Going into Friday night’s home game, Plain Dealing head coach James Thurman was confident his Lions would be able to handle the winless Magnolia School of Excellence Mariners pretty handily.
But he was a little concerned when the Lions were unable to move the ball on their first possession and the Mariners had a couple of nice runs on theirs.
“And then we ended up holding them and popping a few quick scores on ’em and looked up and it was 50-0 right before the half,” Thurman said.
Plain Dealing went on to win the District 1-1A game 56-0 after a quick second half.
The Lions finished the regular season 5-5 overall and 3-4 in district. Plain Dealing is No. 14 in the 1A power rankings, according to unofficial rankings posted Saturday on the LHSAA website. The top 16 host first-round playoff games.
Final power rankings and playoff pairings will be released by the LHSAA on Sunday.
Magnolia finished the regular season 0-10 and 0-7. But Thurman was impressed with the effort put forth by the Mariners.
“Those guys played hard,” he said. “I felt bad for them. Just to see where they’ve come since the first game. They’ve gotten so much better:”
After Ladavious Scott barreled through the Mariners defense on several runs and scored on the Lions’ first possession of the second half, the game utilized a running clock.
Plain Dealing kneeled down on the rest of its possessions.
After the failure on its first possession, the Lions offense was virtually unstoppable.
“Offensively at that point, we were clicking pretty much on all cylinders,” Thurman said. “It was pretty flawless.”
Senior quarterback Ken Gay had another big night.
“He threw the ball real, real well,” Thurman said.
Darrien Perry, who has also had an outstanding season, caught a long touchdown pass. Ladarius O’Neal also made a couple of big plays for touchdowns.
Thurman said the 5-5 regular season was about “the best we could’ve done.”
As usual, the Lions faced challenges with a small number of players on the roster. At one point Thurman had to start a seventh-grader on the offensive line.
He knew that beating Calvary Baptist, Haynesville, Homer and Class 4A Huntington was unlikely.
“The Arcadia game that was one we felt like we had been at full strength we might’ve had a chance,” he said. “If you look at the five losses we had three of them were against good football teams. We were expected to lose. We weren’t suppose to beat North Caddo. 5-5 on paper is about the best we could’ve done so we’re very fortunate to be there.”
And, of course, the Lions will have a chance for a sixth win In the first round of the playoffs. That would double their win total of last season.