All a Bossier Parish high school football team had to do to win a season-opening game Friday night was score more than 45 points.
Three teams met that requirement. Airline blanked Bossier High 46-0, Haughton beat Woodlawn 49-8 and Parkway beat Calvary Baptist 55-13.
The other three lost their season openers, scoring less than 45 points. Benton scored 31 points in a 34-31 loss to Sterlington, Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing) dropped a 49-18 decision to Green Oaks and Bossier High was shut out by Airline.
It was business as usual for Airline, which hasn’t lost to the Bearkats since 1996. But this was the first time the Vikings have scored 46 points against Bossier High.
Airline was only a few years old when the 1967 Vikings, coached by Jack Gray, won the state championship with a 20-7 upset victory over Holy Cross (New Orleans).
Eric Kilpatrick returned the opening kickoff of that game 80 yards for a quick touchdown that put the Vikings ahead to stay in that game, which was played at Shreveport’s State Fair Stadium (now Independence Stadium).
The 1967 Vikings had only one starter in the defensive line who weighed more than 170 pounds.
Kilpatrick, who ran the 100-yard dash in 9.8 seconds, had 1,187 yards rushing for the 1967 state champs. Quarterback Johnny Piazza set a school record by passing for 1,308 yards and 13 touchdowns, but he completed only six passes in his last three playoff games.
The 1967 Vikings played No. 1-ranked LaGrange in the opening round of state playoffs. The final score was 7-7, with Airline advancing on first downs, 11-9.
The championship game matched the No. 7-ranked Vikings against No. 2-ranked Holy Cross. The New Orleans team’s only touchdown was gift-wrapped, coming after a shanked punt gave Holy Cross the ball at Airline’s 19-yard line.
The game wasn’t really as close as the score indicated. Airline more than doubled the New Orleans team in rushing yardage, 121 to 59, and held Holy Cross’ Kenny Hrappman, the state 3A scoring champion, to 51 yards rushing.
The Airline defense was quicker than all of its opponents in the 1967 playoffs. That unit consisted of ends Ken Patterson and Kirk Matthews, tackles Robert Lowe and Lee Reece, guard Rod Coleman, linebackers Barry Morgan and James “Chubby” Knight, cornerbacks Scott Stewart and Cary
Santoro, and deep backs Mike Timms and Ken Chaffin.
Woodlawn (Shreveport) quarterback Joe Ferguson was selected “Outstanding Back” on the Class 3A All-State team in 1967. Kilpatrick was the only Airline player on the All-State team. 8 more lines.
Ferguson set national records in 1968, passing for 3.239 yards and 40 touchdowns, and went on to college stardom at the University of Arkansas and a pro football career. In his three years as the Woodlawn High quarterback, the Knights were 34-4. His career totals of 6,710 yards passing and 86 touchdown passes were also national records.
Ferguson’s passing accounted for 70 percent of Woodlawn’s offensive yardage in the last two years of his high school career. In his last 24 games, he threw at least two touchdown passes in 23 of them and one in the other. In those 24 games, Captain Shreve was the only team that held him under 150 yards passing. “It was like taking candy from a baby,” a Woodlawn receiver recalled.
Jerry Byrd is the former sports editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune and an award-winning columnist. You can contact him by E-mail at email@example.com