some personnel around … last week, Woodlawn and BTW came into their meeting with identical 0-3 records. This week, it will be more of the same as both Woodlawn (2-2) and Evangel (2-2) will try to break .500 … the Eagles are 2-1 the past three seasons vs. Woodlawn, including a 13-6 victory last season … school officials hope the Eagles’ new artificial turf surface will be ready next month … starting quarterback Peyton Fulghum missed Week 4, but has been cleared to play Friday. Backup Rodrigo Ballesteros tossed 4 TDs against Bossier.