Week One of the high school football season is in the books, and it was a pretty good one for Bossier Parish schools. It came very close to being a great one, though.
Four teams won their openers, and it could’ve easily been a clean sweep.
The Airline Vikings and Benton Tigers both lost heartbreakers on the road. Each rallied late in the fourth quarter to take the lead only to see their opponents come back and win.
Airline fell to Union Parish 30-27 in Farmerville and Benton lost to Wossman 37-34 in Monroe.
In the other openers, the Haughton Buccaneers defeated Minden 35-21 in Minden, the Parkway Panthers routed Booker T. Washington 43-0 at home, the Bossier Bearkats rolled past Madison 47-20 in the first game on their new artificial turf field, and the Plain Dealing Lions whipped Tensas 36-6 in Plain Dealing.
Airline and Benton will look to rebound in home openers Friday night. The Vikings host Bastrop (1-0) and the Tigers face Alexandria Senior High (1-0).
Elsewhere Friday, Haughton hosts BTW, Bossier visits North Caddo (0-1) and Plain Dealing hosts Bolton (0-1).
— Airline coach Bo Meeks lamented his team’s missed opportunities against Union Parish, especially early in the game.
“We had the ball inside their 20 two or three times in the first quarter off turnovers and just squandered opportunities,” he said. “Just mistakes that we’ve got to fix offensively and we did as the game went on. We continued to get better and score points.”
The Vikings took a 27-23 lead with just over two minutes left on Brad Fream’s 30-yard pass to Daniel Smith. The Fightin’ Farmers scored the game-winner with 33 seconds left.
Meeks believes his team will come back strong against Bastrop, which defeated George Washington Carver 20-19 in its opener.
“I think it’s frustrating to have so many missed opportunities, but we’re returning only seven guys so there’s a huge learning curve,” he said. “I don’t think it’s changed my outlook. If we can continue to correct mistakes we’ve got a chance to be a real good football team as the year goes on, but we can’t make the same number of mistakes we made (Friday) night.
“Overall I was pleased with a lot of things we did and the promise that we showed. But promise isn’t enough. We’ve got to make the plays when it counts in crucial situations on Friday night.”
Bastrop rushed for 208 yards and passed for 120 in its win over Carver. Cartavious Allen gained 94 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins ran for 77 yards and completed eight of 20 passes.
— Cameron Barnett scored on a 14-yard run with about eight minutes left to give Benton the 34-29 lead against Wossman. The Wildcats scored the go-ahead TD with just over a minute left.
The Tigers led 28-8 in the second quarter, but Wossman got some momentum with a late first-half TD following a turnover.
Reynolds Moore said the game was one of the most frustrating he’s been a part of in his five-plus years as head coach at Benton.
“There’s nothing that you can really point to, one or two things, and say we didn’t do this,” he said Sunday afternoon. “Literally in the second half you’re watching and you’re saying this is not really happening right now, is it? Just kind of like almost this helpless feeling, you know.”
Like Meeks, Moore said the Tigers missed several opportunities to take command of the game.
Benton has had to replace a slew of key contributors from last season’s undefeated team.
The Tigers will be tested by an ASH team that recorded seven sacks in a 15-14 victory over Ferriday last week.
Moore hopes last week’s loss will go down as a learning experience.
“That’s the biggest thing is at this point with what we saw Friday — and I know this sounds really, really stupid I’m sure — but we can’t even worry about winning and losing right now,” he said.
“We’ve got to worry about executing and doing the things we need to do, those little things that we didn’t do this past week. And I think if we do those things we don’t have to worry about winning and losing because it takes care of itself.”
ASH quarterback Jadarius “Bud” Clark rushed for 102 yards in the victory over Ferriday. ASH scored the go-ahead TD and PAT late in the fourth quarter. ASH’s head coach is former Evangel Christian standout Thomas Bachman.
— Haughton pulled away in the second half to defeat Minden. The game was tied 14-14 after the Tide returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown.
But Matthew Whitten made a leaping catch on a flea flicker pass from receiver CJ McWilliams for a 36-yard gain. Sophomore quarterback Peyton Stovall then hit McWilliams for a TD to give the Bucs the lead for good.
Haughton quickly scored two more touchdowns on runs by Tristan Sweeney and Keyshawn Davis to extend the lead to 35-14.
The Haughton defense came up with some big plays. Dylan Frazier returned a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown to give the Bucs a 14-0 lead. Gavin Roe forced the fumble on sack.
Logan Wilkerson set up a second-half TD with a 70-yard interception return. The Bucs also recovered a fumble right after losing one with the score still tied at 14.
A blocked punt set up another touchdown.
“When we were struggling on offense, our defense got stop after stop after stop,” Haughton coach Jason Brotherton said.
Brotherton said the Bucs made too many mistakes, including four holding penalties in the first half.
“We got a lot of penalties,” he said. “Just kind of shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. Those are things we’ve got to get cleaned up if we’re going to have any success this year, but our defense played a lot better.”
Davis led the Bucs with 113 yards rushing in his first start.
— Haughton will be a heavy favorite against BTW, which couldn’t do much against Parkway.
The Panthers held the Lions to 124 total yards and led 43-0 at the half.
Sophomore Brady Norcross returned two punts for TDs. On the first one, he smartly picked up a shanked kick near the Parkway bench and raced 66 yards down the sideline. A holder on extra points, Norcross also picked up a bad snap and passed to Alec Crain for a two-point conversion.
Senior quarterback Amani Larry ran for one TD and hit Chase Turner for another. Alijah Barnett scored on a short run after setting up the TD with a 34-yard scamper. Jamall Asberry rushed for a 66 yards. Peyton Lewis also had a TD run.
“We were probably a little bit too much for them tonight just physically, the numbers we have,” Parkway coach Neil May said. “But we did exactly what we wanted to do.
“We had a great week of practice. Our kids, I’m trying to get the point across to them that it doesn’t really matter who we’re playing we need to take care of ourselves … for this week and the future weeks when it gets tougher.”
The Panthers have the week off before hosting Arkansas power Pulaski Academy.
— Bossier ended an eight-game losing streak dating back to the third game of last season.
The Bearkats’ first two TDs came on kickoff returns by Daniel Moore and Rico St. Fluer.
Bossier led 28-0 at the half and 47-6 in the fourth quarter.
Deondre Summage, Sentavion Burns and Moore all has rushing TDs. Roderick Francis set up a second-half TD with a 46-yard run. Michael Green scored the final two touchdowns.
Bossier has a very good chance to improve to 2-0 Friday against North Caddo, which fell to Northwood 49-0 in its opener.
But coach Michael Concilio said there will have to be improvement in some areas.
“A win is a win,” he said. “We’ll take it any way we can get it. It was a sloppy performance for us. Lot of penalties. We had some sloppy issues offensively I’m not really happy with. Like I told the guys. We won the football game. We’ve just got some things we’re going to need to work on. I hope we can somehow get this cleaned up before we get to next Friday.”
— Plain Dealing broke a seven-game losing streak dating back to the fourth game of last season with the win over Tensas.
The Lions dominated up front on both sides of the ball. Senior quarterback Artavious Washington-Carper tossed two TD passes to Ladarious O’Neal and ran for a score.
Ladavious Scott also scored a rushing TD. Offensive lineman RJ Bragg picked up a fumble near the goalline and took it into the end zone.
TJ McCauley had a very good game, rushing for 90 yards and scoring two two-point conversions. Freshman Ar’davious Washington-Carper has two interceptions.
“I’m very, very proud of the kids,” Plain Dealing coach James Thurman said. “We were able to come out in the shotgun, throw the ball a little bit and run the ball a little bit. We were just trying to be a little more versatile.”
The Lions take a bit of a step up in competition when they host Class 3A Bolton, which fell to Holy Savior Menard 45-0. But Plain Dealing defeated the Bears 39-15 last season on the road, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Lions go to 2-0.
Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org