High school football: Airline suffers first district loss

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The Airline Vikings suffered their first District 1-5A loss Friday night, falling to the Byrd Yellow Jackets 21-6 at M.D. Ray Field at Airline Stadium.

Airline, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in district. The Vikings trail Captain Shreve (7-2, 5-0) by a game in the standings.

Airline still controls its own fate. If the Vikings defeat Benton Friday, they will have a chance to earn a share of the title or perhaps win it outright against Captain Shreve in the final game of the regular season.

Byrd improved to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in district.

With it raining most of the day Friday and a heavy mist coming down during the game, the conditions weren’t ideal for either team. But the Vikings’ wide-open passing attack suffered the the most.

Airline quarterback Alex Garcia came into the game with 1,674 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. He completed just three of 15 passes for 36 yards with an interception.

According to stats kept by Byrd radio, the Vikings finished with 151 total yards with 74 of that coming on Rovelle Young’s touchdown run midway through the first quarter.

Of course, Byrd’s defense had something to do with that as well as the miserable conditions.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets option offense did what it’s designed to do, especially in the second half. Byrd threw just one pass and controlled the ball for 33 of the game’s 48 minutes.

Venzell Thompson rushed for a season-high 124 yards on 25 carries. Quarterback Cameron Felt had 61 on 16.

The Yellow Jackets didn’t take the lead until 27 seconds remained in the first half. After forcing a quick three-and-out, Byrd went 40 yards on seven plays capped by Thompson’s 1-yard run.

The PAT put the Jackets on top 7-6.

Byrd ate up 10:06 of the third quarter with a 16-play, 72-yard drive. Felt scored from a yard out with 11 seconds left.

Felt scored the final TD on a 2-yard run that capped an 11-play, 47-yard drive with 5:07 left in the game.

The game lasted just over two hours.

Airline visits Benton on Friday in the first meeting ever on the football field between the schools. The Tigers (4-4, 1-4) defeated Southwood 44-25 Thursday night.