Falcons believe they can take an historic step

STUFFED: The Northwood defense, led by Tadarius Collins (4) will be looking for another strong performance against Brother Martin. (File photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

There’s a difference this year and Northwood coach Austin Brown can sense it in his locker room and on the practice field.

Once again, the Falcons are in the state quarterfinals (though in a different bracket than 2021) and preparing to try to do something the school has never done – reach the semifinals.

A year ago, the quarterfinals were against Westgate and the Falcons were going to be at home for that game.

But as Brown came to find out later, many on his team did not go into that game with the belief that they could win. (Even though they almost did, losing on a two-point conversion on the final play that would have sent it into overtime.)

When Brown met with each of his players after the season, he found out that the talk in the locker room that week had been about some of the older players saying “this is our last game.”

That is not the case this year.

“The whole focus during the off season and during this week to our players has been to remember how you felt last year when some of your leaders didn’t believe,” Brown said.

This time, it will be a road trip to New Orleans to take on Brother Martin at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Game time this evening is an hour earlier than normal, at 6 p.m.

The Crusaders, who play in the Catholic League, are one of the storied programs in the state, having been to the state semifinals in each of the last three years.

But the Falcons are no strangers to playing well-established teams in the playoffs, having teed it up with Edna Karr, Warren Easton and Carencro in recent years.

“We’ve always believed we could play with anybody at any time,” Brown said. “It’s that belief in ourselves. We’ve been up against some really good teams. And we are still here.”

Still here, just moved a little bit.

In previous years, Northwood played in the Non-Select, Class 4A playoff bracket. The LHSAA reworked the playoff classifications during the first month of the season and the Falcons are now on the Select side and in Division I. That bracket is for the schools in the top 25 percent of enrollment of Select schools (not just Class 5A select schools).

But you know who else is in the same bracket?  Edna Karr, Warren Easton and Carencro.

“We know we belong,” Brown said. “And I think that’s powerful to us for our confidence.”

What is also powerful to the Falcons’ confidence is their impressive 35-9 win over St. Paul’s, another member of the Catholic League, last week.

Northwood did not allow a touchdown (only three field goals) despite having turnovers in the red zone and gave up only 208 yards in total offense. Quarterback Mason Welch had a 69-yard touchdown run and added another TD run and a touchdown pass to Marc Denison.

Mar’Jayvious Moss had a 14-yard TD run and the Falcons also had a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt.

Brother Martin, the No. 13 seed at 7-5, is coming off a 27-24 win over St. Augustine. Northwood, the No. 5 seed, is 9-2 and has won seven straight games.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com 

Division I – Select Quarterfinal

5-Northwood (9-2) at 13-Brother Martin (7-5) 

Where: Tad Gormley, New Orleans

 Series: First meeting 

Last week: Northwood beat St. Paul’s 35-9; Brother Martin beat St. Augustine 27-24 

Rankings: Northwood received votes in LSWA 4A poll 

All-time playoff record: Northwood 12-25; Brother Martin 30-30-2 

Last semifinal appearance: Northwood – none; Brother Martin 2021 

Radio: Northwood –  Miracle 89.1 FM http://69.64.65.171:8192/kflo 

Notables: Leading rusher Quintavion White has been fighting an injured ankle and saw limited duty last week against St. Paul’s (seven carries). Head coach Austin Brown said he expects White to be ready to go in Friday’s game … Taderius Collins blocked a punt and returned it 35 yards for a score last week … Quarterback Mason Welch had a career-high 108 rushing yards last week and Mar’Jayvious Moss added 68 … Moss and Camron McCullough were the leading tacklers with 11 each … Welch completed 10 passes, but none were for longer than 17 yards … Northwood is 0-3 in quarterfinal games — all coming in the last six years.


Just trying to help with some high school football tweaks

This has been one of my favorite high school football seasons ever, mostly due to the advent of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal and getting to cover games and teams I wouldn’t normally get a chance to see.

Of the 19 teams in the SBJ’s coverage area, I saw 12 of them. Kinda hacked I didn’t get to see them all (especially since I missed 66 percent of the Bossier Parish schools).

But I’ve covered 20 games this year – including one that took two days – and each had its own story to tell. I suppose you could get that covering the City Hall beat, but I doubt it.

There’s plenty to love about a high school football season, but there are some things that might want to be looked at in the name of improvement.

And before we go there, let’s go here. The playoff structure in place is the best way to do something that is, by its own nature, imperfect. It will be tweaked and adjusted and re-arranged, but it will never be fixed. So let’s just live with what we’ve got and go from there. (Spoiler alert – the best teams almost always win the state championship, no matter what the system in place.)

REWARDING DISTRICT CHAMPIONS: One of the criticisms about the Power Point system is that it de-incentivizes winning the district. The kids still get a patch on the letter jacket, but that’s about it.

This was once done in basketball and I think it’s a good idea for football: Each district champion gets an extra 1.0 added to their final power point total. A team that finishes at 14.1 would jump to 15.1. It won’t make much difference at the top – you figure those teams would be district winners anyway – but lower-ranked district winners could move up 4-5 spots.

In a few cases, that might even mean a first-round home game or maybe even a bye. Not a bad reward for winning the district and certainly better than a patch.

FLAG THROWING AND CHAIN MOVING: Everybody yells about holding calls. You could bring the best NFL crew to a high school game and you’d still get that complaint. I think the referees do a good job of (1) knowing the rules (2) explaining issues to coaches and (3) keeping control of the game.

But there are two things I see that need to be improved because they can often be game-changers. And it’s nothing new for me because I’ve had this conversation with referee friends of mine for years.

Too often, referees throw flags without regard for where the infraction took place. They just throw them and wherever it lands is the spot. Not a big deal – unless it’s a spot-of-the-foul penalty. If an offensive hold occurs three yards behind the line of scrimmage, but the flag lands eight yards behind, that becomes an 18-yard penalty instead of a 13-yard penalty. That makes a difference.

It’s even worse on kick returns because there are bodies in motion all over the place. Sometimes the flag is being thrown from 20 yards away as the play is continuing in the opposite direction.

But the bigger problem? Ball spotting, especially on fourth down. I guess these referees are watching too much NFL and college where they love showing the side judge hurriedly pointing upfield to signal to move the chains. What’s the hurry?

In the 20 games I’ve seen this year, I’ve seen maybe two measurements. I don’t care how fast the offensive team wants to play. Get. It. Right. Especially in the fourth quarter. Especially in a playoff game. 

AND THE BAND SHOULDN’T PLAY ON: Sorry band people, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Play all you want … during timeouts, between quarters and at halftime. Not during live action.

I applaud the creative band directors who know enough football strategy to play only when the opposing team has the ball, but it should never be allowed. You think referees would allow it if some band wanted to perform a whistle routine during the game?

A team shouldn’t have an advantage just because its band knows how to play “Shake Your Groove Thing” on fourth down in a tie game. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Northwood’s Welch is never ‘down’ on the farm or the football field

GIDDYE UP:  Northwood quarterback Mason Welch has thrown some beauties this fall for the Falcons, when he’s not helping with the family farm. (File photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

There are times when Northwood quarterback Mason Welch just wants to be outdoors and doing what he loves. Video games or texting is fine for everybody else.

When you are 18 years old, the pressures of the teenaged world can get a little overwhelming sometimes. Finding peace often isn’t the easiest thing to do.

He knows what he needs and where to find it.

“One of the most comforting things is coming in after practice and my dad telling me to put out three bales of hay in that field and two in this pasture,” Welch says. “A lot of people can’t believe I do that. But there’s nothing more comforting than the outdoors. You’re doing something that you realize your parents worked really hard to get and you are appreciating that you are doing things for them. I love those moments. That’s who my parents raised me to be.”

The hay better be in the barn later this week because Welch won’t be around much. He and the Falcons (9-2) will be in New Orleans Friday night to take on Brother Martin (7-5) in the Select-Division I state quarterfinals. Northwood, the No. 5 seed, will meet the 13th-seeded Crusaders at 6 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Welch lives on a cattle farm with about 100 acres and another 150 acres leased nearby. There’s also about 500 acres in Beauregard Parish that his family works every other week or so.

Everything you might think he would need to do on a cattle farm, Welch does. He’s even branded a few bovines. In the least shocking news you’ll ever hear, he has spent time showing pigs and was in the 4-H club from fourth grade up to high school.

“Raising animals is difficult,” he says. “Getting them to where they listen to you and you listen to them is something you learn to appreciate. That respect for each other is a difficult process.”

If you don’t believe Welch is a country boy, consider this: He could drive a John Deere tractor before he could ride a bicycle.

“And that’s not an exaggeration,” he says.

There are other things about Welch that aren’t an exaggeration.

“Mason truly is 100 percent all in,” Northwood coach Austin Brown says. “This is his true passion. The consistency and accountability of who he is isn’t normal for a kid his age. To have that for your high school quarterback and everybody look up to, it sets the bar for everybody else to live up to.”

Welch says he hasn’t missed a Northwood football game since he was in the fourth grade. When he was in junior high, he dreamed of being the Falcons’ quarterback.

“I remember thinking about how one day I wanted to be the quarterback at Northwood and the guy who is leading them to the district championship and playoffs,” he says. “It’s been everything I’ve thought it was going to be. It just means the world to me that I’m getting to experience this.”

Northwood also experienced this – a quarterfinal appearance – a year ago and Welch believes it was the 34-32 loss to Westgate that was the springboard to this year’s success.

“What was instilled in us during the offseason was that every day matters,” Welch says. “Everything you do every day matters. It might not seem important to come to a workout during Christmas break. But everything we do and have done is with an intent and a purpose. All that work we’ve put it since that Monday after losing to Westgate last year is paying off.”

Welch, who is the school’s No. 2 career passing leader, threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns in the game in which Northwood battled back from 28-7 only to fall on a failed two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.

“Being part of a district championship and being this far (in the playoffs) isn’t easy, and I think that’s why this team is so tight,” Welch says. “That’s my favorite part of high school football – the team aspect. We’ve all been through it together. It’s something special. Honestly, I think this team has something in them to push farther than any Northwood team ever has.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Frustrated Flyers fall on late Episcopal field goal

FLYER TAKEAWAY:  Patrick Gosslee’s 15-yard fumble return set up Loyola’s only touchdown. (Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

BATON ROUGE – What it came down to was Episcopal driving almost the length of the field in a tie game to win it with a 25-yard field goal with 1:01 to play.

That was the difference in a 10-7 win over Loyola in a Select-Division III second round playoff game at Memorial Stadium.

But to the Flyers, the difference might have come in other forms – mainly ball spotting by the officials.

On the game-winning drive, the Knights went for it on fourth-and-one at midfield with four minutes left to play. Though the mark indicated that any yardage gained on the quarterback sneak was minimal – at best – the officials moved the chains without a measurement.

Seven plays later, Aiden Romero’s field goal barely snuck in the left upright.

Earlier in the game, the Flyers had appeared to score a touchdown on the fifth play of the second quarter. Reagan Coyle was clearly in the end zone after a “Bush Push” play. But he was ruled down at the half-yard line.

Two plays later, the Flyers went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it – even though Episcopal had a 12th man running off the field as the ball was snapped.

“We played hard and we had our chances,” Loyola coach Mike Greene said. “In the second round of the playoffs, you have to take advantage of those chances.”

The Flyer offense was limited in the second half, never getting past the Episcopal 41. Loyola had only one first down in the entire second half, which Greene said was a direct result of the Knights going on two long scoring drives.

“It wasn’t like we were driving up and down the field,” Greene said. “We needed to pick up some first downs so we could get some guys on defense a rest. But we couldn’t do that.”

Loyola scored just before half after sophomore Patrick Gosslee picked up a fumble and his 15-yard return put the Flyers at the Episcopal 43 with 3:37 to go. A 14-yard pass from Cooper DeFatta to Robert Pavlick on third down set up the Flyers for a 1-yard sneak by DeFatta to put the Flyers on the board with 50 seconds left before halftime.

The Flyers looked to get another break on the first play of the second half with another fumble, but forward progress was ruled on running back Braeden George and the Knights kept the ball.

Episcopal tied it on a 13-play drive – converting two fourth downs – and scored on a 7-yard run by Reid Chauvin with 10:48 left in the game.

The next Loyola possession resulted in a punt to the Knights 14 to set the stage for the winning field-goal drive.

“We knew coming in they would be a disciplined, well-coached ball club,” said Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois. “Coach Greene’s an outstanding coach. Credit to him and his staff. Those guys came out ready to play. They gave us everything and more than we wanted. We had to fight for everything we got tonight.”

The Flyers finish at 6-5 while sixth-seeded Episcopal (10-1) will move on to play No. 3-seed Notre Dame.

“If you had told me after the third week of the season that we’d be here right now I would have told you you’re crazy,” Greene said. “With the injuries we had and the things these guys went through, I was proud to be here. It’s just that when you get to this point, you get greedy and you want more.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Episcopal 10, Loyola 7 

Score by quarters

Episcopal | 0 | 0 | 0 | 10 | – 10

Loyola  | 0 | 7 | 0 | 0 | – 7 

Scoring summary

L – Cooper DeFatta 1 run (Evan Lirette kick)

U – Reid Chauvin 7 run (Aldon Romano kick)

U – Romano 25 FG

Individual leaders 

Rushing 

Loyola (30-60) – Reagan Coyle 7-32, Trace Wall 9 -21, DeFatta 10-13, Grayson Hutchins 1-3, Jon Ebarb 2-minus-4, Team 1-minus-6. 

Episcopal (46-202) – Braeden George 22-154, Chauvin 13-52, Lewis Ward 10-minus-3.

Passing 

Loyola – DeFatta 8-20-0, 103 yards 

Episcopal – Ward 7-12-0, 62 yards, Cooper Braud 0-1-0.

Receiving 

Loyola – John Carmody 3-18, Robert Pavlick 1-14, Coyle 1-33, Ebarb 2-27, Hutchins 1-14. 

Episcopal – C.J. Washington 3-14, David Olinde 2-29, David Cresson 1-17, Walker Dauzat 1-3.


Looking back has taught Benton not to look ahead

GRAY MATTERS:  Quarterback Gray Walters has been the point man for Benton’s prolific offense. (File photo by PETER FOREST, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Benton coach Reynolds Moore is hoping that a lesson learned five years ago will pay off this week as his team prepares for its Non-Select Division I second-round playoff game at home Friday night against Denham Springs.

In 2017, the Tigers were 10-0 in the regular season and basically scored at will against everyone they played. Benton was the No. 3 seed entering the playoffs and then put up a 56-spot in a four-touchdown win in the first round against Breaux Bridge.

“I had people telling me in church that they already had their rooms reserved for the Superdome (Classic),” Moore said.

Hope those weren’t non-refundable rooms.

Cecilia, the No. 14 seed, came in and put the brakes on the Benton offense, which had averaged 48.2 points per game. Final: Cecilia 23, Benton 21.

“I still believe we might have been the second-best team in the state that year,” Moore said, “but we got caught looking ahead.”

This year, Benton is a No. 8 seed and coming off a 41-7 win over Ponchatoula last week. But there is such a thing as good playoff momentum as well as bad playoff momentum.

“What I have to be mindful of is parents and fans looking ahead and asking ‘What about the quarterfinals?’” Moore said. “It’s like (Ole Miss coach) Lane Kiffin says – that’s rat poison.”

The winner of the Denham Springs-Benton game will get a chance to (1) be playing after Thanksgiving (a preseason goal for many teams) and (2) have a potential matchup with top-seeded Ruston.

“I just don’t want anybody looking ahead,” Moore said. “That’s the message this week because all I want is to be focused on Denham Springs. They are a very good team with a lot of talent. We’ve got our work cut out for us. If we get to the quarterfinals, we will worry about that Saturday morning.”

There’s plenty to worry about in the meantime. Denham Springs (9-2) is also riding in off a big win in the opening round (39-6 over Covington). Quarterback Reese Mooney is expected to sign with Liberty, a Top 25 team a week ago. The Yellow Jackets also have an offensive line that averages about 280 pounds and a pair of strong running backs in Cam-Ron Kelly and Ray McKneely.

But Benton (8-3) doesn’t take a back seat to anybody when it comes to offense. Quarterback Gray Walters has thrown for 2,600 yards and 31 touchdowns, wide receiver Pearce Russell has 85 catches for 1,448 yards and running back Greg Manning has 1,341 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. All rank among state leaders.

“We feel good about it,” Moore said. “We feel like we can score with anybody and we are going to need to get a few stops (on defense). We just want to make sure we are locked in and focused on Friday night and not anything beyond that. I genuinely believe we can beat anybody if we are healthy and play our brand of football.”

That also brings Moore back to another history lesson for Benton football. “We played Warren Easton (in the 2014 quarterfinals) and I knew it was going to take a miracle to beat them,” Moore said.

He was right. Warren Easton won that game 55-7. In the only other quarterfinal appearance (2016), Benton lost 59-13 to Edna Karr.

“I don’t feel that way this year,” Moore said. “We will have to play well to beat the teams that are left. But the trick is to play the team that you are on the field with and not worry about what’s down the road.”

As excited as the Tigers might be, they’ll have a hard time matching their coach. “I never went to the playoffs when I was playing high school in Mississippi,” Moore said. “So I never experienced that as a player. There’s just nothing like it.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com 

9-Denham Springs (9-2) at 8-Benton (8-3) 

Where: Mason-Newman Field at Tiger Stadium 

Series: First meeting 

Last week: Denham Springs beat Covington 39-6; Benton beat Ponchatoula 41-7 

Rankings: Benton received votes in LSWA 5A poll 

All-time playoff record:  Denham Springs 15-23; Benton 35-34-1 

Radio: Benton (The Light 92.1 FM;  http://69.64.65.171:8192/ksyr) 

Notables: Benton rides a seven-game win streak into Friday … A victory would give the Tigers (8-3) their first berth into the quarterfinals since they jumped to Class 5A in 2019. Benton last reached the third round in the 2016 Class 4A playoffs, where it lost to Edna Karr. The Tigers lost to Ruston in the second round last season … The Yellow Jackets are fresh off an easy victory against Covington, but they also failed to get out of the second round last season (lost to Ouachita Parish).


Nine local teams arrive in Round 2 taking different paths

TRYING TO ADVANCE:  Byrd and senior quarterback Lake Lambert are coming off a bye and looking to advance to the playoff quarterfinals with a win this week. Jake McGee (7) and Emmanuel Walker-Hines (11)  of Captain Shreve will try to win on the road for a second straight week. (File photo by KEVIN PICKENS, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Some won on the road, some won at home. And some had the week off.

Those who had the time off were probably glad they didn’t have to play in Friday’s miserable weather, but all are happy to still be playing in the third week on November.

They are Shreveport-Bossier’s nine remaining teams in the state high school football playoffs and all have had the chance to assess what did – and didn’t – happen last Friday night and begin to prepare for the next round this weekend.

But the “week off” wasn’t really a week off. “We watched tape on our two potential opponents,” said Northwood coach Austin Brown, whose team had a bye in the first round. “We still had a purpose in practice. Even though we didn’t have an opponent at the end of the week, we still had a reason to be out there.”

What did the first round teach us? Not much, other than momentum is hard to figure out. Loyola and Haughton were basically non-competitive in their final regular-season games and yet won their first playoff games going away. Airline had won seven straight and lost its opener — to Haughton, a team it had beaten by 13 a month before. Captain Shreve had lost five of the previous seven and won on the road.

Northwood, Byrd, Calvary and North Caddo got a chance to sit out the opening week of the playoffs by earning a bye. Now, they will join the party as the second round gets underway. All four will be at home this week, along with a pair of Friday’s first-round winners, Benton and Haughton.

The other three teams will be on the road – Captain Shreve (at top-seeded Warren Easton in New Orleans), Evangel (at E.D. White-Thibodaux) and Loyola (at Episcopal-Baton Rouge).

For Shreve, it will be the second straight week on the road.

At No. 27, Haughton is technically the second-lowest seed remaining in the entire state. (Breaux Bridge, the No. 28 seed in Non-Select Division II, beat a fifth-seeded Carroll team that had its coaching staff suspended for the year.)

Nevertheless, the Bucs are happy to be preparing for East St. John instead of basketball season.

“Number one, we beat a rival (Airline) and got a chance to avenge a loss,” said Haughton coach Jason Brotherton. “Just winning a playoff game is a huge deal for us. Those things are hard to come by. And to get a home game makes it double- or triple-sweet for us.”

Haughton’s home game came down to the final play in the East St. John-Walker game. Had 22-seed Walker made a last-second field goal, the Bucs would have been traveling 250 miles instead of going across the school compound to play the next round.

Seedings-wise, the closest upcoming matchup will be 8-3 Benton, the No. 8 seed, playing host to ninth-seeded Denham Springs (9-2).

“There’s just nothing like it when it comes to excitement,” said Benton coach Reynolds Moore. “The trick is to stay focused. As long as we keep playing, we will have our work cut out for us.”

Across the state, the higher seeds were 54-16 – and four of the lower-seed wins were by the No. 17 team. In Division IV of both Select and Non-Select, the higher seeds were undefeated.

But seedings can also fool you. Alexandria, which is Byrd’s opponent Friday night, is a 22 seed due to a 4-6 regular-season record. But three of those losses came to two No. 1 seeds (Ruston and St. Thomas More) and a No. 8 seed (Carencro). ASH easily won its opener over 11th-seeded McKinley, 42-0. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Flyers make a point of making (61) points

 SACK MASTER: Rowan Guthikonda caused two fumbles on quarterback sacks to lead the Loyola defense. (Photo by AMARI JACKSON, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

The team that has had four games in which it couldn’t score more than one touchdown scored eight Friday night.

The quarterback who had only thrown seven touchdown passes all year threw five in one game.

The defense which had given up more than 300 yards seven times this year gave up less than 100 yards rushing and 66 yards passing – 60 of those coming on one play after it was already decided.

The school that had won 33 playoff games in its history but never scored more than 47 points in any of them put up a postseason record 61 on the board.

Other than the miserable weather conditions, you might say it was a pretty good night for the Loyola Flyers in a 61-14 win over St. Thomas Aquinas in the first round of the Select-Division III playoffs Friday at Messmer Stadium.

“We played pretty well,” said Loyola head coach Mike Greene. “I’ll be honest; I don’t like scoring that many points, but they wouldn’t do the (running) clock. We thought when we got up 35-0 at half we would just get out of there as fast as we could. So we didn’t have a choice but to keep playing.”

When you make out the list of the Flyers who fall into the category of “played well,” be sure to put quarterback Cooper DeFatta at the top. All he did was throw for five touchdowns (second-most in school history), pass for 211 yards (a career high) and run for 78, including a rather-miraculous 19-yard touchdown run right before halftime.

“Unbelievable,” Greene said. “You see him running around on that play and he just kept going. He played a hell of a game. I hope he saves some of that for next week.”

Of course, there are plenty of others on the roll call. Grayson Hutchins had an interception and a 56-yard touchdown reception. Running back Trace Wall had 105 yards … just in the second half (135 for the game).

Reagan Coyle had two touchdown catches and was one of the Flyers’ leading tacklers. Rowan Guthikonda had two blocked kicks and caused two fumbles on strip sacks.

Anybody else? Well, let’s not forget sophomore kicker Evan Lirette, who may not have the strongest leg you’ll ever see, but it was good enough hit all eight extra points kicks (tying the school record) and a 21-yard field goal. And get this — that field goal was blocked. When you get a good north wind behind you, those kinds of things will happen.

Just about every good thing that could happen for the Flyers did happen. They recovered fumbles on three of the first four possessions. They blocked a punt that resulted in a safety. They had yet another kickoff – not an onside kick – that was recovered by Loyola 40 yards downfield. That’s getting to be a habit for Loyola special teams.

Of course, as much as they kicked off in this game, that was bound to happen sooner or later.

“I think we just wore them down,” Greene said. “Those early fumbles just kind of took the wind out of their sails. We got up 14-0 pretty quick and just steamrolled them after that.”

The Flyers (6-4) will now move on to play No. 6 seed Episcopal Friday night in Baton Rouge. STA finished 3-8. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Loyola 61, St. Thomas Aquinas 14

Score by quarters

Loyola | 7 | 28 | 17 | 9 | – 61

St. Thomas Aquinas | 0 | 0 | 14 | 0 | – 14

Scoring summary

L – Trace Wall 1 run (Evan Lirette kick)

L – John Carmody 24 pass from Cooper DeFatta (Lirette kick)

L – Grayson Hutchins 56 pass from DeFatta (Lirette kick)

L – Robert Pavlick 8 pass from DeFatta (Lirette kick)

L – DeFatta 19 run (Lirette kick)

STA – Vaughn 1 run (kick failed)

L – Lirette 21 FG

STA – Darrius Vaughn 60 pass from Cace Reed (Austin Davis run)

L – Coyle 50 pass from DeFatta (Lirette kick)

L – Coyle 24 pass from DeFatta (Lirette kick)

L – Safety, punt blocked in end zone

L – Wall 4 run (Lirette kick)

Individual leaders 

Rushing 

STA (37-98) – Vaughn 19-102, Reed 7-24, Gaige Truxillo 1-minus-3, Bryce Simoneaux 1-mnus-4, Davis 8-minus-17, Team 1-minus-4. 

LCP (39-219) – Wall 24-135, DeFatta 8-78, Jon Ebarb 3-21, Hutchins 1-3, Carmody 2-1, Team 1-minus-19. 

Passing 

STA (4-10-1, 66 yards) – Davis 2-7-1, 6 yards, Reed 1-1-0, 60 yards, Simoneaux 1-2-0, 0 yards.

LCP (9-13-0, 211 yards) – DeFatta 9-13-0, 211 yards.

Receiving

STA – Vaughn 2-61, Reed 2-5.

LCP – Coyle 4-106, Hutchins 2-60, Carmody 1-24, Pavlick 1-20, Wall 1-1.


Raiders try to take first step, hosting Blue Jays

PLAYOFF PRIMED: Huntington coach Stephen Dennis hopes playoff experience will benefit his team. (Journal photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Huntington coach Stephen Dennis has talked to his team all year about “being 1-and-0” every week. In other words, just worry about winning this week.

That’s all well and good, but during the regular season the reality is even if you don’t go “1-and-0,” there’s always another game next week.

Not anymore.

“It’s never been more important to go 1-0 than this week,” Dennis said. “But the kids understand the mindset. They have bought into it.”

The Raiders will be ultimately looking to go 5-and-0 as they enter the Select-Division I playoffs tonight against Jesuit at 7 p.m. at Lee Hedges Stadium. It’ll take five wins to win the biggest prize of all – the state championship.

“There are four teams in our district who are no longer playing,” Dennis said. “And if we don’t want to be another one of those teams, then what we do this week in practice matters.”

Huntington is seeded 14th in the bracket and won’t be getting any favors in taking on the Blue Jays, a team that went to the state finals a year ago. This season, Jesuit has played the Nos. 2, 4, 7 and 8 teams in the final Class 5A poll as well as the No. 7 Class 4A team.

So, forget the 4-6 overall record when evaluating the Blue Jays. This is no typical No. 19 seed.

“They lost to Catholic 14-10 last year in the championship game and they return eight starters on defense,” Dennis said. “They are good in all three phases of the game. They are not going to beat themselves. We are just going to have to execute. That may sound like coach-speak, but it doesn’t make it any less true.”

The playoffs also mean playing against an opponent in which you are not familiar and, in this case, from across the state.

“During the regular season, you develop a familiarity with the people in your district,” Dennis said. “You don’t have that now. It’s playoff football. You just try to get as familiar as you can in five days and you go from here.”

The Raiders do have some postseason experience, having played five playoff games in the last three years and getting wins in each of the last two years.

“It’s always good to have experience, but every year is always different,” Dennis said. “But our kids have been in that atmosphere and environment before. That won’t be new to them.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

19-Jesuit (4-6) vs. 14-Huntington (6-4) 

Where: Lee Hedges Stadium 

Series: First meeting 

Last week: Jesuit beat Rummel 24-14; Huntington beat Bossier 48-0 

Rankings: Huntington is No. 9 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll 

Radio: none 

Notables: The Raiders have never played Jesuit or any other team from the Catholic League in their history … Jesuit won its final three games of the regular season but none against teams that finished with a winning record … The Huntington defense had five sacks in their game last week against Bossier … Playing in place of injured starter Kam Evans, reserve Raider quarterbacks Jamarion Washington and Lorenzo White combined to complete 13 of 18 passes for 291 yards last week … Huntington usually plays its home games at Independence Stadium, but installation of the new turf field there has forced the game to be moved to Lee Hedges Stadium, which had its own set of preseason improvements.


It all starts (or ends) tonight in the playoffs

They can say what they want about beating a big rival or winning a district championship, but the playoff chase is the reason why they play high school football. Would you rather win Homecoming or the state championship?

Child, please.

This year, players from only eight teams will walk away from the LHSAA playoffs having won their final game. (That’s still too many teams, but let’s not get into that today). That means only about 400-500 players will be part of what thousands had hoped for when they were sweating through those grueling summer workouts.

But it will be worth it, no matter what the results are.

There is nothing like the playoffs, which open tonight for most of the 13 teams from Shreveport-Bossier who earned their way into the postseason. Some are happy just to be in it and others might already be making room in the trophy case.

But they all have a shot.

Win or lose, these are the games that are going to be remembered. Maybe it’s a road trip to a place you’ve never heard of. Or being on the field in warmup and sneaking a peek to the other side of the field to see what the other team has. They seemed a lot smaller on video.

I played in four playoff games in 1976 and can remember almost every detail, right down to the hot water not working in the showers at Alexandria’s Bolton Stadium. Or the fog at State Fair (now Independence) Stadium. I remember where we parked the bus at Lutcher. I could probably still come close to guessing the game-time temperature at each location.

A few years ago on an April afternoon, I went to Winnfield’s Stokes-Walker Stadium and stood at the 38 yard-line on the north end of the field.

Just stood there.

Just stood there and let it all come back to me.

Sixty-two yards away from where I stood was the south end zone. I could recount almost all of the 62 yards of the play that resulted in what was for the winning score in the state championship game. I watched my teammate cross the goal line from that spot on the field.

It was like I was still there more than 40 years later.

Which is why I always answer the same way when I’m asked for advice for high school players who are in the playoffs – take in and embrace every single detail. It’s amazing what you’ll remember years later.

It’s just so much indescribable fun that you don’t get in the regular season.

They say that one of the best days in sports is the Saturday before the Final Four starts in college basketball because all four teams think they have a shot at winning the championship. That’s what it’s like today as the hours wind down.

Doesn’t matter about the seeding or the record or the number of college prospects. What I have come to understand – and appreciate – is that players don’t think like parents or fans or even some coaches. They fully believe they can win, even when logic tells them otherwise.

Teams that were 10-0 in the regular season suddenly become 10-1 after four quarters and wonder what happened.

Teams with a losing record find themselves still playing after Thanksgiving and joyfully don’t have time to wonder what’s happening.

There’s plenty of time later for all of that.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Click the mouse! 13 local teams begin playoff preparations

EAGLES, FALCONS SOAR INTO PLAYOFFS: Evangel and Northwood are among the local teams heading into LHSAA postseason play, but in different divisions. In their Oct. 7 contest, won 21-20 by the Falcons, Evangel’s Parker Fulghum tried to break away from Northwood’s Jeremiah Reed (7) as Christian Blackmon moved in. (File photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

In the old days, the weekend after the regular season was over would mean high school football coaches would gather up a few of their game films (DVDs, VHS tapes or even 16mm canisters) and — most importantly — a state map (kids, ask your parents) and head out on the road.

It was film exchange day for the upcoming playoffs.

Coaches would meet at some halfway point and do the film swap. Between Shreveport and Monroe schools, that might be at the now-demolished Nob Hill in Arcadia. Lea’s Diner in Lecompte was always a good in-between spot for North and South Louisiana coaches. Or Hodges Gardens for Northwest and Southwest Louisiana coaches.

For a few years, coaches of all schools would even have to drive to Baton Rouge for the official playoff announcement and would do the film exchange there. That was an eight-hour trip for Shreveport-Bossier coaches; eight minutes for Baton Rouge coaches.

“Some teams would send their assistant coaches to make the exchange,” Calvary’s Rodney Guin, who has been in coaching since the 1990s, said. “I always wanted to make the trip myself. If you stayed behind you had to do the laundry from the Friday night before.”

These days, it’s just a few clicks and a download and you are in business.

With the Hudl video system now widely used by high schools across the country, not just Louisiana, coaches can get a head start on breaking down film and not lose a day being on the road. Or washing clothes.

Welcome to the state playoffs, where two teams who have never heard of each other are about to learn more than they need to know in the next few days. Or, in the case of Airline and Haughton, two teams who already know plenty about the other.

It happens every year – you might have to travel three miles or 300 hundred miles to play the first-round game. Haughton and Airline share a common attendance zone border and will reconvene Friday night – a rematch of the Vikings’ 55-42 win in Week 7.

Meanwhile, Green Oaks will travel 316 miles to play Country Day (Metairie).

Thirteen of Caddo-Bossier’s 19 teams made the post-season. There are eight playoff divisions (four each in Select and Non-Select), but local teams will be involved in only four of those brackets: Select I (Northwood, Byrd, Captain Shreve, Huntington), Non-Select I (Benton, Parkway, Airline, Haughton), Select II (Evangel) and Select III (Calvary, North Caddo, Loyola, Green Oaks).

That means you always have a good shot at rematches in the first round, such as the one featuring Haughton at Airline Friday at 7 p.m.

“I’m not wild about it,” said Airline coach Justin Scogin. “Simply because the odds are always against you after you’ve beaten somebody once. Plus Haughton is really good. They can score a lot of points and play good defense.”

And then there is the practical side. “Should be a great crowd,” Scogin said. “Both schools should make a lot of money.”

Four schools have earned a bye in the first round (all on the Select side) by finishing in the top eight in their division: Northwood (5), Byrd (6), Calvary (5), and North Caddo (7).

In addition to Airline, four other schools will be at home – Benton (vs. Ponchatoula), Huntington (vs. Jesuit), Evangel (vs. Jesuit) and Loyola (vs. St. Thomas Aquinas). All games are Friday at 7 p.m. at their home facility except for Huntington, which is expected to use Northwood’s stadium.

“We are extremely excited,” Huntington coach Stephen Dennis said. “It’s Week 11. I don’t care who we are playing.” 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com 

Select Division I

17-Captain Shreve (5-5) at 16-Tioga (7-3)

5-Northwood (8-2), Bye

19-Jesuit (4-6) at 14-Huntington (6-4)

6-Byrd (7-3), Bye

Select Division II

20-Istrouma (4-5) at 13-Evangel (6-4), Rodney Duron Field

Select Division III

24-Green Oaks (2-8) at 9-Country Day (5-5)

22-St. Thomas Aquinas (3-7) at 11-Loyola Prep (5-4), Messmer Stadium

5-Calvary (8-2), Bye

7-North Caddo (7-3), Bye

Non-Select Division I

25-Ponchatoula (5-5) at 8-Benton (7-3), Mason-Newman Field at Tiger Stadium

19-Parkway (7-3) at 14-Dutchtown (6-3)

27-Haughton (5-5) at 6-Airline (7-3), M.D. Ray Field


Cavs don’t waste any time in dominating district title game

X-FACTOR: Calvary’s Xavier Mcglothan takes a pass into the end zone. (Photo by KEVIN PICKENS, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

It’s rare when both teams walk off the field after a game and are already looking forward to next week.

For the Calvary Cavaliers, it’s because Friday night’s 45-0 rout of Loyola at Messmer Stadium provided a final building block before the playoffs begin.

For the Flyers, there’s nowhere else to look.

Calvary did just about everything right on the way to winning its seventh straight game and the District 1-2A championship. The Cavs will be one of the top seeds in the Select-Division III playoffs and receive a bye in the first round.

“We just have to continue to work,” Calvary coach Rodney Guin said. “We need to clean up some mistakes with penalties. We just need to continue to get better.”

For the Flyers, it was a question of whether to burn the tape right after the game or wait a day and then burn it. Either way, they won’t be going into the postseason on a high note.

“We couldn’t even give them (the Cavaliers) a good workout,” Loyola coach Mike Greene said.

If there is such a thing as a turning point in a 45-point game, it came on the Cavs’ second drive of the game. On fourth-and-18, quarterback Abram Wardell threw over the middle for somebody. Maybe it was for Xavier Mcglothan, or maybe it wasn’t, but he ended up with the ball and walked into the end zone.

Asked if Mcglothan was the intended receiver, Guin said, “We have no idea. We’ll try to go back and figure that out.”

Instead of a defensive stand and a 7-0 game, it was now a Calvary lead of 14-0 and the machine was just getting cranked up, scoring touchdowns on all five possessions in the first half.

The Cavs (8-2, 5-0) had plenty to brag about when it was over. Running back James Simon had 78 yards on 14 carries and two rushing touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass. Wardell was 16 of 19 for 203 yards with three touchdowns. Kolby Thomas and Aubrey Hermes each had five receptions.

Mcglothan also scored on another pass that wasn’t intended for him when he returned an interception for a 33-yard score.

There are no statistics that the Flyers want to see, but the toughest of all was the zero on the board. It’s the first time Loyola has been shut out since 2012.

Calvary’s defense was dominant from the start and didn’t allow a first down until the second half against a team that had scored 40 points in three straight games.

“We started out fast and we were very aggressive on defense,” Guin said. “I tell you, we’re pretty good when we can play defense like that. Our tackling is 100 percent better than it was earlier in the year.”

Loyola (5-4) is likely to be a hosting a playoff game in the first round of the Select-Division III playoffs.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Calvary 45, Loyola 0

Score by quarters

Calvary | 14 | 28 | 3 | 0 | – 45

Loyola | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | – 0

Scoring summary

C – James Simon 1 run (Garrett Little kick)

C – Xavier Mcglothan 18 pass from Abram Wardell (Little kick)

C – Kolby Thomas 2 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

C – Simon 3 run (Little kick)

C – Mcglothan 33 interception return (Little kick)

C – Simon 30 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

C – FG Little 39

Individual leaders

Rushing

Calvary (32-127), James Simon 14-78, Chaz Whitaker 6-28, Peyton Houston 2-12, Julius Moss 5-11, Tyson Driskell 1-4, Owen Smith 1-0, Wardell 3-minus-6.

Loyola (18-21), Trace Wall 8-25, Cooper DeFatta 9-0, Reagan Coyle 1-minus-4.

Passing

Calvary (16-21-0, 203 yards), Wardell 16-19-0, 203, Smith 1-0-0, Houston 1-0-0.

Loyola (3-12-12), DeFatta 3-12-2, 12 yards.

Receiving

Calvary – Aubrey Hermes 5-64, Thomas 5-22, Mcglothan 2-50, Chris Jackson 3-37, Simon 1-30.

Loyola — Coyle 2-3, John Carmody 1-9.


Numb from the numbing numbers

Would somebody please just let me watch and/or listen to the World Series without being bombarded with these never-ending analytics?

First of all, it’s tough enough being in the middle of the DirecTV-KMSS brouhaha and being forced to get a crash course in YouTube TV. But I can make that happen.

What I can’t make happen is being un-barraged with numbers I simply don’t care about.

During the playoffs, I was listening on the radio and every pitch – every … single … pitch – was accompanied by how hard it was thrown. “There’s a 97-mile-an-hour fastball! Low and outside curveball at 83 in for a strike!”

My mind can visualize what a low and outside pitch looks like. It has no idea the difference between 97 and 92. And doesn’t care.

That would be bad enough, but the end result of all of this is that the information is now available and the commentators feel an obligation to use it. “He ran 47.3 feet to catch that fly ball!” So if he ran 42.9 feet, I would be less impressed?

If it’s a great catch, it’s a great catch.

Did you ever wonder how far Willie Mays ran in the ’54 World Series to make that famous over-the-shoulder catch? Neither did I.

I don’t know a bad launch angle from a good launch angle. An exit velocity of 100 miles per hour sounds good, but just about anything that goes 100 miles per hour seems impressive to me.

I’m reminded of when Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitched and was making batters look silly throwing at 88 mph. They asked him about that and the difference in throwing 94 and he basically said, “If you get hit by a bus going 88 miles an hour, does it hurt any less than one going 94?”

But just when I thought it couldn’t get any more out of hand, there was this from Game 4 Wednesday night. On the made-for-TV advertising screens behind home plate, we were informed as to the average spin rate of the Phillies’ and Astros’ pitchers in the postseason.

There’s a famous saying that there are “lies, damn lies and statistics.” We need to add one more to that list – worthless statistics. We have a new leader in the clubhouse for that one.

What is not a worthless statistic is pitching a no-hitter, which about half of the city of Houston accounted for Wednesday night to even the series at 2-2. Go ahead and put the “combined no-hitter” up there with things to not like about baseball these days.

I’ve waited my entire life to see a no-hitter pitched in the World Series – I wasn’t even a gleam in my father’s eye in 1956 when Don Larsen pitched the perfect game – and this is what I get?

Had starting pitcher Cristian Javier stayed around to try to join Larsen, I would have been on the edge of my YouTube TV-watching seat. But this is Baseball 2022, where the motto is “We Don’t Care What You Want Because Analytics Rule!” Instead, the no-hitter had all the excitement of folding your socks.

I’m not sure I can even name the other three pitchers involved in the combined no-hitter. For that matter, I’m not sure Cristian Javier can name them.

But you can damn sure find out what their combined spin rate was. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Falcons have been waiting for this chance

 FIRE-D UP: Northwood’s Tadarius Collins (4) will lead the Falcons into an electric atmosphere Friday night. (Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

There were a lot of dejected faces when the Northwood Falcons walked off the field on Sept. 22 after a 28-20 loss to Huntington in the opening game of the District 1-4A race.

But Northwood coach Austin Brown had a feeling there was a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

First, the Falcons would have to negotiate their way through the district schedule. But if they were successful in doing that, opportunity would still be there.

And he was right.

Though they will come into the game as underdogs, the Falcons, winners of five straight, can capture a share of the district championship by beating undefeated North DeSoto in Stonewall tonight at 6 o’clock.

“It’s exciting, but it’s weird being on the other end of it,” Brown said. “We’ve been on the back burner and we are the underdogs. We knew we would have another opportunity after the Huntington game.”

While the Griffins get a lot of attention for their offensive numbers, it is on the other side of the ball that’s got Brown’s attention.

“They run around on defense like rabid dogs,” he said. “It’s impressive. I’m a pretty proud defensive coach and I don’t usually throw a lot of compliments around, but they got it going right now on defense. They give their offense a lot of short fields.”

North DeSoto is known for its charged game atmosphere and that will certainly be the case tonight.

“We have to withstand the blitzkrieg for those first five minutes,” Brown said. “We’ve got to not have three-and-outs on offense because they (the Griffins) do not go three-and-out on offense and they don’t turn the ball over.”

Brown saw the makings of North DeSoto’s rise coming a year ago, when the Falcons and Griffins met twice in three weeks. Northwood won the regular season finale 13-7 to capture the district title and then won the rematch 19-9 in the second round of the playoffs.

“Last year they started 0-4 and then won five in a row before they played us,” he said. “But if you look at the games they lost, you could see that they could just as easily been 8-1 and 9-0. This year they are very similar, but I think they’ve got that belief. They’ve got lightning in a bottle.”

There is more on the line than just a share of the district championship. Northwood is currently No. 6 in the Select-Division 1 power rankings. The top eight teams will receive a first-round bye. North DeSoto is No. 2 in the Non-Select-Division II rankings.

“This is different for us to come in as underdogs,” says safety Mar’Jayvious Moss. “It’s going to be a loud, hyped-up game. They are going to be ready and we are going to be ready.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Northwood (7-2, 5-1) at North DeSoto (9-0, 6-0)

Where: Stonewall 

Series: Northwood 8-6 

Last year: Northwood 19-9 in playoffs, 13-7 regular season 

Last week: Northwood beat Woodlawn 48-0; North DeSoto beat Bossier 56-16 

Rankings: Northwood is No. 7 in the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll; North DeSoto ranks No. 8 in the LSWA Class 4A Top 10 poll 

LHSAA power rankings: Northwood is 6th in  Select Division I; North DeSoto is No. 2  in Non-Select Division II 

Radio: Northwood (Miracle 89.1 FM) 

Notables: The Falcons will be looking to improve their efficiency on offense, particularly in the passing game, according to head coach Austin Brown … Running back Quintavion White needs 142 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He has 16 of the team’s 27 rushing touchdowns … Defensive end Tadarius Collins has 10 quarterback sacks – the rest of the team has combined for 10 – and 19 tackles for loss … Northwood has won its last seven games to end the regular season.

Evangel (5-4, 4-2) at BTW (1-8, 1-5) 

Where: Leonard C. Barnes Stadium 

Series: Evangel 6-1 

Last year: Evangel 21-6 

Last week: Evangel beat Huntington 21-14; BTW lost to Minden 43-26 

Rankings: Evangel is No. 8 in Journal Top 10 poll 

LHSAA power rankings: Evangel is No. 13, BTW ranks 33rd in Select Division II 

Radio: none 

Notables: Eagles, winners of two straight games, eye their first three-game run of the season … Evangel has won six of seven games vs. BTW. The only blemish came with a 36-20 loss in 2020 … Junior receiver Parker Fulghum (847 yards) is 153 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season and ranks 14th statewide in all classes in receiving yards, and third with his 63 catches, according to GeauxPreps.com.

The Lions will be trying to avoid a one-win season, which they last had in the 2018 season … Even with a win, BTW would not get enough points to get into the top 28 of the power rankings to qualify for a playoff berth. The Lions are currently at No. 33 … BTW beat Evangel 36-20 during the 2020 season.

Minden (3-6, 2-4) vs. Woodlawn (3-6, 2-4) 

Where: Independence Stadium 

Series: Minden 17-9 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: Minden beat BTW 43-26; Woodlawn lost to Northwood 48-0 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: Woodlawn stands 25th in Select Division II; Minden is No. 33 in Non-Select Division II 

Radio: Minden (Real Country 104.5 FM)

Notables: Last week, the Knights suffered their first shutout loss of the season to Northwood, 48-0 … Last season, Woodlawn had four shutout losses … Woodlawn head coach Thedrick Harris and Minden’s Spencer Heard were teammates on the Louisiana Tech football team in the mid-1990s.

Minden running back Jaylen Robinson became the first Tide back with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Sammy Seamster did it from 1985-87 … He also became the third all-time leading rusher behind Raymond Tate and Seamster … Robinson leads the team with 14 touchdowns and 84 points … QB Jakobe Jackson has run for 644 yards and passed for 759 for total offense of 1,403 yards, an average of 155.9 per game.


Look who’s talking (about winning District 1-2A)!

UP FOR GRABS: Calvary’s Hutch Grace (11) and Lavorziesa Houston combine to take down a Lakeside Warrior. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Seven weeks ago, they were a combined 1-5. Now they are playing for the District 1-2A championship.

Both Calvary and Loyola went through the rigors of a tough schedule to start the season and have lived to tell about it. The two teams – both undefeated in district play at 4-0 – will square off Friday night at 7 o’clock at Messmer Stadium to decide the district champion.

“When I first saw our schedule, I was excited to see that we were going to play Loyola in the final game,” said Calvary coach Rodney Guin. “I kind of figured it might be for the district championship.”

Calvary has won six straight and is 7-2 overall and ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 2A state-wide poll. Loyola is on a five-game winning streak and is 5-3.

Both are in position to have a bye in the first round of the Select-Division III playoffs. Eight teams will get a bye with Calvary currently at No. 5 and Loyola at No. 8.

Each team features a balanced offense, with the Cavaliers more reliant on the passing game and the Flyers tilting more toward the run.

Calvary’s sophomore quarterback Abram Wardell has completed 94 of 110 passes for 1,655 yards with 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Running back James Simon has 753 yards and 16 touchdowns.

“They are going to be prepared,” Loyola head coach Mike Greene said of the Cavaliers. “You are going to have to beat them. You are going to have to execute in all phases of the game. They don’t beat themselves.”

Loyola has a rushing duo of senior quarterback Cooper DeFatta (575 yards, 10 touchdowns) and senior Trace Wall (532 yards, eight touchdowns). Wall is back from missing three games with an injury. DeFatta has also thrown for 810 yards and seven touchdowns.

DeFatta has been responsible for 12 touchdowns (rushing and passing) in the last three weeks.

“We’ve got to be able to control the quarterback,” Guin said. “He’s a very good player and whether it’s throwing the ball or running it, he does a lot of things well. You can tell he is a take-charge guy.”

Flyer linebacker Gray Deason is among the city leaders in tackles with 95.

The Cavs have had an amazingly low number of turnovers this season. “We have to continue to not turn the ball over,” Guin said. “We’ve gotten our penalties to almost nothing. We feel like we have a good football team. We just have to do what we do best.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Calvary (7-2, 4-0) at Loyola (5-3, 4-0) 

Where: Messmer Stadium 

Series: Calvary 4-0 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: Calvary beat Lakeside 63-0; Loyola beat North Caddo 41-22 

Rankings: Calvary No. 6 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal poll, No. 5 in LSWA 2A poll; LCP No. 9 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal poll 

LHSAA power rankings: Calvary No. 5, Loyola No. 8, Select Division III         

Radio: Calvary (Promise, 90.7 FM) 

Notables: With the District 1-2A title on the line, the Cavaliers ride a six-game win streak and have scored at least 52 points in all those games … sophomore quarterback Abram Wardell has 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season … sophomore running back James Simon (753 yards rushing, 71 yards receiving) is 176 yards shy of 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season.

There are a number of connections between the two schools. Calvary quarterbacks coach Steven Geter served as Loyola head coach from 2008-12 and 16-19 and has a son who is a senior at Loyola … Ronnie Hermes, the grandfather of Calvary wide receiver Aubrey Hermes, was the Flyers’ leading rusher in 1971 and 1972 … Calvary offensive coordinator Marvin Williams was a Flyer assistant in 2018 … Bryce Carpenter, who opened the season as the Cavs starting quarterback, transferred to Loyola after Week 3 … In more than 100 years of Flyer football, Calvary is the school Loyola has played the most and never beaten (0-4) … Loyola has scored 40 points or more in three straight games for the first time since 2016 … The Flyers have rushed for at least 200 yards in each of the last four games – the longest streak since 1992.

Green Oaks (2-7, 0-4) at Lakeside (4-5, 0-4) 

Where: Sibley 

Series: First meeting 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: Green Oaks lost to D’Arbonne Woods 28-14; Lakeside lost to Calvary 63-0 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: Green Oaks No. 19 Select Division III; Lakeside No. 29 Non-Select Division III 

Radio: none 

Notables: Both teams are looking to close out the regular season with their first District 1-2A victory … The Giants are coming off a tough 28-14 loss to D’Arbonne Woods … “It was very tough,” Green Oaks head coach Chadwick Lewis said of the Week 9 loss. “But being a young team, we still need to learn to get over the hump and finish a game. It’s like we are so close” … Lewis was very proud of the effort against D’Arbonne Woods, which presented a running threat. “It’s tough when you are young up front,” said the Giants’ coach … Other than the usual “Week 10 sores,” Green Oaks is relatively injury-free … The Giants will face more of a traditional spread team when they go to Sibley to face the Warriors … “Lakeside has a good quarterback and wide receiver,” said Lewis. “We must be able to corral them and keep them from getting loose. Again, we just have to stay mentally locked-in all four quarters for 48 minutes.”


Raiders build on their carpentry skills to stop Bossier

WISDOM OF SOLOMON: Running back John Solomon rushed for two touchdowns in a win over Bossier. (Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Huntington head coach Stephen Dennis, who is known to get philosophical with his team on a regular basis, gave the Raiders a message this week about a carpenter building a house. Every nail counts, he told them, because when it’s done you are going to have to live in that house.

Better make it as good as you can while you can.

With the playoffs looming, the Raiders took that message into the regular-season finale Thursday night at Lee Hedges Stadium against Bossier. After this, there would be no more construction.

The project was completed with a 48-0 win over the Bearkats. Now it’s time for the Raiders to move in for the playoffs, which begin next week.

“We told our seniors they have built an amazing house at Huntington for the last three years,” Dennis said. “But I wanted them to know that it was important to hammer the nail and (that) doing every little part right mattered. And if you don’t take care of it, it’s not going to last when the (playoff) storm hits next Friday.”

That’s some pretty deep stuff as the Raiders are hopeful, but not certain, of a home game in the first round of the Select-Division I playoffs.

“It’s win or go home after this,” Dennis said. “And we are going to have to live in that house for the next nine months no matter what happens.”

The Raiders used one of their favorite tactics – get the ball to a receiver quickly in open space – on their first offensive play. Jamarion Washington, one of two quarterbacks used in place of the injured Kam Evans, shuffled a quick pass in the flat to Tre Carter, who took it 89 yards for a touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Raiders used a different quarterback but a familiar formula – throw it deep. A 26-yard fourth down pass from Lorenzo White to Kenton Brossett set up a 1-yard run by White for the second touchdown.

Huntington capped the first half scoring with a 30-yard launch by White to Brossett for a score that made it 20-0 at halftime.

In the second half, it was the Huntington running game that did the damage. John Solomon scored on runs of 18 and 11 yards and Jamarion Mims had a 14-yard scoring run. Huntington added a 44-yard pass from White to Preston Summage to complete the scoring.

Washington and White combined to throw for 291 yards.

“I thought our two sophomore quarterbacks did really well,” Dennis said. “We just kind of rotated them in there. The running backs did a good job and I thought the offensive line played well.”

The Raiders wrapped up the regular season with a 6-4 record, 5-2 in the district. Bossier finishes at 0-10, 0-7 but loses only two seniors on its freshman and sophomore-laden roster.

“I thought the execution was good,” Dennis said. “We have a good-is-great, better-is-possible mentality. So I thought there were areas where we could have been better.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Huntington 48, Bossier 0 

Score by quarters

Bossier | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | – 0

Huntington | 6 | 14 | 21 | 7 | – 48 

Scoring summary

H – Tre Carter 89 pass from Jamarion Washington (run failed)

H – Lorenzo White 1 run (Carter pass from White)

H – Kenton Brossett 30 pass from White (pass failed)

H – Jamarion Mims 14 run (Carter run)

H – John Solomon 11 run (run failed)

H – Solomon 18 run (Danny Cuat kick)

H – Preston Summage 44 pass from White (Cuat kick) 

Individual Leaders 

Rushing

Bossier (24-16), Quintarion Scott 9-22, LeBrandon Davis 9-21, Caleb Jones 1-3, Christian Johnson 1-1, Tre Christor 2-minus-12, Ja’Karvis Guice 1-1, Team 1-minus-20.

Huntington (22-137), Solomon 9-57, Mims 5-61, Nyles Hullaby 4-35, White 2-minus-7, Summage 1-0, Washington 2-minus-9.

Passing 

Bossier (12-21-2, 80 yards), Scott 10-19-2, 79 yards, Christor 2-2-0, 1 yard.

Huntington (13-18-0, 291 yards), White 9-10-0, 175 yards, Washington 4-8-0, 116 yards. 

Receiving 

Bossier, Dominic Conde 3-39, Scott 2-minus-1, Christor 1-0, Kerel Woods 2-10, De’Wayne Robinson 1-16, Guice 1-6, Jahmar Samuel 1-8, Jayden Goolsby 1-0.

Huntington, Carter 4-116, Brossett 2-56, Jarvis Davis 2-43, Solomon 1-2, Summage 2-48, Kaleb Tucker 1-9, Darius Burkins 1-17.


SPOTLIGHT: Old-school friends Greene, Guin go back a long way

MUTUAL RESPECT: Loyola’s Mike Greene and Calvary’s Rodney Guin are in an exclusive coaching club. (File photos by GRAHAM TRAWICK and JOHN PENROD)
 

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

It was the early 2010s, when Mike Greene was in his first year as head coach at Fair Park and Rodney Guin was at Haughton. Greene’s program was struggling to even exist (the school has now closed) and Haughton was enjoying great support from its community.

The two teams were not district opponents, but were on the schedule for a two-year series. “Here’s how good of a guy Rodney is,” Greene says now. “We played both games at his place and he split the gate with us because he knew it would help us out (financially). One of those years (2011) was even his Homecoming so the gate was even bigger. Nobody knows that, but I’ve never forgotten it.”

In the history of Caddo-Bossier football, there has never been a game in which two coaches with 150 career wins will be on opposing sidelines. (No other local coach even has half that many wins.)

That will change Friday night when Loyola meets Calvary at 7 o’clock at Messmer Stadium.

Greene is in his second stint as head coach of the Flyers while Guin has been at Calvary since 2017. It wouldn’t matter what was on the line with these two, but there is this: This game will decide the District 1-2A championship.

When the two meet at midfield before the game, there’s no telling what the conversation might be. The bigger problem will be to get them to stop talking so the game can start. “We probably won’t even talk about football,” Guin says.

Guin, 62, and Greene, 57, both laughingly acknowledge that this might be a football adaptation of the Ernest J. Gaines novel, A Gathering of Old Men.

“When he was at Airline and I was first starting at Haughton we got to be pretty good friends,” Guin says. “We were young head coaches at that point. Not anymore.”

“It goes by so fast,” Greene says. “Hard to believe it’s been that long.”

Consider these resumes: Guin and Greene are the only two in Caddo-Bossier to have coached in a state championship game. In his second year as head coach (at age 29), Greene took a Loyola team that was 4-5 in the regular season to the 1994 Class 2A title game.

Guin, who led Calvary to the Division IV state championship in 2020, had a 16-year career as head coach at Haughton and is No. 3 all time in wins by a Caddo-Bossier coach with 179.

Greene, who has coached more football games in Caddo-Bossier than anyone else other than Lee Hedges, has 150 W’s, only one win away from moving into the Top 5.

“I’ve known him 35 years, I guess,” Greene says of Guin. “I think the world of him. He’s an A-plus guy. We played against each other a lot. You hate playing against your friends because you get mad and try to beat them and if you do, you feel sorry for them when it’s over.”

Greene and Guin met five times when they were at Airline and Haughton with Greene’s Vikings teams winning three of the five. Guin’s Bucs beat Greene’s Fair Park teams both times they played.

“They are going to play very hard and you know that going in,” Guin said of playing Greene’s teams over the years. “Last week, he played a team (North Caddo) that probably had the 10 fastest players on the field and (Loyola) shut them down. When you can take a team with athletes like that and not just beat them but beat them soundly, that’s coaching right there.”

Coaches are known for throwing compliments toward the opposing team in the days leading up to a game, but these aren’t just game-week platitudes.

“The thing I love about him is what you see is what you get,” Guin says. “He’s honest, he’s truthful, he’s loyal. You try to surround yourself with guys you can trust and he’s one of them. What a guy. He’s just great for football around here.”

Says Greene: “I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anybody.”

Guin suffered a massive heart attack in 2014 while at Haughton. He coached at Haughton until 2015 before retiring and moving to Calvary as an assistant in 2016.

“He’s such a good guy,” Greene says. “You can see why he was left around here (after his heart attack) so he could touch more people’s lives.”

Both know high school football coaching can often be a young man’s profession. A few years ago in a different circumstance, that was Guin and Greene.

“You’re only as old as you feel,” Greene says. “But he’s got a new ticker, so I guess he’s ready to go.” 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


BPCC basketball tips tonight, glad for return to normalcy

MAN WITH THE PLAN: John Anthony Anglin and the Cavs look forward to a normal year. (Photo by JORDAN HICKS)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

If there’s something that seems different about Bossier Parish Community College basketball this year, it’s because there is.

It’s normal.

When head coach John Anthony Anglin got the job two years ago, he had to deal with all the issues involved with an abbreviated COVID-19 season.

Just before last year’s season started, star player Dakari Markray was killed in an auto accident. Along with the emotional toll, the aftermath basically cost the Cavaliers the entire preseason.

But as the 2022-23 season dawns, Anglin is faced with the simple joy of normalcy.

“We’ve had to fly by the seat of our pants the past few years,” Anglin said. “It’s good to have some consistency. I’m excited about this group and they’ve been really coachable in the preseason.”

The Cavs will open their season tonight at the BPCC gym against North American University JV at 7 p.m.  And you better get used to seeing BPCC at home. Of the seven games the Cavs will play this month, zero will be on the road.

In junior college basketball, roster turnover from year to year is something every coach has to deal with, but Anglin has a team that is a good mix of familiar faces and incoming impact players.

“We’ve got more experience in our older group than we have had in the past,” Anglin said. “Hopefully that is going to help us with game experience to go with the guys who have already been here.”

Returning players include Christian Caldwell (Southwood), who is playing at BPCC for the third season by utilizing his “free” year from COVID. “He’s gotten a lot better and has probably been our best player so far in preseason,” Anglin says.

Kendrick Delahoussaye, who started 30 games at point guard, is back for another season. “He’s been solid and consistent, but we’ve brought in some guys who have pushed him and made him better,” Anglin said.

Eric McKnight (Southwood) is also back and “has put on some weight and made a lot of progress,” according to Anglin.

New players include three Division I transfers: D’Marcus Hall (Calvary/UL-Monroe), 7-foot center Hugo Clarkin (San Jose State/Sacramento State) and 6-foot-2 guard Jon’Quarious McGhee (Opelousas/Nicholls State).

There are also two junior college transfers: Damani Claxton (Chipola) and Elijah Beard (Big Sandy Texas, New Mexico JC).

“Those two guys are bringing us some winning experience from successful junior college programs,” Anglin said.

In junior college, teams get four scrimmage opportunities in the preseason. BPCC had only one last year and none the year before that.

“We know a little bit more about our guys going into the season than we have in the past few years,” Anglin said.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


SPOTLIGHT: Northwood’s Moss a success on and off the field

MOSS PRODUCTION: Responsibilities for the Falcons’ four-star athlete don’t end with football. (File photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

In many ways, it’s easy being an elite high school football player. Some of the most recognizable people in collegiate sports have your cell number. Little kids ask for your autograph. Television cameras seek you out after a game.

Easy for some. Not as easy for Mar’Jayvious Moss.

One of the lessons the Northwood senior learned early on was that he would have to grow up faster than other kids his age. There was a simple reason for that – he had no other choice.

While some high school seniors leave school and go home to play video games or to a part-time job, that’s not an option for a four-star athlete who is wanted by colleges across the country.

Mar’Jayvious Moss goes home to his reality.

He is the second of seven children with a mother and an older brother who both work. His mother, LaQuisha Moss, works at a hotel as a supervisor and has a schedule that varies day to day. “I’m usually the last one to leave every day I work,” she says.

Moss is not only one of the top defensive backs in the state, but often has the responsibility of laundry for his younger siblings, doing their hair, making meals, driving the carpool and just about every duty you might imagine. “I even fixed the plumbing one day,” he says.

“He did that without me even knowing,” LaQuisha Moss says.

In a time when most high school seniors sleep until the last possible second, Moss often wakes up at 5:30 in the morning to get everyone in the household ready for the day. That’s almost three hours before school starts at Northwood.

“There are a lot of eyes on me from the younger guys, so every little mistake matters,” Moss says.

Eyes from fellow teammates or younger siblings? “Both,” he says.

“His mother is a really great lady who supports Mar’Jayvious, but she’s also great at telling him how it is,” Northwood coach Austin Brown says. “And she’s told him that as a Black kid in America, you have to grow up a lot faster. That’s just how it is.”

Moss is focused on this week’s huge battle in District 1-4A with the undefeated North DeSoto Griffins on Friday. That will require lots of film study – when he can find the time.

“The weekends are probably the most hectic because we are all at home,” Moss says. “The youngest is not at day care, so it gets a little rowdy.”

“I can always see how much he cares and how fatherly he is,” Brown says. “He’s always got a car full of kids to bring home. He’s always looking out for the betterment of the people on this team, not just his brothers and sisters.”

“Whatever he does, he’s committed to it,” says his mother. “He’s very mature for his age and a great big brother. He’s always got a smile on his face.”

You can’t tell the story of Mar’Jayvious Moss without talking about what happened in April. While making the rounds of taking siblings to school, he stopped along Highway 3132 due to car trouble. While he was checking things out, he was hit by a passing vehicle.

“I never saw it coming,” Moss says. “I don’t even remember getting hit. I just remember being helped up by my little brother and the man who was driving and getting placed in the ambulance.”

Though he had been knocked into the air by a moving vehicle, X-rays, CT scan and an MRI revealed no broken bones. “Only stitches,” he says.

“Me and his mother and his siblings all arrived at the hospital at the same time and we found him smiling, laughing and kidding around,” Brown says. “He tried to tell me he was going to run in the regional (track meet) the next day. Of course, he was full of adrenalin. Then he called me the next day and said “Coach, it feels like I was hit by a truck.’ “

“I thank God every day,” Moss says. “That could have been my life.”

After quite a bit of rehab, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Moss was ready when the Falcons’ season started. A year ago, he got the spotlight placed squarely on him when he intercepted five passes in one game. (That’s not a misprint.)

His regular position (and mostly likely role in college) is at safety — he leads the team in solo tackles — but he also sees time at wide receiver and special teams, which he enjoys most of all.

Put it this way: Hardly a play goes by in which opposing coaches aren’t accounting for where Moss is on the field.

But here’s what you need to know most about Mar’Jayvious Moss. If you ask him what’s his favorite thing about football, he won’t tell you that it’s scoring touchdowns or a big hit or picking off a pass.

“These days, we all preach about brotherhood,” Moss says. “Blanchard is mostly White, but you have people like me who come from the ’hood. Football brings everybody together. This isn’t just a great school; it’s a great community. Nothing does that like football.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Flyers find inspiration on ground – and above

TRACE EVIDENCE: Loyola’s Trace Wall runs through a hole on the way to a 156-yard performance. (Photo by JACK WALLS).

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

On a night in which an 80 percent chance of precipitation was predicted, a rainbow appeared over Loyola’s Messmer Stadium about an hour before kickoff.

Some might have taken that as a curiosity. The Loyola community took it as a sign.

The same kind of sign as the Flyer players and cheerleaders coming dressed with pink accents to their uniforms.

The same kind of sign that more than 30 percent of the Class of 2022 came in from different colleges to attend this game that wasn’t even Homecoming.

Loyola’s 41-22 win over North Caddo Friday night meant a lot in the District 1-2A standings, but that’s nothing compared to what it meant to a school community that had been rocked during the week by the sudden death of Hannah Pham, who was a freshman at the University of Arkansas.

Five months ago, the wheelchair-bound student graduated with the Loyola Class of 2022. Next week, she will be buried.

There’s no doubt that the Flyers were happy to upset the No. 8-ranked Titans, but that joy was magnified because of how they had handled the passing of one of the most popular students the school has seen in quite a while.

“This is the best win ever,” said senior running back Trace Wall, who rushed for a career-high 156 yards, “because I know Hannah is happy.”

Pink was not only Pham’s favorite color, it was also the color of her sorority (Phi Mu). But it was the green of the end zone where the Flyers found their success.

It was a game in which Loyola (5-3, 4-0) kept getting better as the game went along and North Caddo (6-3, 2-2) went the other direction.

The Flyers took a couple of gut punches early – a 59-yard touchdown reception by Jquay Vinson and a 53-yard scoring run by KJ Black – but kept hanging in the game, trailing only 14-12 at half.

Once Loyola got the break it needed – a well-placed third-quarter kickoff that North Caddo almost seemed to ignore – the Flyers found the spark they were looking for.

“We are a team of momentum,” Wall said. “Once we get a stop and a touchdown, we just keep going. We inspire each other.”

Quarterback Cooper DeFatta was certainly a big part of that inspiration. The senior had a hand in five touchdowns – three rushing and two passing – and finished with 177 total yards.

DeFatta’s 6-yard run had cut the Titans’ lead to 22-20 before Evan Lirette’s high kickoff bounced around in Titan territory. Sophomore Patrick Gosslee fell on it at the North Caddo 17. Six plays later, DeFatta was in the end zone again (a 1-yard sneak) and the Flyers had a lead it would never lose.

The Titans had no answer after that with the next three possessions ending in interceptions (by Robert Pavlick, Colin Lirette and Reagan Coyle).

Meanwhile, the Flyers kept pounding away on the way to a 295-yard rushing performance. At one point in the second half, Loyola called 21 straight running plays.

Only one of them didn’t gain yardage.

“I knew we could move the ball on them, and Trace was fantastic,” Loyola coach Mike Greene said. “I just didn’t know if we could score enough or stop them enough. It took us a half to catch up with the speed of the game, but you could see how we just kept pounding it at them.”

The Flyers, winner of five straight, now sit atop the District 1-2A standings and will end the regular season with a home game against the other team with a 4-0 district record – Calvary.

“We are playing next week for a district championship,” Greene said. “That’s all we are looking for.”

That, and maybe another rainbow. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Loyola 41, North Caddo 22 

Score by quarters

NC | 16 | 0 | 6 | 0 | – 22

LCP | 7 | 7 | 13 | 14 | – 41

Scoring summary

NC – Jquay Vinson 59 pass from Aiden Brock (KJ Black run)

L – Rowan Guthikonda 21 pass from Cooper DeFatta (Evan Lirette kick)

NC – Black 53 run (Black run)

L – Reagan Coyle 31 pass from DeFatta (Lirette kick)

NC – Omarion Miller 21 pass from Mason Jackson (run failed)

L – DeFatta 6 run (run failed)

L – DeFatta 1 run (Lirette kick)

L – Trace Wall 2 run (Lirette kick)

L – DeFatta 20 run (Lirette kick)

Individual statistics 

Rushing

North Caddo (20-149) – Black 11-109, Jackson 5-27, Miller 3-12, Aiden Brock 1-1. 

Loyola (54-295) – Wall 28-156, DeFatta 16-91, Patrick Gosslee 5-28, Jon Ebarb 2-10, Coyle 3-10.

Passing

North Caddo (14-26-3, 211 yards) – Brock 6-12-2, 124 yards; Jackson 8-12-1, 87 yards; Black 0-2-0. 

Loyola (6-11-0, 86 yards) – DeFatta 6-11-0, 86 yards.

Receiving 

North Caddo – Vinson 7-112, Jackson 1-41, Miller 5-37, Brock 1-21. 

Loyola – Robert Pavlick 3-18, Coyle 2-47, Rowan Guthikonda 1-21.


Game dates change weather you like it or not

A few years ago, a high school baseball coach friend of mine called to tell me that his game was being moved up a day. Naturally, I was curious as to why, since schedules had been printed and plans had been made.

“Gonna rain,” he told me.

This was on a Monday. The game was moved from Thursday to Wednesday. On Thursday, I could have gotten a suntan that George Hamilton would be proud of.

Not a drop of rain.

“Good thing you moved it,” I texted him that afternoon. “Wouldn’t want that sunlight to be factor.”

I was stunned that this happened, but am certainly less stunned these days during baseball season. Coaches do it all the time, though it still bothers me just as much.

When it rained in the days before the football scrimmages were to take place in August and teams were moving locations around so they could play on turf instead of the natural-grass of their home stadium, I was fine with that. It’s a scrimmage and the risk of potentially “tearing up the field” before the season even starts was certainly an issue.

But the game-day switching that’s been going on this week? That’s different.

Look, this is not meant to be a when-men-were-men discussion, but the idea that high school football can’t be played in the rain is getting out of control.

Hang on now … I know all the perceived reasons why and I know the real reason why. For a moment, let’s forget all of those.

I will never be in charge of making this call, but if I were, here’s what I would be asking: Is there an F5 tornado heading for the stadium? If yes, move it. If no, see you at 7 p.m.

And don’t give me the “threat of severe weather.” I’m convinced local television meteorologists get paid by the number of times they say those words. The key word there is “threat.” Just like I’m a “threat” to win the lottery.

I have the same phone app that everybody else has. I looked at it Monday and it said there was an 81 percent chance of rain on Friday. That changed a little bit as the days went by, but it was still the same basic forecast when I checked again Thursday afternoon: “Cloudy with periods of rain and a thunderstorm.”

We can’t play in that?

You knew this was coming and I’m sorry I waited so long to say it: It’s football! Could be cold, could be wet, could be foggy, could be windy. You know that going in. By the way, they play golf in Scotland in those exact conditions just about every day.

I understand that it might be Senior Night or Homecoming or some special occasion. You know what else I understand? That plenty of people make plans to attend those events weeks in advance based on when they have been told the game will be played.

Those schedules that are printed before the season aren’t meant to be suggestions.

But … but … but … what about the gate? Ding-ding! We have a winner!

Will there be fewer people at a rainy game than a non-rain game? That’s certainly likely. But that’s for the schools to figure out how to manage. Gate receipts are never a guarantee, even if it’s 74 degrees with no wind. And we both know that weather isn’t the only thing keeping people away from high school football games these days.

Coaches, players, fans would all like conditions to be as perfect as possible. We all know who can play when they are.

Let’s see who can play when they aren’t.

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Falcons don’t waste any time making it a long Knight

FLYING FALCON:  Deceldrion Gay takes off on an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start Thursday’s game. (Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

When you get an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the opening play of the game, you get the feeling it’s going to be your night.

When you score on the first four possessions of the game while not allowing a first down on defense, you know it’s going to be your night.

It was Northwood’s night.

The Falcons had it all working Thursday night in a 48-0 District 1-4A win over Woodlawn at Jerry Burton Stadium.

The fast start was just what head coach Austin Brown wanted to see because it was an important final step as the Falcons set their sights on their biggest game of the year – a date with undefeated North DeSoto in the final game of the regular season.

“Next week is going to be a lot of excitement and a lot of pressure, so we tried to put a lot of pressure on our guys this week and demand a lot,” Brown said. “They did a lot better than the week before. But we still have a lot of improvement to do before next week.”

Sophomore Deceldrion Gay got the Senior Night party started with a blazing return of the opening kick to set the tone for the night.

“We’ve been waiting for him to do something like that for a while,” Brown said. “He tore it up all year on JV this fall. He’s had to go three or four weeks of not getting any playing time at all. I’m happy for him.”

The Falcons followed that with a formula that’s worked all season long – the running of Quintavion White and the passing of Mason Welch.

Welch had two touchdown passes to Desmond Harris sandwiched around a 36-yard, second- and third-effort scoring run by White to make it 28-0 with 10:55 to go before halftime.

Welch threw another touchdown pass – a 15-yarder to Elijah Crawford – late in the second quarter to give Northwood a 35-0 lead.

The Falcons got a 19-yard touchdown run from White and a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Hutson Hearron to finish the scoring in the second half.

Welch was an efficient 7-of-12 for 103 yards with three touchdowns as he moved into the No. 2 spot in school history for career yardage.

“I liked our mentality of not being satisfied tonight with the score or individual results,” Brown said. “It was about effort and execution no matter what happened.”

It was a tough night all the way around for Woodlawn, whose first 28 plays were all run in the Knights’ own territory.

The only bright spot for the Knights came on a 44-yard pass from Isiaih Kennedy to Brandon Henderson late in the game for an apparent touchdown. But it was called back for an illegal block.

Winners of five straight, the Falcons are now 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the district. Woodlawn falls to 3-6 and 2-4 in the district. The Knights will finish the season at home against Minden. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Northwood 48, Woodlawn 0 

 Score by quarters

Woodlawn | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | – 0

Northwood | 21 | 14 | 6 | 7 | – 48 

Scoring summary

N – Deceldrion Gay 81 kickoff return (Willie Martinez kick)

N – Desmond Harris 11 pass from Mason Welch (Martinez kick)

N – Quintavion White 36 run (Martinez kick)

N – Harris 31 pass from Welch (Martinez kick)

N – Elijah Crawfod 15 pass from Welch (Martinez kick)

N – White 19 run (kick failed)

N – Hutson Hearron 1 run (Lex Williams kick)

Individual leaders

Rushing 

Northwood (23-163) – Quintavion White 6-88, Deceldrion Gay 3-25, Fabien Sanders 5-23, Hutson Hearron 4-13, Marc Denison 1-7, Tomarcus Keith 2-7, Justin Thomas 1-5, Mason Welch 1-minus-1, Mar’Jayvious Moss 1-minus-4.

Woodlawn (25-57) – Quintin Wilson 7-24, De’Shawnee Snow 1-19, Isaiah Kennedy 9-10, Brandon Henderson 3-3, Josh Dotson 1-1, Joshua Kennon 2-minus-2.

Passing

Northwood (8-14-0, 123 yards) – Welch 7-12-0,  103 yards, Hearron 1-2-0, 20 yards.

Woodlawn (10-16-1, 78 yards) – Kennedy 10-16-1, 78 yards.

Receiving 

Northwood – Desmond Harris 3-62, Elijah Crawford 2-55, Denison 2-8, Moss 1-minus-2.

Woodlawn – Henderson 6-62, D.J. Bates 2-7, Dotson 1-6, Jaiyon Allen 1-3.


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)

By 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, http://69.64.65.171:8192/kixstl) 

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. 


Titans trying to down Flyers from district standings

FRIGHT NIGHT? Loyola coach Mike Greene says watching North Caddo’s offense is ‘scary.’ (File photo by KEVIN PICKENS, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

There are only three teams in Shreveport-Bossier with unbeaten district records as Week 9 approaches. After the first three weeks of the season, you would have gotten some pretty decent odds on one of those teams being Loyola after the Flyers went 0-3.

But as the leaves fall and the grass turns brown (unless you have turf), there are the Flyers at the top of the District 1-2A standings with a 3-0 record and a four-game winning streak. And they still have two more home games to play. That’s the good news.

The bad news is there is more work to do. A lot more work.

Loyola has beaten the teams with a combined 1-8 district record. Next up are the two teams who are a combined 5-1 in the district – and both ranked in the LSWA statewide Class 2A poll.

The first of those two games is against North Caddo, who will come to Messmer Stadium Friday at 7 p.m. with a 6-2 overall record and a No. 8 state ranking. The only 1-2A team the Titans have lost to is No. 5 Calvary who is, you guessed it, Loyola’s final regular-season opponent.

It’s Halloween season, so you might understand Flyers coach Mike Greene’s feelings about taking on the Titans. “It’s scary,” he said. “Every snap you just have to hold your breath.”

North Caddo relies on a quick-strike offense with a number of different weapons who can line up all over the field.

“It’s like they say, get your playmakers the ball in space and let them do what they do,” said North Caddo coach Johnny Kavanaugh. “It’s definitely part of our game plan to do that. It’s a blessing to have kids who can take the ball and go 80 yards. You just have to find a way to get them the ball so they can do that.”

“I told our kids that every single play we are going to have to run to the football and play like you are on fire,” Greene said. “You watch them (the Titans) on field and they will start one way and cut back three or four times and the next thing you know they are in the end zone.”

That’s quite different from the approach Loyola uses on offense. The Flyers’ recent success – they’ve scored 118 points in the last three weeks – has come from a balance of running, passing and grind-it-out drives.

“They seem to pound people with power,” Kavanaugh said. “They pull that guard and go right up the middle and have had success with that. The scary part to me is the quarterback (Cooper DeFatta) with his run aspect. Any time you have a quarterback who can run, that adds an extra dimension. Their balance makes them very difficult to stop.”

In addition to throwing for 732 yards and five touchdowns this season, DeFatta is Loyola’s leading rusher with 484 yards and seven touchdowns.

In addition, the game carries postseason implications. Both are currently in the Top 10 in the Select-Division III power rankings. The top eight ranked teams will get a first-round bye. 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

North Caddo (6-2, 2-1) at Loyola (4-3, 3-0) 

Where: Messmer Stadium  

Series: Loyola 31-18-1 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: North Caddo beat Green Oaks 38-0; Loyola beat Lakeside 41-14 

Rankings: North Caddo No. 10 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll 

LHSAA power rankings: North Caddo is 7th; LCP is No. 10 in Select Division III 

Radio: North Caddo (KNCB 1320 AM, K104 FM) 

Notables: Haughton scored 71 points and lost to Benton last Friday night. The last time a team scored that many points and lost was when North Caddo lost to Lakeside during Week 10 of the 2013 season. 

Loyola has lost its last six games against ranked opponents, dating back to 2016 … The Flyers will come into the game with back-to-back games with more than 400 yards in total offense … Loyola has rushed for five touchdowns in a game three times this year, including the last two games … The Flyers have more wins against North Caddo (31) than any other opponent in school history … Senior defensive end Andrew DeFatta had two quarterback sacks last week and Grayson Hutchins picked off his third pass of the year.

D’Arbonne Woods (5-3, 1-2) vs. Green Oaks (2-6, 0-3) 

Where: Lee Hedges Stadium 

Series: First meeting 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: D’Arbonne Woods lost to Calvary 56-7; Green Oaks lost to North Caddo 38-0 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: D’Arbonne Woods is No. 16; Green Oaks ranks No. 18 Select Division III 

Radio: none 

Notables: The Giants, who have lost five straight games, were shut out for the first time last week when they fell 38-0 to North Caddo, No.8 in the LSWA Class 2A rankings … “Their athletes are every bit as good as advertised,” Green Oaks head coach Chadwick Lewis said of the Titans. “We have to get over the mental hump and learn how to rise to the occasion when playing good teams and players like North Caddo” … The good news from last week is the Giants were able to come out of the game “pretty injury-free” … “We were able to get a couple of guys back this week from injury, so another week of getting them back in a groove will definitely help,” said Lewis … The Green Oaks coach knows his offense will have to step up and help the defense against D’Arbonne Woods … “They want to run the ball and they do it well,” said Lewis. “Coach (Thomas) Tharp has always had a good rushing attack and this year is no different” … Despite the Giants’ losing streak, Lewis is proud of the fact that his players continue to fight. “Our boys never quit, so that is what I love about them,” he said. “As a team, we just have to keep pushing and keep grinding.”

Arcadia (5-3, 1-3) at Magnolia (1-7, 1-3) 

Where: Magnolia 

Series: Arcadia 2-0 

Last year: Arcadia 70-12 

Last week: Arcadia lost to Homer 43-6; Magnolia lost to Haynesville 48-6 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: Arcadia is No. 10 in Non-Select Division IV; Magnolia ranks No. 25 in Select Division IV 

Radio: none 

Notables: After notching their first victory of the season two weeks ago, the Mariners took a tumble last week as they fell to the No. 9 team in the LSWA Class 1A rankings … They trailed 41-0 and didn’t score until the final stages of the Week 8 loss to Haynesville (48-6) … “The game was not what we hoped,” said Magnolia head coach Toriano Williams, “but I was proud of how our kids bounced back after our player had the mild concussion” … The Mariners’ coach is hoping his players who were out due to illness will be back this week … “This week we play another good running team,” said Williams. “And we will have to do better on offense” … Arcadia is hoping to get back in the win column as the Hornets have lost back-to-back district games (47-18 to Haynesville and 43-6 to Homer) … Their district win came against Ringgold (36-0) in Week 6.


Northwood tries to avoid midfield problems against Knights

DYNAMIC DUO: Northwood backfield stars Mason Welch (left) and Quintavion White have led the Falcons to four straight wins. (File photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Red zone? Not a problem for the Northwood Falcons.

Backed up with bad field position? The Falcons have been able to overcome it.

But the area in the middle of the field, between the two 40-yard lines? Might as well call that the Black Zone. For some reason, that’s where bad things happen to the Falcons.

“We are almost 100 percent scoring in the red zone,” Northwood coach Austin Brown said. “That’s if we can get to the red zone. It seems like every single one of our penalties is between the 40s. We can get it out of the back end of the field and then when we get to the middle of the field, we slow down. For some reason, we have a mental block there.”

Or an illegal block. Or a holding call.

The Falcons, winners of four straight, will look to add to that streak when they take on Woodlawn tonight at Jerry Burton Stadium at 7 p.m.

Last week, Northwood beat Booker T. Washington 49-6 but Brown’s message to the team after the game was simple: “We’ve got to get better.”

His team will try to do that against a Woodlawn team that Brown said is “vastly improved” from a year ago when Northwood won 53-0.

“Last year when we played them Coach Thedrick (Harris) was just getting his program started,” Brown said. “They are not that team this year. They have a quarterback (Isaiah Kennedy) and a receiver that can fly. But you look at Thedrick and see his resume and know how good of a coach he is just by looking at what he’s done from last year to this year.”

Woodlawn is 3-5 and 2-3 in District 1-4A and the Knights still have a shot at a playoff berth.

Kennedy had three touchdown passes last week and a touchdown run. Running back Quintin Wilson had 162 yards on 24 carries in a win last week against Bossier, including 119 yards on just five carries in the first half.

The Falcons are led on offense by junior quarterback Mason Welch (1,453 passing yards) and senior running back Quintavion White (776 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns).

Northwood is 6-2 and 4-1 in the district with a showdown with district leader North DeSoto looming next week. Currently No. 9 in the Division 1 Select power rankings, the Falcons still have a shot at a first-round playoff bye.

“We’ve got so much in-house stuff to take care of,” Brown said. “We are not looking ahead to North DeSoto. We got our hands full right now.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

Woodlawn (3-5, 2-3) at Northwood (6-2, 4-1) 

Where: Jerry Burton Stadium 

Series: Northwood 17-8

Last year: Northwood 53-0 

Last week: Woodlawn beat Bossier 34-14; Northwood beat BTW 49-6  

Rankings: Northwood No. 7 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 poll 

LHSAA power rankings: Woodlawn No. 25; Northwood No. 9 in Select Division I 

Radio: Northwood (Miracle 89.1 FM) 

Notables: Woodlawn’s Quintin Wilson rushed for 119 yards on five carries in the first half of Woodlawn’s 34-14 District 1-4A win over Bossier last Friday. Wilson ended with 162 yards on 24 carries … Wilson was running the ball so hard that gear was coming off of him and players who tried to tackle him. In the second half, Wilson lost a shoe one play. On another player, a Bossier defender lost his helmet when he tried to tackle Wilson … Woodlawn defensive lineman Peter Johns had a big third down sack in the middle of the second quarter last Friday. Johns’ play caused Bossier to punt out of its own end zone and the punter threw a pass which was called intentional grounding. This resulted in a safety for the Woodlawn defense … Woodlawn’s Brandon Henderson has made a lot of big plays for the Knights this season. There is one play Henderson made that head coach Thedrick Harris wishes the sophomore had decided otherwise. Henderson intercepted a pass deep in Woodlawn territory which caused the Knights to start inside their own 10. 

Quarterback Mason Welch is about to move into the No. 2 spot on career passing yards for the Falcons … With wins in their final two games, the Falcons would be in great position for a bye in the first round of the Select-Division 1 playoffs … Northwood has one of the most balanced offenses in the city, averaging 190 yards rushing and 201 yards passing per game … Slot receiver Marc Denison had two touchdown receptions last week and is averaging 24.8 yards per catch … Tadarius Collins leads the team in tackles (50), tackles for loss (17) and quarterback sacks (8). 

North DeSoto (8-0, 5-0) at Bossier (0-8, 0-5) 

Where: Memorial Stadium 

Series: North DeSoto 4-2

Last year: did not play 

Last week: North DeSoto beat Huntington 48-6; Bossier lost to Woodlawn 34-14 

Rankings: North DeSoto is 8th in the  LSWA Class 4A Top 10 poll 

LHSAA power rankings: North DeSoto is 2nd and Bossier is No. 39 in Non-Select Division II

Radio: none

Notables: Bossier may be headed for its first winless season since 2014 and for only the second since 1981 … Christian Johnson’s 9-yard touchdown run gave the Bearkats a 6-0 lead after the first quarter of Friday’s game with Woodlawn. The Knights would score the next 28 points to forge ahead 28-6 in the third quarter before Bossier got on the board again. Latravion Christor hit San’tavion Ball for 35 yards for the Bearkats … The Bossier defense is giving up almost 40 points a game while the offense averages 14.3.

BTW (1-7, 1-4) at Minden (2-6, 1-4) 

Where: W.W. Williams Stadium (“The Pit”) 

Series: Minden 6-2 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: BTW lost to Northwood 49-6; Minden lost to Evangel 48-21 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: BTW is 32nd in Select Division II; Minden ranks 34th in Non-Select Division II 

Radio: Minden (KBEF 104.5 FM), www.kbef.com 

Notables: The Lions will be looking to improve their ability to stay on the field against Minden. BTW converted only 1 of 11 third downs last week … The Lions had only 10 yards passing and had two turnovers … BTW will close the season next week at home against Evangel.

Minden coach Spencer Heard is in his 10th season as the Tide head coach and is second on the all-time win list at Minden … a win will give him 60 in his career, three behind leader Elton Kelley. 

Plain Dealing (0-8) at Beekman Charter (5-3) 

Where: Bastrop 

Series: First meeting 

Last year: did not play 

Last week: Plain Dealing lost to Glenbrook 48-16; Beekman beat Ringgold 50-0 

Rankings: none 

LHSAA power rankings: Plain Dealing is No. 41 in Non-Select Division IV 

Radio: none 

Notables: Beekman Charter of Bastrop is on a two-game win streak and has won four of its last five … The Lions are averaging 39 points a game through eight games … Plain Dealing’s top score output came in a heartbreaking 36-34 home loss in overtime to Ringgold … The Lions have put up 28 points in their two most recent games … The Lions are scheduled to close out the regular season and district play at home against Arcadia next Friday.