At the halfway point of the regular season, it looks like five of the six Bossier Parish high school football teams are on track to make the playoffs.
Benton (5-0, 2-0) is the only team without a loss. The Tigers visit Minden (5-0, 2-0) for a big District 1-4A contest Friday.
Benton won 41-34 last year on a fumble return in the final minute and went on to capture the district championship. Minden finished runner-up.
Three teams are 4-1 — Parkway, Airline and Haughton.
The Panthers (1-1 1-5A) face Captain Shreve (4-1, 1-1) Thursday night at Lee Hedges Stadium.
The Vikings (2-0 1-5A) host Mansfield (1-4) in a non-district game Friday. The Buccaneers (1-0 1-5A) host Byrd (0-5, 0-2).
Bossier (2-3, 0-2) hosts Northwood (2-3, 1-1) in District 1-4A action.
Plain Dealing (3-2, 1-1) visits Lincoln Prep (1-4, 0-2) in a District 1-1A contest.
Here is a look at how parish teams have fared through the first half of the regular season.
Airline: The Vikings handed Captain Shreve their first loss, 21-0, last week.
Airline easily could be undefeated. The Vikings’ lone loss was to Ruston, 29-19 in Week 3, but they led with less than two minutes to play.
The defense has been outstanding, allowing only three touchdowns. Last week, Shreve didn’t even reach the 100-yard total yard mark.
Despite some key injuries, the young offense has continued to improve. Cameron Davis has done a very good job filling in for injured running back Brian Fielding.
Airline’s toughest games are ahead. The defense should be able to keep the Vikings in every game. If the offense continues to improve, Airline will a have say in who wins the district title.
Parkway: Parkway’s lone loss was to Evangel 45-8 in Week 4. But the Panthers bounced back nicely last week, defeating Byrd 40-16.
It was their fourth win over the Yellow Jackets in the last five years.
Parkway’s “big three” of quarterback Justin Rogers, running back Robert McKnight and wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. all returned to form.
The defense didn’t allow a touchdown against Byrd after a rough outing against Evangel.
Parkway still looks like a team that is capable of making a deep playoff run.
Haughton: The Bucs crushed Southwood 38-0 in their District 1-5A opener last week.
Their only loss was to undefeated Minden 23-20, a game they led in the fourth quarter.
Like Airline, Haughton’s toughest games are still ahead. But first-year coach Jason Brotherton definitely has the Bucs headed in the right direction.
Haughton is capable of pulling off some upsets and could be in the thick of the 1-5A race.
Benton: The Tigers have been very, very impressive.
No more so than last week, when they knocked off North DeSoto 28-7 in Stonewall.
The Tigers almost completely shut down a Griffins team averaging 38.8 points per game.
The defense held Delmonte Hall, the state’s leading scorer, to less than 100 yards rushing.
Quarterback Garrett Hable, receiver John Westmoreland and running back Jermaine Newton all had big games.
Friday’s showdown against Minden could very well decide the district championship again.
The game is a tossup, but with the way the Tigers are playing another Benton victory won’t be surprising.
Bossier: The Bearkats are still looking for their first District 1-4A victory since moving up from Class 3A in 2015.
They came close last week, battling Woodlawn toe-to-toe before falling 24-20.
Bossier may not make the playoffs, but I suspect the Bearkats will get that first 1-4A victory.
It may even come this week against Northwood.
Plain Dealing: The Lions’ losses have come against Class 5A Haughton and Class 1A powerhouse Haynesville.
The Tors defeated the Lions 40-8 last week, but they by means embarrassed coach James Thurman’s team.
The score was just 19-8 at the half.
It appears that Plain Dealing has avoided key injuries. If that continues to be the case, I fully expect the Lions to make a run at District 1-1A runner-up.
Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org