Haughton-Parkway tops Week 9 slate

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As the season has progressed, this column has been more about what’s ahead than a look back.
Before before we look ahead to this week’s games, it’s worth looking back at a couple from last week.
The Byrd-Parkway game Thursday night at Lee Hedges Stadium and the Benton-Minden game Friday in Benton were, simply put, high school football at its best.
Both games went into overtime.
The two Bossier Parish teams lost but have nothing to be ashamed of. They left everything on the field.
Parkway lost to Byrd, a school almost twice as big in terms of student body, 24-17, and Benton fell to Minden 25-24.
The Parkway-Byrd game was two Class 5A heavyweights slugging it out. Each team’s offense had its moments, but the defenses held sway.
Last week in this column I said the game was a toss-up. I was right about that but wrong about something else.
I said the likely winner would be the team that was best able to slow down the other team’s high-scoring offense. Both teams did that.
After falling behind by one, the Panthers rallied and took the lead late in the game. But Byrd tied it with a long pass in the final minute and stayed undefeated.
Benton suffered its first District 1-4A loss in devastating fashion.
After tying the game in overtime, Minden went for two. The Tide’s Tavarius Edwards made a spectacular diving catch in the left front corner of the end zone for the victory.
Playing his second full game, Benton freshman quarterback Garrett Hable threw a couple of untimely interceptions, including one late in the game when it looked like the Tigers were going to pull it out in regulation.
But he also showed poise and ran the offense well for the most part. It’s rare for a freshman to start at quarterback at any level of high school football, much less Class 4A.
Minden, coached by former Parkway assistant Spencer Heard, deserves credit for the win. The Tide made the plays when they had to.
OK, on to this week’s games.
The big one will take place at Preston Crownover Stadium Thursday where Parkway (6-2, 2-1 1-5A) will face its second straight undefeated team, the Haughton Bucs (8-0, 3-0).
It will be interesting to see how the Panthers bounce back from the Byrd loss.
Haughton had its running game in high gear in its 38-17 win over Captain Shreve last week with three players going over 100 yards — quarterback Will Haines and running backs D’Kovin Ware and Kei’Untre Normandin.
Many of the best athletes in Bossier Parish will be on the field.
The Haughton defense will face its toughest test of the year trying to stop quarterback Keondre Wudtee and company.
Like the Byrd-Parkway game, I think this one is a toss-up.
In another Thursday game, Benton (6-2, 4-1) visits defending 1-4A champion Northwood (3-5, 1-4). It’s been a tough season for Coach Jim Gatlin’s Falcons. A lot of that has to do with injuries. Quarterback Aaron Varelas, the district MVP last season, is out with a knee injury.
The Falcons still have some playmakers, but I expect the Tigers to bounce back in a big way from the Minden loss.
In Friday games, Airline (3-5, 1-2 1-5A) visits Captain Shreve (3-5, 0-3), Plain Dealing (7-1, 3-0 1-1A) hosts Arcadia (2-6, 2-1) and Bossier (0-8, 0-3 1-3A) visits Mansfield (4-4, 2-1).
Airline is a big favorite over Shreve. If the Vikings win and beat Parkway in the regular-season finale, they could be headed for the playoffs.
Plain Dealing can set up a likely showdown with Haynesville for the 1-1A title with a win.
Arcadia has won two straight, but the Lions shouldn’t have a lot of trouble putting the Hornets away.
If Plain Dealing wins, and Haynesville defeats Grambling as expected, the Lions and Golden Tornado will play for the district championship a week from Friday in Haynesville.
Bossier’s tough season continued with a loss to traditional state power Evangel last week.
The Bearkats have another tough task against Mansfield.

Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rhedges@bossierpress.com
As the season has progressed, this column has been more about what’s ahead than a look back.
Before before we look ahead to this week’s games, it’s worth looking back at a couple from last week.
The Byrd-Parkway game Thursday night at Lee Hedges Stadium and the Benton-Minden game Friday in Benton were, simply put, high school football at its best.
Both games went into overtime.
The two Bossier Parish teams lost but have nothing to be ashamed of. They left everything on the field.
Parkway lost to Byrd, a school almost twice as big in terms of student body, 24-17, and Benton fell to Minden 25-24.
The Parkway-Byrd game was two Class 5A heavyweights slugging it out. Each team’s offense had its moments, but the defenses held sway.
Last week in this column I said the game was a toss-up. I was right about that but wrong about something else.
I said the likely winner would be the team that was best able to slow down the other team’s high-scoring offense. Both teams did that.
After falling behind by one, the Panthers rallied and took the lead late in the game. But Byrd tied it with a long pass in the final minute and stayed undefeated.
Benton suffered its first District 1-4A loss in devastating fashion.
After tying the game in overtime, Minden went for two. The Tide’s Tavarius Edwards made a spectacular diving catch in the left front corner of the end zone for the victory.
Playing his second full game, Benton freshman quarterback Garrett Hable threw a couple of untimely interceptions, including one late in the game when it looked like the Tigers were going to pull it out in regulation.
But he also showed poise and ran the offense well for the most part. It’s rare for a freshman to start at quarterback at any level of high school football, much less Class 4A.
Minden, coached by former Parkway assistant Spencer Heard, deserves credit for the win. The Tide made the plays when they had to.
OK, on to this week’s games.
The big one will take place at Preston Crownover Stadium Thursday where Parkway (6-2, 2-1 1-5A) will face its second straight undefeated team, the Haughton Bucs (8-0, 3-0).
It will be interesting to see how the Panthers bounce back from the Byrd loss.
Haughton had its running game in high gear in its 38-17 win over Captain Shreve last week with three players going over 100 yards — quarterback Will Haines and running backs D’Kovin Ware and Kei’Untre Normandin.
Many of the best athletes in Bossier Parish will be on the field.
The Haughton defense will face its toughest test of the year trying to stop quarterback Keondre Wudtee and company.
Like the Byrd-Parkway game, I think this one is a toss-up.
In another Thursday game, Benton (6-2, 4-1) visits defending 1-4A champion Northwood (3-5, 1-4). It’s been a tough season for Coach Jim Gatlin’s Falcons. A lot of that has to do with injuries. Quarterback Aaron Varelas, the district MVP last season, is out with a knee injury.
The Falcons still have some playmakers, but I expect the Tigers to bounce back in a big way from the Minden loss.
In Friday games, Airline (3-5, 1-2 1-5A) visits Captain Shreve (3-5, 0-3), Plain Dealing (7-1, 3-0 1-1A) hosts Arcadia (2-6, 2-1) and Bossier (0-8, 0-3 1-3A) visits Mansfield (4-4, 2-1).
Airline is a big favorite over Shreve. The Vikings moved up to No. 34 in the Class 5A power rankings. If the Vikings defeat the Gators, they will likely sew up a playoff spot regardless of what happens in the season-finale against Parkway.
Plain Dealing can set up a likely showdown with Haynesville for the 1-1A title with a win.
Arcadia has won two straight, but the Lions shouldn’t have a lot of trouble putting the Hornets away.
If Plain Dealing wins, and Haynesville defeats Grambling as expected, the Lions and Golden Tornado will play for the district championship a week from Friday in Haynesville.
Bossier’s tough season continued with a loss to traditional state power Evangel last week.
The Bearkats have another tough task against Mansfield.

OPINION

Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rhedges@bossierpress.com