Hedges: Several parish teams face big challenges in Week 2

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Bossier Parish high school football teams are off to a great start.
Parish teams went 5-1 in season openers last week. One parish team had to lose because Haughton and Plain Dealing faced each other.
As expected, the Class 5A Bucs defeated the Class 1A Lions 37-0.
In other openers, Airline downed Union Parish 27-6, Parkway dropped Bastrop 49-20, Benton routed Green Oaks 51-0 and Bossier defeated Homer 34-8.
Friday, Airline hosts Green Oaks (0-1), Haughton hosts Minden (1-0), Benton hosts Natchitoches Central (0-1), Bossier travels to Lake Providence to take on General Trass (0-1) and Plain Dealing hosts Lakeside (0-1).
Parkway plays Lufkin, Texas (2-0) in the annual Battle on the Landers Dodge Battle on the Border on Saturday at Independence Stadium.
The marquee matchup Friday is at Haughton. Last year, the Bucs won 17-10 in Minden. The Crimson Tide have just about everybody back from that team. One big loss, though, was playmaking wide receiver L’Jarius Sneed, now at Louisiana Tech.
Minden downed Southwood 27-0 in its opener. Tide quarterback Antonio Rivette accounted for 202 total yards.
Haughton looked crisp in its opener. Even though it was Jason Brotherton’s debut as head coach and the season opener, the Bucs really didn’t have much to gain as the overwhelming favorite. But they came out and took care of business.
“They were overmatched,” Brotherton said. (Plain Dealing coach James) Thurman knew that. We knew that.
“We played well. I thought we played better than we did against them last year. We got on them pretty quick and kind of kept the throttle down and it got to a point where we didn’t need to keep it down anymore.”
Brotherton knows Friday’s game will be a huge challenge.
I may be underestimating the defenses, but there could be several big plays from both teams. I think the Bucs will make a few more than the Tide and come out on top in a tight one.
Airline has a veteran defense and it showed against Union Parish.
“Josh James, Josh Smith, D’Kameron White, those guys were making plays all over the place,” Airline coach Bo Meeks said.
The offense, which included new starters at every position, also had a solid outing.
Coby McGee made several big plays, including returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. As expected, running back Brian Fielding, who saw extensive action last season, did his part.
A lot of eyes were on sophomore quarterback Brad Fream.
“Brad Fream had a good game for his first start,” Meeks said.
The Vikings are playing a Green Oaks team that will be looking to show it’s better than it looked against Benton.
The Giants may come out fired up and play well early. But I expect the Viking will wear them down and win big.
Benton coach Reynolds Moore is always happy with a win. But he wasn’t pleased with the number of penalties his team piled up against Green Oaks.
“We have some things to clean up,” he said. “I think that was our jamboree. I don’t mean that negatively. I just mean that’s our chance to kind of see what we can do, clean things up. Lot of silly penalties we don’t normally have. I didn’t like that at all and we’ll have to address that.”
Juniors Jermaine Newton and Doyle Adams Jr. had big games. Newton rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Adams returned one punt for a TD and another inside the 5. He also caught a short touchdown pass from Garrett Hable.
Hable didn’t have one of his best nights statistically, but he also threw TD passes to John Westmoreland and Bubba Osby.
If you’re a Benton fan, the most encouraging part is the Benton defense, which has few returning starters, completely shut down the Giants offense.
The Tigers are facing a Natchitoches Central team that handed them their only loss during the regular season last year, 43-36.
It was a back-and-forth affair, and one that Moore thought the Tigers probably should’ve won.
Natchitoches Central lost its opener to North DeSoto 43-29 at home. The Griffins had 352 yards rushing with two backs going well over 100 yards.
Newton and Adams could have big nights again.
The Benton defense should get more of a challenge from a Chiefs offense that totalled 352 yards.
I expect the Tigers to avenge last year’s defeat.
Parkway junior quarterback Justin Rogers showed why he has already received a slew of college offers in his debut against Bastrop.
He completed 18 of 28 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
“He was very sound,” Parkway coach David Feaser said. “It was impossible for them to tackle him. When the protection broke down he was still very hard to bring down so he was still able to make some plays and find open receivers. He really had a great night.”
E.J. Williams also had a very good night, rushing for 80 yards on 11 carries and scoring three touchdowns.
Junior All-State wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. picked up where he left off last year, catching six passes for 163 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown.
The thing that pleased Feaster the most, though, was the play of his defense.
“Our defense was really much-improved,” he said. “We weren’t quite perfect you know, pitch a shutout, but it was close. The defense made some plays, got some turnovers, blocked punts, things like that helped us blow them out.”
The Panthers will take a step up in competition against the Lufkin Panthers, who defeated Nacogdoches, Texas, 42-28 to improve to 2-0.
Parkway may not play a better team all season, Feaster said.
The Panthers may face some adversity in the game, perhaps get down early. Parkway’s defense will be challenged.
It’s hard to believe any team will be able to slow down Rogers, Marshall, Robert McKnight and the other players on Parkway’s talented offense. If Lufkin can, my hat’s off to them.
If Parkway’s defense can slow Lufkin down, the Panthers will prevail.
Bossier snapped a seven-game losing streak against Homer. The offense got some big plays, including a 70-yard touchdown run by Xavier Venious and a 53-yard run by Marquarius East, and minimized turnovers.
Kalan Green had a solid game with 88 yards on the ground.
The defense came within a few minutes of a shutout.
“A lot of things went our way,” Bossier coach Michael Concilio said. “It was good to start off the season with something like this.”
More things should go the Bearkats’ way against General Trass, which dropped its opener 42-18 to Madison. Look for Bossier to be 2-0.
Plain Dealing came out of the Haughton game without any injuries. The Lions’ young offensive and defensive lines got some good experience.
“We’re not going to see a whole lot of fronts like that,” Thurman said of Haughton.
All-State receiver Keldrick Carper wasn’t much of a factor on offense, but that should change against Lakeside.
The Warriors had some good moments on offense but struggled on defense in a 34-26 loss to Ringgold.
Lions quarterback Matt Sullivan should find it much easier to get his passes off Friday night.
Plain Dealing may give up some points, but I think they will score plenty and come out on top.

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