By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
On Sept. 16, the Airline Vikings fell to Northwood and dropped to 0-3 under first-year head coach Justin Scogin. The losses came against a pair of Class 4A schools and a 3A squad.
Thursday, Scogin was doused in Gatorade and danced with his team at M.D. Ray Field after the Vikings clinched a District 1-5A championship with their sixth-straight victory, 41-20 over Bossier Parish rival Parkway.
“This is the best year of my life,” a soggy, chilly Scogin told his team Thursday.
Airline can clinch sole possession of the league title with a victory in the regular-season finale against Southwood. For now, they’ve earned their first share since a tie with Captain Shreve in 2019.
“A district championship is a huge deal to me – to do it in the first year is amazing,” Scogin said. “It’s all because of these seniors. They are going to get all the credit for this and setting the standard. The juniors are going to have to hold everybody to that next year and the sophomores after that.”
Airline’s resurgence has been labeled by ridiculous offensive outputs. Relatively speaking, the Vikings (6-3, 6-0 in District 1-5A) were held in check – their lowest output since Week 3 – Thursday, but their balance on offense was evident.
Prolific receiver Daxton Chavez was held to one catch. Running back Tre’ Jackson posted 125 rushing yards and two scores, but this night belonged to Cameron Jefferson.
Jefferson hauled in eight catches for 126 yards and added two rushing touchdowns — a 12-yarder to start the game and a 3-yarder that sparked a “Who’s your daddy” chant from the Airline student section.
“You have to work with what the defense gives you,” Jefferson said. “It worked out. I’m blessed to be around this group – they are champions.”
With three downs to work with, the Panthers were 9 feet from erasing a 14-point halftime deficit just 6 minutes into the third quarter, but a pair of penalties stymied a drive that produced no points.
“We couldn’t get a big play,” Parkway head coach Coy Brotherton said. “False start penalties and mistakes didn’t help.”
The Panthers racked up more than 100 penalty yards. They turned the ball over on downs four times, lost one fumble and were intercepted once.
Airline’s defense hasn’t been called upon much thanks to the team’s well-oiled offensive machine, but Thursday it was needed and responded.
While Panthers’ superstar running back Jaylan White got his seemingly standard 200 yards rushing (246, to be exact), the Vikings shut down the Panthers’ passing attack. Parkway quarterback Ashton Martin completed 10 of 17 passes for just 37 yards.
Evidence of Airline’s suffocating passing defense?
In the waning moments, the Panthers didn’t even attempt to try to get back in the game through the air. They kept feeding White and Antonio Gladney.
“The defensive staff, what an effort,” Scogin said. “I don’t have anything to do with that. They go do their own thing and come up with a plan. It was unbelievable effort. We sputtered at times – it’s hard to say that when you score 41, but that’s one of the best teams we’ve played by far.”
The loss dropped Parkway to 7-2 overall, 5-2 in district. The Panthers finish the regular season with Benton.
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Airline 41, Parkway 20
Score by quarters
Parkway | 6 | 0 | 7 | 7 | – 20
Airline | 14 | 6 | 0 | 21 | – 41
A – Cameron Jefferson 12 run (Ben Jump kick)
P – Jaylan White 25 run (kick blocked)
A – Tre’ Jackson 4 run (Jump kick)
A – Jump 26 field goal
A – Jump 25 field goal
P – Antonio Gladney 1 run (Aeron Burrell kick)
A – Ben Taylor 1 run (Jump kick)
P – White 53 run (Burrell kick)
A – Jackson 7 run (Jump kick)
A – Jefferson 3 run (Jump kick)
Parkway – White, 23-246, Ashton Martin 10-55, Barrett Newman 1-2, Gladney 5-33.
Airline – Jefferson 6-28, Daxton Chavez 1-0, Tre’ Jackson 18-125, Ben Taylor, 4-(-1), Kylin Jackson 2-1.
Parkway – Martin 10-17-1, 37 yards, Gladney 0-1-1.
Airline – Taylor 18-36-0, 289 yards.
Parkway – Trenton Lape 3-20, Gladney 5-1, White 1-1, Andreas Abner 1-15.
Airline – Jefferson 8-126, Bob Patterson 4-90, Bryson Broom 3-34, Chavez 1-29. Tre’ Jackson 2-12.