Bear Bryant used to say tying a football game was like kissing your sister.
Friday night at the 60th Annual Lions Club Football Jamboree, Haughton and Airline looked like anything but friendly siblings.
“That was a war out there,” said Haughton Coach Rodney Guin after the game ended 25-25. “That’s a good thing because that’s the way it’s going to be every week in our district.”
Both teams are having to replace long-established starting quarterbacks from last season due to graduation. Some of the growing pains associated with a new quarterback, such as center-quarterback exchanges and penalties, were evident but both coaches liked a lot of what they saw in their new starting quarterbacks.
Equally important, both new quarterbacks had an opportunity to lead their team on a scoring drive in the waning minutes with the game on the line.
Haughton built a seemingly comfortable 17-7 halftime lead, getting on the scoreboard first with a Benny Broadway 36-yard field goal at the 5:55 mark in the first half. But the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Haughton 25, and four plays later Roderick Spurlock plowed up the middle for five yards and a 7-3 Airline lead. Haughton answered with rushing touchdowns by quarterback Will Haines and running back Jarred Craft.
Airline got back in the game on its first possession of the second half, with quarterback Chase Rivers scoring on a 7-yard draw up the middle. The PAT was blocked, leaving Haughton up 17-13. The defense then forced a safety with 8:19 remaining to close the gap to 17-15, setting up a wild finish.
Airline recovered a Haughton fumble on the Buccaneer 43 with 3:22 remaining, then took its first lead of the game on a 32-yard run by Spurlock for a 22-17 lead.
Haines then hit a wide-open P.J. Douglas on Haughton’s first play after the Airline kickoff, and then connected with Douglas for a 2-point conversion for a 25-22 Haughton lead.
Rivers then drove Airline down the field, where a holding call forced a field goal which Ryan Jameson nailed from 39 yards with two seconds left to tie the game.
“I liked the way that Chase Rivers finished strong,” said Airline Coach Bo Meeks. “Defensively we played the way we expect to in the second half. We have a lot of guys that don’t have a lot of experience that got good playing time against a good football team.”
Guin said the jamboree served its purpose and showed areas that need improvement.
“We had way too many penalties against us and we gave them a short field a couple of times,” Guin said.
Parkway 35, Benton 7
In a game marked by turnovers and penalties, Parkway dominated Benton. A handful of big plays –including both a fumble return and an interception return for touchdowns – turned the final score into a rout.
“It wasn’t nearly as bad as the scoreboard,” said new Coach Reynolds Moore. “Little mistakes ended up hurting us. The important thing is that we have a chance to fix it before it really counts.”
The most revealing statistic for Benton, however, was the team threw the ball 33 times in two quarters of play, a number that would have been half a season’s worth of passes under the old Wing T offense. Turnovers and penalties stalled several drives and kept the team out of rhythm, but quarterback Jordan Shaffer still completed 20 of 33 passes for 187 yards.
Each team fumbled four times. But whereas Parkway only lost one of its fumbles, Benton lost three of its fumbles. Parkway was intercepted once, while Benton was intercepted three times, including once in the waning seconds.
“Turnovers killed us,” Moore said. But he said some of the turnovers were the result of bad luck and good defense. One fumble, for example, was after a pass catch. On one interception, the ball went through the receiver’s hands and was picked off.
Benton’s defense didn’t give up a score until three minutes remained in the first 12-minute half, and then a long punt return set up a score by quarterback Brandon Harris for a 14-0 lead seconds before halftime.
Juwon Johnson recovered a Benton fumble and returned it for a touchdown for a 21-0 lead early in the second half, then another fumble set up a Harris touchdown pass with 8:55 remaining. Lloyd Cole finished up Parkway’s scoring with an interception return for a touchdown seconds later.
Shaffer scored Benton’s touchdown on a keeper from the three with 3:36 remaining to make the final score 35-7.
Despite the turnovers, Benton outgained Parkway from scrimmage 196-97.
“The way you blow an opponent out is with defense and special teams,” said Parkway Coach David Feaster.
Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing 22, Bossier 19
In an evenly matched opening game of the jamboree, each team scored three touchdowns. One Bossier PAT, however, was blocked and a two-point conversion on another touchdown failed. Meanwhile, Plain Dealing strategically went for a two-point conversion on its final touchdown for a three-point lead that stood up.
Plain Dealing fumbled a punt snap at its 24 on its first possession, setting up a Bossier touchdown with 7:24 remaining in the first half. Plain Dealing then drove 65 yards and scored on a Logan Allen pass to Kaledrick Carper to tie the game at 7.
When Plain Dealing was backed up to the seven on its next possession, Allen attempted a shuttle pass but it was picked off by Brandon Wells for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked for a Bossier 13-7 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Isaac Jacobs used a reverse to score on an 80-yard return for a 14-13 Plain Dealing lead at the half.
Bossier marched down the field at the start of the second half, with Avery Jones scoring from seven yards out with 6:09 remaining but the two point attempt failed for a 19-14 Bossier lead. Plain Dealing regained the lead on its next play, with Allen hitting Tray Harris for an 80-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good for a 22-19 Plain Dealing win.