Haughton toughens up for big trip to Airline

GETTING PHYSICAL – The Haughton Buccaneers bring a 2-1 District 1-5A record into tonight’s game at Airline Stadium while the Vikings are looking to stay undefeated in district play. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports

Hang on. Pretty sure something’s about to happen …

Yep. Here it is right here: “Haughton at Airline, tonight, 7 p.m.”

The sun coming up, death and taxes, and a huge mid-October game in District 1-5A.

“We feel like we’re tough; I didn’t feel like that a month ago,” said Jason Brotherton, head coach of Haughton (4-2, 2-1), a game back of Airline (3-3, 3-0).

After a last-second loss to Parkway—Haughton didn’t trail until the final two seconds—and wins over Southwood and Byrd, something has changed a bit for the Bucs, who seem to be getting better at what they do best.

“We’ve almost gone all the way in on lining up and running the ball right at you with our 210-pound running back (Tyler Rhodes) and a quarterback (Colin Rains) over 200 pounds,” Brotherton said. “They’re both big. Our offensive line has bought into it.”

Haughton rushed 35 times for 264 yards in its 37-24 win over Southwood two weeks ago, then got 150 yards from Rhodes, 92 of those in the second half, in last week’s 23-14 win over Byrd.

“I think it’s helped our defense,” Brotherton said. “We’re not asking as much out of them. We’ve won the time of possession the past three weeks.

“We were more physical than Byrd, and that’s usually not the case when we play them,” he said. “Physicality can make up for a lot of shortcomings. Our kids have started to believe in that.”

Logic suggests it would help Haughton’s cause to keep off the field an Airline offense that’s scored 163 points the past three weeks. The Vikings are matching that flair on defense: in Airline’s 42-14 win last week over Captain Shreve, the Gators’ offense managed just 45 yards in the first half and had only 75 total when their backup quarterback took over for the game’s final two series.

“(Rains) is similar to (Shreve quarterback Kenyon) Terrell; they’re both athletic and can move around,” Airline defensive coordinator Zack Pourciau said. “You don’t want to let him leave the pocket. Rhodes is really good too, just a solid, solid player.”

“Problems all over the place,” Scogin said of the challenges Haughton brings to the field. “They’ve been to the playoffs for, what, a quarter-century straight? Pretty good program.”

By this back half of the season, everyone knows who has what. Few secrets. So, it’s more about sweeping off your own porch.

“Our worries aren’t so much about Haughton or Parkway or Byrd,” Airline senior linebacker Mark Engelke said. “We know we’re a good team. If we execute, we’re gonna win games.”

“We feel like if we play well, we can beat anybody in our district,” Brotherton said. “Thursday night (against Byrd) was like that. If we play well, we have a chance; we’ve got some tough guys.”

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Haughton (4-2, 2-1) at Airline (3-3, 3-0) 

Where: M.D. Ray Field at Airline Stadium 

Series: Airline 26-12 

Last year: Haughton 10-7 

Last week: Haughton beat Byrd 23-14; Airline beat Captain Shreve 42-14

Rankings: Haughton is No. 4 in SBJ poll; Airline is No. 2 in SBJ poll  

LHSAA Power Ratings: Airline is No. 17 in Div. I Non-Select; Haughton is No. 15 in Div. I Non-Select 

Radio: none 

Notables: Is 1-5A a joy or a gauntlet? It’s fun for fans of high school football, that’s for sure. In his first year as Airline’s head coach, Justin Scogin said he was “ready for it,” meaning the excitement and challenge of it, because no one can really BE ready for today’s 1-5A. “Best in the state,” Scogin said. “No other district in the state can match it top to bottom. Every single week is just brutal. As good as Southwood has gotten, there’s no game you can look at and say it’s a 100 percent win. Any team can beat any other team on any given night” . . . after early-season hiccups, the Vikings are putting their sophomore QB, Ben Taylor, in more favorable positions to be successful; his being five games older than he was in the 8-turnover opener has something to do with it too. “He’s surrounded by good skill players,” Haughton HC Jason Brotherton said. “He’s got big talented receivers around him. He’s done a good job himself and he doesn’t have to be great. Just get the ball close to (Daxton) Chavez and he’ll catch it” . . . Chavez and his “huge catch radius” is one problem for defenses, and his strength running it after the catch is another, Brotherton said. “Then if you roll to the side of Chavez, you have to worry about Cam Jefferson on the other side and he’s good.”

Green Oaks (2-4, 0-1) at Calvary (4-2, 1-0)

Where: Jerry Barker Stadium 

Series: Calvary 2-0 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: Green Oaks lost to Loyola 30-12; Calvary beat North Caddo 56-26 

Rankings: Calvary is tied No. 5 in SBJ, tied No. 5 in Class 2A LSWA poll 

LHSAA Power Ratings: Green Oaks is No. 17 in Div. III Select; Calvary is No. 6 in Div. III Select 

Radio: Calvary (Promise 90.7 FM) 

Notables: Giants’ head coach Chadwick Lewis is still hoping his players can clean up the mistakes – penalties, bad reads, forcing the ball — as they continue district play this week . . . the Giants have been without standout DL Kashaun Green since he suffered a knee injury in Week 2’s “Soul Bowl” victory over BTW . . . Lewis points to DB/WR Delarious Marshall and DE Phillip Hayes as the leaders on defense . . . Marshall also had nine catches for 119 yards in last week’s 30-12 loss to Loyola . . . Amarion Dorsey leads Green Oaks receivers with 14 catches for 281 yards and 3 TDs . . . QB Tovoras Lee is closing in on 1,000 passing yards . . . after going 14-for-25 for 199 yards last week, Lee is 177 shy of the mark.

This marks the first matchup between the Cavaliers and Giants in 12 years. Calvary won 59-18 in 2010 and 49-8 in 2009 . . . since a Sept. 15 loss to Captain Shreve, Calvary has scored at least 50 points in three straight against Wossman, Mansfield and North Caddo and the Cavs boast an average winning margin of 53-17 . . . running back James Simon IV has scored 12 touchdowns this season (eight rushing, four receiving). Six different Cavaliers have hauled in a touchdown pass this season.