Woodlawn prevails, North Caddo erupts; Huntington falters after halftime


COUSHATTA – Thedrick Harris can see the toughness his Woodlawn Knights are developing. It paid off Friday night on the road in a 38-28 triumph at Red River.

The Knights (2-1) scored twice early to take the upper hand, and never trailed, although the Bulldogs closed within four points in the closing minutes.

But a strong pass rush kept the Bulldogs (1-2) off balance, and Shadrick Jones’ interception return touchdown iced it.

“It was a really hard-fought battle,” said Harris. “Red River is a very tough, hard-hitting, physical team. They run that Wing-T, grinding it out on the ground, and they kept the ball quite a bit.

“We had to make some adjustments on defense versus their run game, but once we got them in a situation where they had to pass, we were able to pressure the passer and they couldn’t come back.”

Quintin Wilson’s rushing production was pivotal for the Knights. Always impactful Brandon Henderson had two long receiving touchdowns and made an interception. Quarterback Isaiah Kennedy was the Woodlawn catalyst, as usual.

And their toughness, said Harris, was decisive.

“Two years ago when I got here, we would have folded in that situation, we would have given it up. But our defense stiffened tonight, our offense moved the ball, got first downs with big runs and big passes when we needed them. When we needed big plays, we got ‘em.”

Woodlawn and Booker T. Washington tangle next Friday.

NEVILLE 50, HUNTINGTON 20:  Class 4A’s No. 4 team didn’t toy with the visiting Raiders as it might appear, but Neville cashed in Huntington mistakes after halftime to break up a tight battle of 2-0 teams in Monroe at storied Bill Ruple Stadium.

The Tigers scored five seconds before the half to carry a 13-0 advantage into the third period. Early in that quarter, Neville collected 16 points from Huntington gaffes and took control.

“We were one play away in the first half from going in down 6-0. Up until that five-second mark before halftime,” said Raiders’ coach Stephen Dennis, “I’m feeling pretty good, because we were getting the second-half kickoff.”

But in the opening minutes of the third quarter, things went haywire for Huntington (2-1). Neville (3-0) notched a pick six TD on a botched screen, then recorded a safety on the next possession, part of a 16-0 burst early after halftime into a 29-0 advantage.  Struggles without their starting deep snapper also resulted in some of Huntington’s second-half decay.

“Stuff you can’t do and beat good teams,” said Dennis. “We’ve got to own what we did good, and what we did bad. When you’re playing a team as good as they are, you’re gonna get a report card at the end of the game. You can’t not look at it. The good thing is, it’s not our final report card.”

Some Raiders got good marks.

“The defensive line and inside linebackers played really well. Especially in the first half, we were really physical up front, and did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage,” said Dennis.

Marcus Willis ran for two touchdowns and Kam Davis added another on the ground. But it wasn’t enough to seriously contend against a perennial 4A powerhouse.

“We’re still learning how to do the little things right, and we didn’t do enough of them tonight,” said Dennis.

The Raiders open District 1-4A competition next Friday against Northwood at Independence Stadium.

NORTH CADDO 62, BOLTON 0:  The best number for first-year Titans coach Chase Thompson Friday night was 43. He dressed out 43 players, and all got to play for a while in the romp over the beleaguered Bears (0-3) from Alexandria.

North Caddo (1-2) left no doubt from the opening kickoff, returning it nearly all the way, down to the Bolton 10. The Titans rocketed by the 40-point mark with time left in the first period and a running clock went into effect.

“We eliminated the penalties from last week, and we got out to a real hot start,” said Thompson. “It happened fast. After the kickoff return to open the game, we never looked back.

“We threw the ball deep, we had big runs. It was all working tonight,” he said.

Quarterback Mason Jackson played just in the first half, when he threw for over 200 yards, hitting three early bombs. It wasn’t just what he did, but how he did it that pleased Thompson.

“Very good manager of the offense this week. Last week he was a little too nervous, but this week he let it fly and it looked real good,” his coach said.

Other offensive stalwarts were running back Tray Morris and slot receiver Chancellor Washington who was a running and receiving dynamo.

What pleased Thompson the most about the team’s progress? “Seeing the vertical passing game come to life. We hit multiple receivers for long gains. It was good to see 5-6 different players with receptions and it was good to see everybody get involved.”

The most fun, he said, was savoring success and shaking off the frustration of the first two games. “The kids were excited. It’s a lot of weight lifted off our shoulders to get that goose egg in the win column off our shoulders.”

North Caddo goes to Neville next week, then hosts West Ouachita before district play begins for the Titans.