The first half of Airline’s District 1-5A game against Southwood Thursday night at Independence Stadium was reminiscent of the Vikings’ first four games.
Things did not go well and Airline found itself on the short end of an 8-7 score.
The second half was a different story. The Vikings finally showed what they’re capable of, outscoring the Cowboys 29-6 en route to a 36-14 victory.
Airline improved to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in district. Southwood dropped to 0-5 and 0-2.
“I think the biggest thing is we eliminated mistakes and started to play more physical up front on both sides of the ball,” Airline Head Coach Bo Meeks said. “The first half we just continued to shoot ourselves in the foot and make mistakes and couldn’t get out of our own way, but in the second half we tightened up and started to play more physical on both sides of the ball, ran the ball well.
“Ladarius (Epps) made some big throws and defensively we started shutting them down and getting the ball back. Really just played better by playing more physical.”
Airline sophomore running back Tre Jackson, who has shown flashes of his potential this season, scored four touchdowns.
He finished with 166 yards on 28 carries.
“He had a great game,” Meeks said.
Epps scored a rushing touchdown and threw a two-point conversion pass to Daxton Chavez. Ben Jump kicked four PATs.
Epps had 69 yards rushing on just three carries. He completed 10 of 25 passes for 127 yards with no interceptions.
Cam Jefferson caught three passes for 71 yards. JoJo had five catches for 36 yards.
Airline hosts parish rival Haughton next Friday. The Bucs (2-2, 0-1) were scheduled to face Benton Friday night.
While well aware the competition in the second half of the season will be tougher starting with Haughton, Meeks believes the Vikings have an opportunity to build off the Southwood victory.
“The thing about this game as we watch it (Friday), it’s a game of two halves,” he said. “In the first half we can look and see the things we’ve got to do better. And in the second half we’ll see the result of doing some of those things better.
“I think we definitely can use this as a building block to see where we have to improve and play better and hopefully it’ll give us some confidence going forward.”