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Russell Hedges


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The Bossier Bearkats gave it all they had but it wasn’t enough against a talented Northwood Falcons team Thursday at Jerry Burton Memorial Stadium.

Bossier dropped to 0-3 with the 55-7 loss. Northwood improved to 2-1.

Thanks mainly to turnovers and big plays, the Falcons built a 34-0 by the end of the first quarter and extended it to 48-0 at the half.

Northwood scored on three of its first four offensive plays. Falcons running back Danny Delaney scored four TDs in the first half. Northwood quarterback Aaron Varelas, last year’s District 1-4A MVP, tossed two touchdown passes to Marquez Stevenson. Jay Hudson got in on the act with a 73-yard touchdown run.

On several of the touchdowns, it looked like Bossier defenders were in position to make the tackle. But Stevenson and Delaney both used their athletic ability to avoid them. On others, the Falcons simply went untouched.

Bossier turned the ball over five times in the first half. After one lost fumble at their own 17, the Bearkats did a nice job of stopping the Falcons. Brandon Simpson had a tackle for a loss. But on the following play, Northwood made an interception

Bossier running back Brandon Harris, who rushed for more than 100 yards last week against Huntington, suffered an injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. Starting running back Avery Jones was also injured.

Sophomore Rodney Nelson filled in and made a couple of nice runs. Aaeron Smallwood and Isaiah McKinsey also made some tough yards.

Bossier avoided the shutout when Smallwood caught a touchdown pass from Keimun Daniels in the fourth quarter.

Things don’t get any easier for Bossier next week as the Bearkats host defending Class 3A state champion Union Parish.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Parkway swept the Calvary Cross Country Invitational last Saturday.

The Panthers scored 19 points to runner-up Cedar Creek’s 66 in the boys’ division. The results were identical in the girls’ division.

Parkway’s Hayden Kingfisher and Sara Funderburk swept the individual titles.

Kingfisher covered the course in 15 minutes, 25 seconds. Brandon Lewis-Graham of Captain Shreve finished second in 16:01. Northwood’s Dylan Oliver was third in 16:07.

Courtesy Photo Parkway's Hayden Kingfisher and Sara Funderburk swept the individual titles in the Calvary Cross Country meet last Saturday.

Courtesy Photo
Parkway’s Hayden Kingfisher and Sara Funderburk swept the individual titles in the Calvary Cross Country meet last Saturday.

In addition to Kingfisher, Parkway placed five runners in the top 10 — Jacob Hammons (fourth, 16:11), Nathan Poovey (fifth, 16:39), Prynceton Fant (eighth, 17:04), Cole Billiot (ninth, 17:07) and David Morgan (10th, 17:12).

Funderburk won with a time of 18:43. Samantha Hilburn of Captain Shreve finished second in 19:26.

Parkway’s Cassidy Cummings was third in 20:35, Celeste Cordova fourth in 20:49, Mackenzie Langen fifth in 21:02, Rylie McConnell sixth in 21:03 and Morgan Ersoff eighth in 21:37.

Parkway is the defending Class 5A girls cross country state champion.

Parkway’s next meet for the top 10 boys’ and girls’ runners is at Mississippi College on Sept. 28. Other Parkway athletes will run in the Byrd meet.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Last week, I predicted on Twitter that the Parkway Panthers would come back strong after their season-opening loss to Calvary Baptist.
Turned out I was right about that. The Panthers rolled to a 45-21 victory over the Marshall Mavericks in the Landers Battle of the Border Saturday at Independence Stadium.
This Friday, I’m looking for the same from the Airline Vikings when they host the Franklin Parish Patriots in their homecoming game.
Airline suffered as tough a loss as they come last Friday, 12-7, against Ruston, Vikings coach Bo Meeks alma mater. Airline looked like the better team most of the game. The defense couldn’t have played much better.
But when they had the chance to put the Bearcats in a big hole in the first half, the Vikings couldn’t do it. Three drives inside the Ruston 30, including one that reached the 10, ended in no points.
Quarterback is one of the toughest positions to play at any level of football. It’s especially tough in the spread offenses used by many teams, including Airline, these days.
And if you’re a sophomore starting your second game, it’s a huge challenge. No doubt Airline sophomore quarterback Noah Hildebrand had a rough game against Ruston with five interceptions, including a Pick Six that gave the Bearcats the lead in the fourth quarter.
But he made some good decisions, too, like throwing the ball out of bounds at times rolling out under heavy pressure. He also completed a swing pass to Shuncee Thomas that set up the Vikings’ lone TD and made a nice, scrambling run in the first half.
Hildebrand needs only to look at Parkway quarterback Keondre Wudtee to see how things can change from one week to the next.
Wudtee threw four interceptions, including a Pick Six, and lost two fumbles in the loss to Calvary. On Saturday, he threw another Pick Six early against Marshall. But he finished 15 of 18 for 289 yards and a touchdown. He also scored two TDs on short runs.
Wudtee and the Panthers will look to keep it going Friday when they host Arkansas High. This will be the teams’ first meeting. They were scheduled to play last year in Texarkana, but the game was cancelled because of heavy rain.
Arkansas High hasn’t enjoyed a lot of success in recent years, but the Razorbacks are off to a 2-0 start that includes their first win over rival Texas High in 13 years in the season opener.
I just don’t see the Razorbacks slowing down Parkway’s offense very much, though.
Elsewhere Friday, the Haughton Buccaneers (2-0) host the Minden Crimson Tide (1-1) and the Plain Dealing Lions (2-0) host the Benton Tigers (1-1). On Thursday, Bossier (0-2) travels to Northwood’s Jerry Burton Memorial Stadium to face the Falcons (1-1).
Haughton coach Rodney Guin wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance on offense in last week’s 22-2 win over Benton. Louisiana Tech commit Javonte Woodard had a big day, though, with eight catches for 170 yards and two TDs.
Guin couldn’t have been more pleased with the play of his defense. That defense could get a big test against Minden, which has shown the ability to run the ball. The Tide piled up 52 points in a win over Bolton last week.
I expect the Bucs offense to be better this week and for Haughton to go to 3-0.
The Plain Dealing-Benton matchup is an interesting one. Realistically, no Class 1A team, with the exception of Haynesville and maybe a few others, should be able to hang with a quality Class 4A team.
But Plain Dealing may not be your ordinary Class 1A team this season. The Lions have already avenged their two losses to open the season last year and have some skill-position players that could play for anybody.
You can bet Benton coach Reynolds Moore and the Tigers won’t be taking the Lions lightly. The teams are pretty familiar with each other having played 7-on-7 games almost every week during the summer.
The Benton defense will easily be the toughest Plain Dealing has faced this season. The Tigers offense will be looking to make a statement after a disappointing performance against Haughton.
Benton will have few if any players playing offense and defense. As usual, Plain Dealing will have a lot. The Lions could use another cool night like last Friday. If they can get off to a good start and their conditioning holds up in the second half, it just might still be a ball game in the fourth quarter.
Bossier made marked improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. If not for a couple of turnovers, the Bearkats would’ve beaten Huntington. They outplayed the Raiders after Huntington took a 12-0 lead in the first two minutes.
But the Bearkats are taking a big step up in competition against Northwood, which has big-play potential on offense. Bossier will need to sustain some drives, run clock and have no turnovers to stay in the game and have a chance to pull off a big upset.

Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Thursday’s game

Bossier vs. Northwood
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Northwood
RECORDS: Bossier 0-2, Northwood 1-1
LAST WEEK: Bossier lost to Huntington 26-14, Northwood lost to Captain Shreve 24-19
LAST YEAR: Northwood won 62-6
BOSSIER NOTES: Bearkats showed improvement last week, had chance to win in fourth quarter … Defense gave up two TDs early and then shut down the Raiders until late in the fourth … Brandon Harris and Isaiah McKinsey both ran well
NORTHWOOD NOTES: Falcons head coach is former Parkway head coach Jim Gatlin … Northwood led Shreve 19-10 in the fourth quarter … Marquez Stevenson returned a kickoff for a TD against Shreve
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bossier — FB/LB Isaiah McKinsey, RB/DB Brandon Harris, QB/DE Keimun Daniels. Northwood — QB Aaron Varelas, KR/R Marquez Stevenson, RB Deauton Delgado

Friday’s games

Arkansas High vs. Parkway
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Preston Crownover Stadium
RECORDS: Arkansas High 2-0, Parkway 1-1
LAST WEEK: Arkansas High def. Liberty-Eylau 16-13, Parkway def. Marshall 45-21
LAST YEAR: Did not play (game cancelled due to heavy rain)
ARKANSAS HIGH NOTES: Razorbacks defeated rival Texas High 20-14 in season opener … Arkansas High has had three straight losing seasons, including 4-6 last year
PARKWAY NOTES: Panthers rebounded strong from loss to Calvary in season opener … Defense gave up just two TDs to Marshall in meaningless second half … William McKnight scored four TDs last week … OL Kameron Eloph and RB Stacy McCray sat out the Marshall game with injuries
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Parkway — DL Kyle Still, DB Dante Williams, RB William McKnight

Benton vs. Plain Dealing
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Plain Dealing
RECORDS: Benton 1-1, Plain Dealing 2-0
LAST WEEK: Benton lost Haughton 22-2, Plain Dealing def. Lakeside 48-12
LAST YEAR: Benton won 39-12
BENTON NOTES: Tigers couldn’t get much going on offense against Haughton … Defense gave up three big plays for TDs, including an 86-yard run … Game was much more competitive than in years past
PLAIN DEALING NOTES: Logan Allen completed 16 of 31 passes for 317 yards and five TDs last week … Desean Morris rushed for 96 yards on 16 carries … Keldrick Carper and Isaac Jacobs both caught two TD passes
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Benton — LB Gage Carroway, QB Christian Smith, RB TJ Anderson. Plain Dealing — LB Bijan Mitchell, LB Herbert McCauley, FS/WR Isaac Jacobs

Franklin Parish vs. Airline
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Airline Stadium
RECORDS: Franklin Parish 1-1, Airline 1-1
LAST WEEK: Franklin Parish lost to West Feliciana 21-0, Airline lost to Ruston 12-7
LAST YEAR: Airline won 15-12
FRANKLIN PARISH NOTES: Franklin Parish opened the season with 25-14 win over ASH … Franklin Parish, located in Winnsboro, went 7-4 last season
AIRLINE NOTES: Vikings had chances to put Ruston away in first half and couldn’t do it …Defense shut Bearcats down almost entire game … RB Shuncee Thomas ran hard and scored Airline’s lone TD
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Franklin Parish — QB Wesley Cirilio, RB Brandon Hillman, RB Reginald Carter. Airline — RB Shuncee Thomas, DL Tyrice Neal, DL Charlie Matthews

Minden vs. Haughton
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Haughton
RECORDS: Minden 1-1, Haughton 2-0
LAST WEEK: Minden def. Bolton 52-33, Haughton def. Benton 22-2
LAST YEAR: Haughton won 34-7
MINDEN NOTES: QB Antonio Rivette passed for 147 yards and ran for 83 and three TDs against Bolton …. Kolby Jackson rushed for 99 yards and three TDs
HAUGHTON NOTES: Penalties, bad snaps and other mistakes hurt Bucs’ offense last week … Defense played outstanding, coach Rodney Guin said … Javonte Woodard had eight catches for 170 yards and two TDs against Benton
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Minden — RB Rodtravion Rogers, RB Kolby Jackson, QB Antonio Rivette. Haughton — QB Will Haines, LB JT Bledsoe, RB Kei’Untre Normandin

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The Cope Cougars, Elm Grove Eagles and Benton Tigers posted victories in the Bossier Parish Middle School Jamboree Tuesday evening at Preston Crownover Stadium.

The jamboree was for eighth-grade teams only. Each “game’ consisted of two 10-minute halves.

Cope defeated Haughton 14-0, Elm Grove downed Greenacres 20-6 and Benton got past Rusheon 6-0.

Adrian Brooks scored both of Cope’s touchdown on runs of six and seven yards. Brooks also scored a two-point conversion after his second touchdown. Daniel Turner also had some nice runs for the Cougars.

The Cope defense set up the Cougars’ first TD by recovering a fumble at the Haughton 1. That came after the Haughton defense kept Cope out of the end zone after the Cougars had a first down at the 11.

Haughton threatened late in the game when Landon Thompson hit Cael Haun with a long pass. But the Bucs fumbled the ball away on the next play.

Quarterback Amani Larry passed for two touchdowns and ran for one in Elm Grove’s victory.

Larry hit Jeffrey Melton with a short pass in the right flat and Melton broke loose for a 50-yard TD in the first half. Larry scored the conversion to make it 8-0.

Larry hit Steven Early for a nice gain to move the Eagles inside Greenacres territory on their next drive. He then ran about 25 yards to the 3 and followed that with a touchdown pass to Anthony Papason.

Larry raced 43 yards around the right end for the Eagles’ final touchdown of the game.

Greenacres got on the board late in the game on a Caden Jones touchdown pass. Jonathan Lacour had a couple of nice catches in the game.
The Benton-Rusheon game was mostly a defensive struggle. The Tigers finally got something going on offense in the second half. Bubba Osby made a nice run, and Brad Fream passed about 25 yards to Tre’ Wright to the 1-yard line. Fream scored on the next play.

Rusheon’s Jacoby Decker had a long TD run called back in the first half because of an illegal shift. Montrez Henderson and Daniel Moore were among the defensive standouts for the Rams.

Benton’s Johntavious Johnson had a big hit in the Rusheon backfield.

Several parish teams have already played non-district games. All teams begin the district schedule next Tuesday.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Benton Tigers picked up a pair of freshman and junior varsity football victories Monday. The freshman team defeated Plain Dealing 27-14 and the JV team downed Bossier 28-12.

Garrett Hable passed 12 yards to Brooks Cram and ran 13 yards for another score in the freshman victory. Doyle Adams Jr. raced 35 yards for a TD. Sidney Smith scored on a 4-yard run.

Carter Parks kicked three extra points.

Jonathan Thompson threw four touchdown passes in the JV victory, two each to John Westmoreland and Collin Milton. Westmoreland’s covered 12 and 35 yards, and Milton’s covered 30 and 40 yards.

Thompson also hit Westmoreland for a two-point conversion. Austin Dingus ran for a two-point conversion.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Haughton Buccaneers swept the Minden Crimson Tide in junior varsity and freshman games Monday, winning the JV game 7-6 and the freshman game 21-0.

In the JV game, Darius Brooks passed four yards to Hunter Nesbit for Haughton’s lone touchdown with 8.1 seconds left in the first half. Nico Broadway kicked what would be the deciding extra point.

In the fourth quarter, the Bucs stopped a Tide drive at the Haughton 3. Te’Marquise Winnfield recovered a fumble caused by Terrence Sweeney.

Minden got on the board with 4:11 left in the game, but a two-point conversion attempt failed. The Tide had a chance to win, but the Bucs stopped them on fourth down at the Haughton 19 with 30.9 seconds left in the game.

Winnfield and Darren Hicks recovered fumbles for the Bucs in the first half.

Lavonta Gipson scored touchdowns rushing and receiving in the freshman team’s victory. Cameron Townson tossed two touchdown passes, including one to Malcolm Hall.

Jalob Walker had an interception. Reid Roman, Sa’Darius Hamilton and Mario Cook forced fumbles.

Airline’s freshman and JV games against Northwood were cancelled. No other games were reported to The Press-Tribune.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Parkway Panthers rebounded from last week’s lost to Calvary Baptist with a 45-21 rout of the Marshall, Texas, Mavericks Saturday in the Landers Battle on the Border at Independence Stadium.

After turning the ball over seven times against Calvary, the Panthers turned it over only twice against Marshall. The last one was a meaningless fumble late in the game.

One the other one, Marshall’s Malon Mitchell made a nice play on a screen pass, intercepting the ball and returning it for a touchdown to give the Mavericks a short-lived 7-6 lead in the first quarter.

The game was basically over at halftime as Parkway built a 33-7 lead. The Panthers improved to 1-1, and the Mavericks dropped to 2-1.

mcknight“We’re very happy with the effort and the outcome,” Parkway coach David Feaster said. “We felt like Marshall’s a good football team. The one thing I asked the players was to really be physical and be tough this game because i felt like Marshall had a size advantage on us and I thought they played usually pretty physical and our players responded to that very well.

“The defense was very physical and the offense was, too. We had some knockdown blocks and we had (William) “Boo” McKnight running over people, running the football. A lot of times we get caught up in the finesse of the game. We think we’ve got a great passing game and a finesse running game and all that other stuff. But it’s nice too when we can kind of play smashmouth, and really it’s important for our defense to play like that.”

Parkway junior quarterback Keondre Wudtee, who was responsible for six turnovers against Calvary, scored on two 1-yard runs and and threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to William McKnight. Wudtee completed 15 of 18 passes for 289 yards.

“The Calvary loss was tough on all of us but if you go back and look at the film, Wudtee really made some great plays against Calvary,” Feaster said. “He showed what he’s capable of in that game as well as today. I still don’t think yet you’ve seen how good we’re capable of being as far as being able to move the ball down the field and all that but we’re getting pretty close.”

morganblackMcKnight had a huge game, scoring four touchdowns. He rushed seven times for 79 yards and caught three passes for 91 yards. McKnight’s scoring runs covered 25, 28 and 5 yards. One the first one, he broke several tackles while still managing to tightrope down the sidelines.

Parkway receiver Jared Lancaster also had a big game, catching seven passes for 129 yards.

The Panthers rolled up 252 yards on the ground. Demetrius McAtee, who scored on an 11-yard run, gained 66 yards on seven carries. Robert McKnight had just one carry but it went for 51 yards. Wudtee rushed for 34 yards and Maleck Zeidan 27.

Except for a few lapses in the meaningless second half, the Parkway defense played well.

CJ Morgan went high to intercept a pass to stop a Marshall threat. Lineman Kyle Still got a sack on fourth down. Defensive back Hunter Huckaby was in on 16 tackles and Still was in on 10. Juwon Johnson was in on nine,. Morgan, Dante Williams and Ryan Black were all in on eight tackles, and Lloyd Cole was in on seven.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Despite a strong defensive performance, the Airline Vikings dropped a 12-7 decision to the Ruston Bearcats Friday night at Airline Stadium.

Both teams are 1-1. The game was played in chilly conditions with a strong wind blowing from the north. It started raining midway through the fourth quarter.

Airline’s Shuncee Thomas scored on 3-yard run with 2:45 left in the second quarter. Thomas set up the touchdown with a 28-yard reception on a swing pass from sophomore quarterback Noah Hildebrand.

Nathan Naranjo’s PAT made it 7-0 and the Vikings kept the lead until midway through the fourth quarter.

The Vikings defense kept Ruston without a first down in the first quarter. The Bearcats fared a little better in the second, but their best threat ended when the Vikings forced a fumble and recovered it at the 10 with 11 seconds left in the half.

Airline’s lead could’ve been much bigger at the half. Taking advantage of great field position, the Vikings moved inside the Ruston 30 three times but came away empty each time.

On Airline’s first possession, Hildebrand hit Darian Germany for a first down on third-and-7. Later, Thomas ran for a first down on fourth-and-2. But the drive ended with an interception.

Airline moved to the Ruston 26 on a Thomas run and a pass to D’Juan Byrd. But the Vikings couldn’t pick up a first down on fourth-and-1.

Airline started another first-half drive at the Ruston 37. A nifty run by Hildebrand set the Vikings up with a first down at the 10. But on third-and-12, the Bearcats intercepted a pass at the 3.

In the third quarter, Airline had another chance to add to the lead. But Thomas was stopped short on a fourth-and-1 from the Ruston 27.

Ruston finally got its running game going well enough in the fourth quarter to put together a touchdown drive. The Bearcats scored on a run on third-and-goal from the 3. The extra-point attempt sailed wide left and Airline still led 7-6 with 8:07 left in the game.

But on the first play after the kickoff, Ruston’s Jekelvin Carter returned an interception 36 yards for a TD. The try for two failed and the Bearcats led 12-7 with 7:48 left.

Ruston picked off its fourth pass of the night on Airline’s next possession and returned it to the 3. The Bearcats had a touchdown nullified because of a penalty and eventually missed a field goal as the Vikings defense came through again.

Carter then picked off another pass and appeared headed for his second TD. But he fumbled celebrating before he crossed the goalline and Airline got the ball back.

The Vikings moved to midfield but Hildebrand was sacked on fourth-and-10.

Airline hosts Franklin Parish (1-1), a 21-0 loser to West Feliciana, this Friday.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com