Just another game when neighbors Huntington, Evangel meet

LET IT FLY: Quarterback Kam Evans hopes to get the Huntington offense back up to speed after a season-low six points last week. (JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)


You drive 0.3 miles down Rasberry Lane and turn right onto West 70th Street. Go a mile and turn left onto Broadacres Road. After a half-mile, you’ll be there.

It is only 1.8 miles from Huntington to Evangel and the Raiders will make that trip tonight when the two teams will meet in a District 1-4A game.

There are no two football-playing schools in Shreveport-Bossier closer in proximity than Huntington and Evangel. And with both in the same district, you’d think this would be quite a rivalry.

Think again.

They have only met once since 2004 and that was last year (a 36-34 Huntington win).

“It’s really not that big of a rivalry for us,” said Raiders’ head coach Stephen Dennis. “I know it sounds like coach speak, but it’s just another opponent for us. But with it being their Homecoming and opening the new (artificial) turf, I don’t know if I could speak for them that it’s just another game.”

Actually, it’s not even the first game played on the new surface. The Evangel JV got the first crack at it with a Monday game, but nevertheless, head coach Denny Duron said his team is “so excited about it.”

“We are all so hyped to get out there and play this week on the turf,” said Evangel quarterback Peyton Fulghum. “We are all so stoked.”

The two teams will be coming into the matchup from different directions. The Eagles (4-4, 3-2) beat Minden 48-21 – their seventh straight road game due to the turf construction – for their highest scoring output of the year.

Meanwhile, Huntington (5-3, 4-1) lost on the road at North DeSoto 48-6 in their lowest scoring output of the year.

So how are the Raiders handling that loss?

“Putting one foot in front of the other, showing up and going to work,” Dennis said. “I think our kids understand that we did not play Huntington football Friday night. We never really got going.”

The Raiders had a six-minute opening drive, but took a quarterback sack inside the North DeSoto 20 to end a chance to score.

Even down 15-0 in the second quarter, Huntington had a chance to get back in it but failed to capitalize. After that, the closest the Raiders got was 29-6.

“We talk to them all the time about peaks and valleys,” Dennis said. “Bad stuff is going to happen. It seems like every time we got in position to make a play and shift the momentum, North DeSoto would out-execute us. We have to own that. It’s been very rare this year that we couldn’t get something going quicker.”

Huntington still has a shot at a share of the district title, but Dennis knows the Eagles will present a challenge.

“They’ve got talented players,” he said. “And they are getting better every week.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Huntington (5-3, 4-1) at Evangel (4-4, 3-2) 

Where: Rodney Duron Field  

Series: Evangel 9-1 

Last year: Huntington 36-34 

Last week: Huntington lost to North DeSoto 48-6; Evangel beat Minden 48-21 

Rankings: Huntington No. 8 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll, Evangel is 9th 

LHSAA power rankings: Huntington is No. 11 and  Evangel No. 14 in Select Division II

Radio: none 

Notables: The Raiders still have a shot at a share of the district title, but will need help in the next two weeks. Perhaps more importantly, they are still in play for a home game in the Select-Division I playoffs … Quarterback Kam Evans, No.  2 statewide in passing yardage (2,286), was injured last week and his status is undetermined … Head coach Stephen Dennis praised the contributions of strong safety Deontrelle Jackson (seven tackles, one for loss) and wide receiver Jarvis Davis (65 yards) in last week’s game against North DeSoto.

The Eagles make their long-awaited home debut on artificial turf … Quarterback Peyton Fulghum is coming off a five-touchdown performance at Minden. Brayden Curry was on the receiving end of three of those scores. Fellow receiver Parker Fulghum hauled in the other two and ranks second in Caddo-Bossier with 56 catches, fourth statewide according to GeauxPreps.com.

Byrd (5-3, 2-3) vs. Southwood (0-8, 0-5) 

Where: Independence Stadium 

Series: Byrd 33-17

Last year: Byrd 37-24 

Last week: Byrd lost to Airline 48-28; Southwood lost to Captain Shreve 29-26 

Rankings: Byrd is No. 4 in SBJ poll 

LHSAA power rankings: Byrd is No. 6; Southwood is No. 33 in Select Division I

Radio: Byrd (The Tiger 1130 AM, 103.3 FM) 

Notables: The Cowboys are coming off a disappointing loss to Captain Shreve as they held a 12-7 edge at the half but fell 29-26 to the Gators … Southwood was able to run the ball in the first half, racking up 158 yards on the ground … Corinthian Walters and Detonion Arkansas carried the load against the Gators as they scored both first-half touchdowns and finished the game with 206 and 109 yards rushing, respectively.

After a quarter and a half of play – and leading 21-14 – Byrd was outscored 34-7 last week … In 1988, Byrd surrendered the most points in school history – losing 70-6 to the Cowboys. The Southwood coaching staff put the starters back in the game when Byrd’s Arlenzia Jackson scored the only touchdown of the night … Byrd wide receiver Jackson Dufrene has been added to the Louisiana Football Coaches Association I-20 Bowl roster. Dufrene and his teammates on the West will take on the best players in Northeast Louisiana on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2pm at Ruston High School.

Natchitoches Central (3-5, 2-3) at Haughton (4-4, 2-3) 

Where: Harold E. Harlan Stadium 

Series: Haughton 3-0

Last year: Haughton 35-7 

Last week: Natchitoches Central lost to Parkway 37-22; Haughton lost to Benton 78-71 

Rankings: Haughton is No. 6 in SBJ poll 

LHSAA power rankings: NCHS is 34th and Haughton is at 24 in Non-Select Division I 

Radio: NCHS (95.9 FM Kix Classic Country, 

Notables: The 71 points Haughton scored Between the Pines in last Friday’s loss to Benton was the most the Bucs have scored in a single game since they hung 84 on Huntington in 2010 when Dak Prescott, now with the Dallas Cowboys, was the starting quarterback … The Bucs are 2-2 in their most recent four games and have averaged scoring 43 points a game in that stretch … Among SBJ statistical leaders, Tyler Rhodes is No.3 in rushing yards (136-921-13) and QB Colin Rains is 14th (72-398-6) … Rains ranks 7th in passing yards (87-137-5, 1344, 13 TDs) … Jalen Lewis is 16th in number of receptions (23-510-3) and Rashad Douglas is 23rd (16-303-4) … Haughton is scheduled to play at Captain Shreve Friday, Nov. 4.

NCHS has become much better offensively since senior QB Brian Young has recovered from a preseason shoulder injury.