Heading into the second half of the high school football regular season with three games tonight, Shreveport-Bossier Journal writers Jerry Byrd Jr. (Byrd, Woodlawn), Roy Lang III (Evangel), John James Marshall (BTW, Huntington, Northwood), Harriet Prothro Penrod (Southwood) and Tony Taglavore (Captain Shreve) offer midseason takes on the eight Caddo Parish teams in Classes 5A and 4A.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON LIONS (0-5, 0-2 in District 1-4A)
GOOD STUFF: Coach Tony Reliford won’t hesitate to tell you that do-it-all athlete Kendrick Pratt has been his team’s MVP so far this year … The Lions had an offensive explosion against Bolton in Week 2 (36 points) but have been unable to duplicate that since.
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: So many things to consider. But the worst of all is the schedule for the winless Lions. They still have Huntington, Northwood and Evangel in the second half … The Lions started off the season with injuries and that has continued … BTW came into the season with questions at quarterback and have had to use a freshman and a senior who had never played varsity football.
C.E. BYRD YELLOW JACKETS (4-1, 1-1 in 1-5A)
GOOD STUFF: Got off to a 4-0 start, including two of the most highly attended games this season (Calvary, Shreve) … Dominated East Texas power Pleasant Grove … Coach Stacy Ballew’s Jackets won 13 of his first 15 games since being named head coach in Spring of 2021.
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: Woes in the secondary have plagued the Jackets since their spring game against Parkway, and were exploited last Friday night at Benton in the 63-28 district upset … You won’t be able to find a game where the Jackets gave up 63 points on MaxPreps. It only goes back to 2004.
CAPTAIN SHREVE GATORS (3-2, 0-2 in 1-5A)
GOOD STUFF: The Gators have two bruising running backs. Senior Jayden Edwards has 734 yards—many of those coming from running inside the tackles. Edwards suffered a leg injury in Game 3, which opened the door for sophomore Jamarlon Otis to get some playing time. He has responded with an average of 4.1 yards per carry … Quarterback Kenyon Terrell doesn’t do anything to lose a game. He has only thrown one interception in 104 attempts. Head coach Adam Kirby has also been pleased with Terrell’s decision-making. The senior has the green light to check plays at the line of scrimmage … Shreve’s best weapon may be its kicker. John Chance, playing his first year of varsity football, is averaging just shy of 44 yards per punt—with a long of 67. He is 13-14 on PAT’s, and on the one miss, the ball was blocked. Sixteen of Chance’s 23 kickoffs have gone into/out of the end zone for touchbacks.
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: At times, the Gators rely heavily on the run, which allows defenses to load the box. When Shreve does put the ball in the air, the routes tend to be short. Last year, Terrell threw for 2,072 yards in 12 games. This year, he’s on pace to throw for 1,687 yards over 12 games … The Gators are averaging more than seven penalties per game. It’s not necessarily the number of penalties, as much as it is when the penalties occur. At Byrd, a fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown was called back … Shreve has shown difficulty overcoming adversity. The Gators tend to let one bad play or one bad drive turn into two bad plays or two bad drives. Shreve needs to have the mentality of being the hammer instead of the nail.
EVANGEL EAGLES (3-2, 2-0 in 1-4A)
GOOD STUFF: According to head coach Denny Duron, the Eagles’ offensive line has made the most significant improvement since the start of the season, and protecting quarterback Peyton Fulghum is a top priority … The defense has been the most consistent unit for Evangel during the 2022 campaign. The Eagles allowed just eight points for Neville in the season opener and allowed just 26 points over the past two games.
NOT-AS-GOOD-STUFF: Discipline is the theme as the Eagles aim for a run at the 2022 postseason. Duron hasn’t been happy with the performance of his special team unit. “We have to get better,” Duron said. “We have had plenty or missed opportunities because we’re not quite up to speed … Along the same lines, “unforced errors” in the form of penalties has limited Evangel during the first half. “We have to tighten things up,” Duron said.
HUNTINGTON RAIDERS (3-2, 2-0 in 1-4A)
GOOD STUFF: The Raiders have one of the most explosive passing attacks in the state. Everyone knew quarterback Kam Evans would have a big year, but the surprise has been the young receiving corps … Some position changes have really paid off. There was a re-shuffling of the offensive line and sophomore Nehemiah Bates switched from offense to defensive end and has played very well.
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: The Raiders could stand to be a little more balanced. The running game has been spotty at times. They’ve only run for 580 yards combined in five games; however, they do still average 6.2 yards per carry … Huntington has only one interception so far this year … The Raiders have allowed opponents to complete 62 percent of their passes.
NORTHWOOD FALCONS (3-2, 1-1 in 1-4A)
GOOD STUFF: The Falcons have an outstanding quarterback-running back combination in Mason Welch (927 passing yards) and running back Quintavion White (515 rushing yards and 10 TDs) … Slot receiver/tight end Marc Denison (27.1 yards per catch) has been getting open all over the field, both with crossing rounds and getting deep … If there were an award for First Half Defensive Player of the Year, Tadarius Collins would certainly be on the list of candidates. He has six sacks, 10 tackles for loss and has been unblockable at times.
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: The season started poorly with a sloppy loss to Benton. The Falcons were completely out of sync and were their own worst enemy … Mar’Jayvious Moss has played well, but he hasn’t had the eye-popping numbers of a year ago. However, he is third on the team in tackles … Welch has as many interceptions (3) as touchdown passes … The Falcons gave up two kickoff returns for touchdowns against Bossier.
SOUTHWOOD COWBOYS (0-5, 0-2 in 1-5A)
GOOD STUFF: The Cowboys started the 2022 slate on a 17-game losing streak dating back to the last game of the 2019 season and came out with victories in their first two games – 14-12 over Green Oaks in Week 1 and 8-0 over Woodlawn in Week 2 … Head coach Jesse Esters has Southwood on the right track. The attitude and effort of the players remain high despite this season’s setbacks. The Cowboys could have gone into their Week 6 matchup at Haughton with their heads low, but they put up a strong first half … Corinthian Walters plays all over the field – running back, quarterback, and safety – and had an interception and a go-ahead 17-yard TD run against the Bucs … Quarterback Cornelus Martin and receiver Detonion Arkansas have provided a spark on offense and connected on touchdowns of 85 and 60 yards against Haughton … When asked to name teams that have impressed him this season, Airline coach Justin Scogin mentioned Southwood. “Man, they are really improved and better.”
NOT-AS-GOOD STUFF: Instead of going into Week 5’s game at Huntington with a 2-2 overall record, the Cowboys dropped to 0-4 after having to forfeit their wins due to player eligibility issues. In its last three games, Southwood has been outscored 104-36. To make matters worse, workhorse running back Melvin Coleman is still out with an injury … The rest of the season: the final five are district games against the current Top 5 teams in the current Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 – Parkway (1), Benton (3), Captain Shreve (4), Byrd (2), and Airline (5).
WOODLAWN KNIGHTS (2-3, 1-1 in 1-4A)
GOOD STUFF: Numbers! The Woodlawn football team is growing as athletes want to be a part of what Thedrick Harris and his staff are doing on Wyngate. Size! The Woodlawn Knights have the beef on the offensive and defensive lines.
NOT-AS-GOOD-STUFF: The Knights have struggled mightily in the red zone … Offensive woes have led to only one win on the field during the first five weeks of the season – a 38-8 romp over BTW. The other victory was a forfeit at the expense of Southwood.