Friday Night Mix: Plain Dealing coach keeping opener at Haughton in perspective

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The goal in any athletic contest, of course, is top come out on top on the scoreboard.
But if that doesn’t happen in Friday night’s season opener against the Class 5A Haughton Buccaneers at Haughton, Plain Dealing coach James Thurman won’t be too upset.
Thurman and his players are well aware that very few Class 1A teams can hang with a Class 5A team.
“It comes to a point when you actually have to be honest with yourself,” Thurman said. “Obviously, you always want to win, but you have to have your realistic priorities.”
Last season, the Lions drove 80 yards for a touchdown on the first drive of the game against Haughton.
That got the Bucs attention, and Haughton went on to win 42-16.
“First and foremost we want to keep healthy, go in and get some looks at some guys against some strong competition,” Thurman said.
“I kind of look at this like an extra jamboree, so to speak. It’ll prepare us moving forward. If we come out of there injury-free and see some good things on film, then that’s a win for us — no matter what the score is.”
Plain Dealing is coming off a 3-7 season in Thurman’s first year as head coach. The Lions were hurt by injuries last season and ended the season with 16 players. Three eighth-graders started. Plain Dealing will go into the season opener with about 30 players.
Among those is senior Keldrick Carper, one of the state’s best players. Carper, a Texas A&M signee, was a first-team Class 1A All-State selection at wide receiver last season. But he also played quarterback, running back and defensive back and will likely see action at multiple positions this season. Last year, he accounted for 1,774 total yards.
If Plain Dealing is to be successful, though, Carper will need some help. Running backs/receivers Derreon Washington, Shavolyea McKinney and Meiko Ford are among those expected to provide that help.
Thurman also expects quarterback Matt Sullivan, who passed for 939 yards last season as a sophomore, to be much-improved.

Schedule

Sept. 2 @Haughton 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 Lakeside 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 St. Mary’s (NSU)7 p.m.
Sept. 23 Homer 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 @Haynesville 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 @Grambling 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 @Ringgold 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 Cedar Creek 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 D’Arbonne Woods 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 @Arcadia 7 p.m.

NOTE: Friday Night Mix is a special insert in The Bossier Press-Tribune that will run weekly during the football season. It will feature information on all six Bossier Parish teams. In the future, a PDF version of the Mix will be posted online by Thursdays.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com