Challenges in first half for Caddo Parish’s smaller school teams


With five games down, and at least five to go, Shreveport-Bossier Journal writers Jerry Byrd Jr. (North Caddo), Roy Lang III (Calvary), John James Marshall (Loyola), Harriet Prothro Penrod (Green Oaks, Magnolia School of Excellence) offer midseason takes on the five Caddo Parish teams in Classes 2A and 1A.

CALVARY CAVALIERS (3-2, 0-0 in District 1-2A)

GOOD STUFF: Despite a schedule littered with teams in higher classifications, the Cavaliers defense has been stout. The unit allowed 27 points to 5A Captain Shreve, but just 14 to Byrd … Led by linebacker Cade Bedgood and safties Hutch Grace and Landon Sylvie, Calvary has allowed just 17.8 points per game, and that includes a few pick-6s that should be charged to the offense … “They’ve been the leaders on that side of the ball,” head coach Rodney Guin said of his star defensive trio.

NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: Every team would love to boast a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver on a game-by-game basis, but not 100 cumulative yards in penalties, but that’s the result of the numerous infractions committed by Calvary every week. “It’s been a negative all year long,” Guin said … The offense is another unit Guin hopes shows improvement down the stretch, although the Cavaliers have put up back-to-back 50-point efforts … If Calvary plans to make a run at another state title, Guin knows production on that side of the ball must increase.  “We have to get better on offense,” he said.

GREEN OAKS GIANTS (2-3, 0-0 in 1-2A)

GOOD STUFF: The highlight of the season so far for the Giants is their 28-6 victory over Booker T. Washington in Week 3’s “Soul Bowl.” At the time, it was Green Oaks’ first win on the field since Nov. 20, 2020 (the Giants’ only victory last season was by forfeit). Since then, their Week 1 14-12 loss to Southwood was nullified when they Cowboys had to forfeit their two losses … Although they have suffered two lopsided losses (40-6 at Carroll and 66-8 at Alexandria), the Giants have not been shut out so far this season … Fred’Travious Benjamin has been key on both offense and defense. In the “Soul Bowl” victory, the 6-1, 170-pound senior wide receiver and defensive back had 22 of the Giants’ 44 receiving yards and a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown … Sophomore Tovoras Lee continues to improve and has 624 yards on 41-of-93 passing attempts with 5 TDs in the first five games.

NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: As they go into district play this week, the Giants are still working on consistency. “We do well for a few minutes, but then we have a breakdown,” coach Chadwick Lewis said after an 18-13 loss to Peabody. “We’re working on fixing those things. We’ve got to fix the mental lapses” … In their losses to Carroll, Peabody, and Alexandria, the Giants were outscored 124-27. After their district opener against Loyola this week, the Giants will face Calvary (currently ranked No. 7 in Class A by the LSWA) and North Caddo (No. 4) in back-to-back weeks.

LOYOLA FLYERS (1-3, 0-0 in 1-2A)

GOOD STUFF: Coach Mike Greene pointed to his team being down by 30 points in the first half in the second game of the season against Logansport and rallying to take that game to the wire. There was also a come-from behind win against Red River in which the Flyers got a second-half score and made a defensive stop to end the game … Linebacker Gray Deason has led the Flyers in tackles in every game … Running back Trace Wall became the 33rd player in school history to go 1,000 rushing yards.

NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: Injuries have been a factor even before the season started and have continued throughout. The Flyers lost a starting middle linebacker, two starting wide receivers and two safeties before halftime of the opening game. They’ve had five players out with knee injuries already this year … The Loyola defense has come up with only three turnovers in four games … This is the least amount of points (65) Loyola has scored through four games since 2014.

NORTH CADDO TITANS (3-2, 0-0 in 1-2A)

GOOD STUFF:  Omarion Miller and K.J. Black are putting up the numbers to validate the claim that they are two of the best at their position in northwest Louisiana … New quarterback Aiden Brock has proven himself in managing the Titan offense … The Titans have shown the ability to win on the road and win against quality 5A competition (previously unbeaten West Ouachita).

NOT-AS-GOOD-STUFF: The Titans gave up 50 points against Neville. 

MAGNOLIA MARINERS (0-5, 0-1 in 1-1A)

GOOD STUFF: The effort. It’s hard to find much good when you look at the Mariners’ record, but you have to take into account that they have played arguably the toughest schedule in the state in at least their class … In the last two weeks, they faced the defending Class A state champion (Homer) and the No. 1 team in the Class 4A standings by the LSWA (Westgate) …  Before those two games, Magnolia had not been shut out. And, no matter who they have faced, the Mariners have put forth a brave effort … Magnolia isn’t the only winless team in their district … Its next four district games will be at home.

NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF: The record. While the Mariners were able to put points on the board in their first three losses, they were outscored 124-0 the last two weeks (in a 47-0 loss to Homer and 77-0 to Westgate – which is the most points scored in the state this season).