By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports
Captain Shreve football coach Adam Kirby doesn’t talk about injuries at all, a decision that’s saved him a whole lot of wind and conversation this fall.
The Gators, preseason favorites to make a run at the District 1-5A title after finishing 6-1 and second in the league last year, started the season 3-0. Then the injury bug hit and Shreve lost its first four district games. The Gators, 4-5, 1-5, recovered to beat Southwood, 29-26, Oct. 21, then lost at high-flying Benton, 22-21, last week.
“When your superstar gets hurt, everyone knows,” said Jason Brotherton, head coach of Haughton’s Bucs, who visit Lee Hedges Stadium and Shreve at 6 tonight. “What people don’t notice is when you’re missing one D-lineman, one linebacker, plus one DB. Injuries piled up (on Shreve) in the middle of the season and they were playing with some younger kids and different personnel.
“Last week against Benton (a 78-71 winner over Haughton Oct. 21), watching film, I was looking at a totally different team, the team we thought they were gonna be at the first of the year,” Brotherton said. “It’ll be a tall task for us to win.”
Haughton, 5-4, 3-3, has had the hurts too. Brotherton has tried to run clock and shorten games to keep an ever-changing defense off the field and the high-powered 1-5A offenses off it.
“Every team (I’ve had) is different, but this is the most injuries we’ve ever had at the same spots,” said Brotherton, a veteran coach of 25 years. “We haven’t had more than normal, but they’ve all been on defense. That’s made it hard. They’ve gotten better, the young guys we didn’t expect to play so much, and they’re getting to play now so that’s an advantage for next year.
“The crazy thing is, we’ve always been known for offense, for going fast and scoring a lot,” he said. “Now we’re trying to slow the game down because we’ve plugged in guys on defense and because all the teams in our district run their offenses so fast and score so fast. We’ve been in games where we had to score a lot of points to win and we scored a lot of points — and lost.”
(See Benton, 78-71. See Airline, a 55-42 loss.)
Both teams are likely to make the playoffs, but no coach likes leaving such probabilities to chance.
“We can’t get a home game, and I think we’re in even if we lose,” Brotherton said. “But we’ll be sweating it out. If we lose and the wrong teams below us win, we might not get in. Look, we’ve got a long, long playoff streak going (25 seasons). Maybe you don’t necessarily have a team that’s gonna make a run at the state championship every year, but keeping that streak going is a big deal for us. We don’t have a single coach on our staff who’s ever not been to the playoffs. So this is a big game for us.”
Contact Teddy at email@example.com
Haughton (5-4, 3-3) vs. Captain Shreve (4-5, 1-5), 6 p.m.
Where: Lee Hedges Stadium
Series: Haughton 16-11
Last year: Shreve 52-14
Last week: Haughton beat Natchitoches Central 56-20; Captain Shreve lost to Benton 22-21
Rankings: Haughton is No. 5 in the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll
LHSAA power rankings: Haughton stands at No. 25 in Non-Select Division I; Shreve is No. 18 in Select Diivision I
Radio: Captain Shreve (KLKL.FM, 95.7 FM)
Notables: Former Bucs QB Jason Brotherton is 50-28 in his seventh season as the Haughton head coach … If the trend continues, Haughton will win tonight: Haughton won its first two games of the regular season, lost the next two, won two, lost two, and won last week … The Bucs scored 24 points to beat Byrd Oct. 7, then scored 42 and 71 the next two games — and lost … The Bucs will advance to the playoffs next week for the 26th straight season … SR RB Tyler Rhodes is third among area rushers in yardage, 151-1013-15 … QB Colin Rains is sixth in passing yards among area QBs with 97 completions on 152 attempts for 1,572 yards, with 5 interceptions and 15 TDs.
Captain Shreve turned in an outstanding defensive performance last week, holding a Benton offense — which was averaging 54 points a game — to 22 points. “I was very proud of how our defense came out and played for four quarters,” said head coach Adam Kirby. The defensive staff had a great game plan and they stuck with it the entire game. Our guys were flying around, playing fast and physical, and that was good to see … Friday is Senior Night, and the last time the seniors will play a regular season game at Lee Hedges Stadium. “They’ve meant a lot to me,” Kirby said. “It’s hard to put into words, but with this being my first year as head coach, they’ve helped me instill the environment and standard that I want to create. All of them are good football players, but they’re better kids. They’re going to be successful in whatever they do in life.” … The Gators are No. 18 in the Select Division1 power ratings. The top 24 teams make the playoffs. “I think we’re in regardless (if we win or lose vs. Haughton),” Kirby said. Winning will help us carry the momentum we’ve created the last two weeks into hopefully making a playoff run … Our kids are excited to play a good, well-coached Haughton team, and see where we fall next week.”
Byrd (6-3, 3-3) at Natchitoches Central (3-6, 2-4)
Where: Turpin Stadium, NSU
Series: Byrd 28-9
Last year: NCHS 23-10
Last week: Byrd beat Southwood 58-0; Natchitoches Central lost to Haughton 56-20
Rankings: Byrd is 3rd in the Journal Top 10 poll
LHSAA power rankings: Byrd ranks fifth in Select Division I; NCHS is No. 38 in Non-Select Division I
Radio: Byrd (The Tiger 1130 AM, 103.3 FM); NCHS (Kix Classic Country 95.9 FM)
Notables: Natchitoches Central head coach James Wilkerson is 1-1 against his former school …. The Chiefs beat Byrd 23-10 at Lee Hedges Stadium last year … Last year’s win by Natchitoches Central was first over the Yellow Jackets in over a decade. The Chiefs beat Byrd 33-31 in 2010 at Turpin Stadium … Wilkerson, who mostly coached running backs, was an assistant under former Byrd head coach Mike Suggs for a total of 10 seasons.
Arcadia (6-3, 2-3) at Plain Dealing (0-9, 0-5), 6:30 p.m.
Where: Plain Dealing
Series: Plain Dealing 34-26
Last year: Arcadia 28-6
Last week: Arcadia beat Magnolia 54-0; Plain Dealing lost to Beekman Charter 46-12
LHSAA power rankings: Arcadia is No. 13, Plain Dealing stands at No. 41 in Non-Select Division IV
Notables: After being shut out by Haynesville and Homer in mid-season, the Lions have scored 12, 16, and 12 points in their three most recent games … After starting the season 4-0, Arcadia has lost three of its five district games — to Glenbrook, Haynesville, and Homer … Arcadia is coming off a 54-0 shutout of Magnolia School of Excellence.