The Airline Vikings will try to move a step closer to their first District 1-5A championship in five years when they visit the Captain Shreve Gators on Friday night.
Airline (19-6, 7-1) has a two-game lead over the rest of the field with four to play. Southwood (14-14, 5-3) is in second, a half-game ahead of Evangel Christian (17-6, 4-3). Captain Shreve (13-14, 4-4) and Byrd (15-8, 4-4) are next followed by Parkway (12-9, 3-5).
With a win Friday, Airline will reach the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2011-12 season when the Vikings finished the regular season 24-7.
Airline was No. 20 in the Class 5A power rankings released Tuesday by the LHSAA. The Vikings may need to win out to have a chance at hosting a first-round playoff game. The top 16 teams host first-round games.
The top 32 teams make the playoffs. Parkway was No. 35 and will need to finish strong to have a chance.
The defending Class 4A state champion Bossier Bearkats don’t have to worry about hosting a first-round home game. Bossier (25-4, 5-1) was No. 2 behind Washington-Marion in the 4A power rankings. The Bearkats host North DeSoto (4-14, 0-6) Friday.
Benton (9-11, 3-3) hosts 1-4A leader Fair Park (22-6, 6-0).
In District 1-1A, Plain Dealing (8-10, 5-4) visits Cedar Creek.
In District 1-5A girls, Airline (13-13, 6-4) visits co-leader Captain Shreve (23-5, 8-1). The Lady Vikings were No. 31 in the Class 5A power rankings and can just about wrap up a playoff berth with a win over the Lady Gators. Shreve won the first district meeting 67-44 Jan. 10 at Airline.
Also in 1-5A, Haughton hosts Parkway.
In District 1-4A, Benton (14-14, 3-4) hosts Fair Park (2-22, 1-6) and Bossier (12-13, 4-3) hosts North DeSoto (9-11, 2-5).
The Lady Tigers and Lady Kats will both be going to the playoffs. Bossier was No. 16 in the 4A power rankings and could host a first-round game. Benton was No. 27.
In District 1-1A, Plain Dealing (12-10, 8-3) will be looking for its fifth straight victory. The Lady Lions travel to Ruston to play Cedar Creek (20-6, 8-3). The Lady Cougars have won six in a row. Plain Dealing won the first district game between the two 55-33 on Jan. 10.
At No. 13 in the 1A power rankings, Plain Dealing will also be headed to the playoffs.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org