Will it be a November to remember for local prep football teams in the playoffs?
A dozen of our head coaches shared their favorite memories, and some advice, from postseason experience – including one nugget from the Shreveport-Bossier Battlewings’ indoor pro team.
DENNY DURON, Evangel – “I think my favorite playoff memory was winning our first playoff game ever in 1991 over Newellton. When we scored the winning TD, our whole bench emptied in a World Series worthy dogpile in the end zone — coaches included.
“Advice about the playoffs is don’t change anything you’re doing … keep your practice and schedule rhythm. And, enjoy the experience with your players.”
JAMES BRADFORD JR., Green Oaks – (As an assistant on Byrd’s defensive staff) “One of my two favorite memories was 2013 when we upset Holy Cross (14-10) at Tad Gormley Stadium (in New Orleans) in the semis to make it to the state championship. I remember calling my wife, yelling ‘we going to the ‘Ship!!!’
“The other was in the 2020 semis against John Curtis. Carson Bruno jumps up and intercepts a pass with about two minutes left to help us advance to state. I was shaking every window table coach in the press box in Excitement!!
STACY BALLEW, Byrd – (As Byrd’s defensive coordinator in 2013) “Winning in the state semifinals over Holy Cross to go to the Dome. And it was the coldest game I’ve ever coached in.”
GARY COOPER, BTW – “Favorite playoff memory: 2008 playing for the Battlewings. According to the uniform rule, your socks had to have a white break in them; they couldn’t be a solid color. It was either the quarterfinals or semifinals. As a team, we decided we were going to go full black with no white break in our socks. We had grown so much that season as a team and were so unified that we were all willing to take the fine.
“Advice: Everyone is 0-0. Regular season records mean absolutely nothing at this point.“
CLINT WALKER, Plain Dealing – “When I was in high school at Northwood, I remember our head coach (Jerry Burton) always said, ‘You have to go through Monroe to get to New Orleans.’ We would always have to play someone over there in the first or second round to advance.”
AUSTIN BROWN, Northwood – “(As a defensive coordinator) 2019: 7-6 win over Rayne. They scored with a minute left. We had to stop two two-point conversions (penalty on the first one). We did. They kicked an onside and got it, but on the next play we got an interception to win the game!
“(As a head coach) 2021: 34-32 loss to Westgate on the last play. Came back from 28-7 and scored with no time left to get within two. Went for two and didn’t get it. But the comeback was awesome and it was special to see your boys believe and keep fighting against the eventual state champions.”
STEPHEN DENNIS, Huntington – “First playoff win as coach at HHS, won big at home against Livonia, will always remember that one!!”
ADAM KIRBY, Captain Shreve – “My favorite playoff memory is last year at Tioga in Round 1. There was a three-hour rain delay and we played in a downpour starting at 10 o’clock. But it was my first playoff win as a head coach and Shreve’s first road playoff win in our 5A history.
“The other one was our second-round trip to New Orleans. Wasn’t the outcome we wanted but the trip was fun bonding with the team, staying in a hotel and practicing at Tulane. Definitely great memories with our guys.”
COY BROTHERTON, Parkway – “Favorite memory has to be in 2012. While at Plain Dealing, we were 7-3 and the 29 seed. We went to Mangham and beat the 4 seed on their senior night.
“My advice is to enjoy the experiences and cherish the victories. Winning in the playoffs is not easy.”
JUSTIN SCOGIN, Airline – (As Parkway offensive coordinator) “Hard choice between the comeback win against St. Martinville in the quarters in 2018 when we were down 10 with 1:30 left and we scored, got an onside kick and scored again to win 53-49. The other: Covington in 2013 where we got a QB sneak with a minute left on fourth down to go to the Dome. Also, Austin Averitt snuck through and stopped them on fourth down late in the game to get us to that point (he also had 3 INT’s). Those are two scenarios I’ll never forget.”
JASON BROTHERTON, Haughton – “2019 second-round game at Comeaux, in the rain, tied 21-21. We punted and pinned them inside the 5-yard-line with less than a minute to play. Two plays later we got a safety with 20 seconds left to win 23-21.”
REYNOLDS MOORE, Benton – “There’s a picture that a friend had blown up for me that hangs in my living room. It’s me and RJ (my son) hugging after the Hahnville game in the first round of the playoffs his senior year. It was our first playoff win in 5A and our first home 5A playoff game. He had two successful onside kicks, a 40-yard FG and played well at receiver that game. Really special moment and my twins were there in the picture, too. Just a genuine moment that I’ll remember forever.
“A close second is beating East Jefferson (defending state champs) at their place my second year here to make the quarterfinals.”