Plain Dealing coach James Thurman got what he was looking for out of his Lions on Friday night.
No, the Lions didn’t win. Plain Dealing fell to a talented Jonesboro-Hodge team 50-6 in a District 1-1A game at Plain Dealing.
But the undermanned Lions gave Thurman an all-out effort for four quarters.
“The kids played hard,” Thurman said. “They never gave up. They gave everything they had and I’m very proud of them.
“They did what I asked them to do, to not give up. Don’t be down on each other and lift each other up and don’t allow a bad play take you out of your focus, and I think they did that. I was very pleased with them.”
That wasn’t the case a week ago. Thurman wasn’t pleased with the attitude of all his players in a 41-0 loss to Class 3A Green Oaks in Week 5. After the game, he basically told the Lions to make a 100 percent commitment to the team. If any of the players felt they couldn’t do that, then they need not be at practice the following Monday.
Seven players didn’t show up. But three of those simply missed practice and failed to inform Thurman beforehand. Thus they had to sit out Friday. The other four are no longer on the team.
The end result is Thurman had 17 players available to play against a Jonesboro-Hodge team that had played perennial power Haynesville close the week before, including a seventh- and eighth-grader. And during the game, one rolled an ankle.
“There at the end we had five bodies on the sideline every time the ball was in play,” Thurman said.
The good news is Thurman expects to have four players back Monday, the three that missed practice and another who has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in an earlier game.
Against Jonesboro-Hodge the Lions didn’t have their starting fullback because of a knee injury. The backup fullback had been moved to the offensive line. That affected the game plan. Thurman and his staff decided to utilize the shotgun formation and throw the ball.
The Lions had a promising opening drive, advancing inside the Tigers 20 thanks to a long pass completion by Artavious Washington-Carper. But a penalty and bad snap ended the threat.
Plain Dealing’s lone touchdown was scored by freshman Teddrick Lampkin, who returned a fumble.
The Lions dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in district. Jonesboro-Hodge improved to 3-3 and 2-1.
Plain Dealing visits Arcadia on Friday. The Hornets (1-4, 1-2) defeated Ringgold 42-8 Friday night.
Plain Dealing has been dealing with a numbers problem for several years. Thurman is naturally concerned with the current situation and how it will play out over the final four weeks of the rest of the season.
To play safe and competitive football, you obviously have to have a certain number of players available.
“In the back of my mind you get to the point where it becomes a safety issue,” Thurman said. “We’ve got some young kids. We had 17 kids start the game and that was with two junior high kids, one being a seventh-grader. Anytime, especially with kids having to go both ways and never come off the field, fatigue becomes an issue. It kind of increases your injury risk.”
Thurman pointed out that if several players were injured in a game or even in practice, it would be something difficult to overcome.
“I don’t see us getting bigger (numbers-wise),” Thurman said. “But you can always get smaller.”
But Thurman and the Lions are by no means thinking about throwing in the towel.
“We’ve still got a lot of football to play,” he said. “Four weeks, four-game stretch, anything can happen … We aren’t going around the halls begging people to come out. That’s not something we’re going to do. We’re going to play with the ones that want to be there.”
North DeSoto 45, Bossier 6: The Bossier Bearkats fell to the North DeSoto Griffins in a District 1-4A game on homecoming night Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Bossier dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in district. North DeSoto, ranked No. 8 in the LSWA Class 4A poll, improved to 5-1 and 2-1.
Daniel Moore returned a kickoff 90 yards for Bossier’s lone TD early in the game. It was all North DeSoto after that. The Griffins led 38-6 at the half.
Michael Green led Bossier with 64 yards rushing on 17 carries.
The Bearkats visit Booker T. Washington on Friday. The Lions (0-6, 0-3) lost to Huntington 24-16 Friday night.