Two Bossier Parish high school football teams won 10 or more games last year.
Parkway’s Panthers were 11-2 and Airline’s Vikings were 10-3. Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing), with an 8-4 record, was the only other parish team that won more than seven games.
Haughton finished the 2012 season with a 7-4 record, and has the longest current streak of winning seasons among parish schools at 11. The last Haughton team that didn’t have more wins than losses was the 2001 team, which finished at 5-6 after a 30-0 loss to Breaux Bridge in the first round of state playoffs.
Parkway has the most impressive record over the last three seasons at 30-7. The Panthers were 10-2 in 2010 and 9-3 in 2011, and are the only school in the parish with two double digit win totals in the last three years. Parkway’s only regular-season loss last year was to Airline, 31-13, in its eighth game.
Benton is 106-55 (.676) over the last 13 years, second only to Haughton’s 105-44 (.705) record among parish schools over that span. Bossier High is third at 90-57 (.612). Benton teams coached by Mitch Downey had double digit win totals three years in a row (11-2 in 2003, 11-1 in 2004 and 10-4 in 2005). Nobody else in the parish has done that since 1980.
So, what are the prospects for the 2013 football season?
Haughton coach Rodney Guin, whose team is riding a streak of 14 straight trips to the state playoffs, doesn’t expect the streak to end this year.
Haughton is the only Bossier Parish team that has won more than 70 percent of its games over the last 13 years. The Bucs are 105-44 (.705). Benton has one more win, but the Tigers have 11 more losses over that stretch for a 106-55 (.676) record. The only other Bossier Parish team over 60 percent for the last 13 years is Bossier High at 90-57 (.612).
You can’t judge what a football player will do a few years later by what he does before he enrolls in high school.
In 1971, Joe Delaney wasn’t even in the starting lineup of the Princeton Junior High football team coached by Joe St. Andre.
Ten years later, Delaney was a second round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs.
In between those events, in his junior year at Haughton High, Delaney tied the state record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash.
“I was about the smallest guy on the team,” he later recalled of his seventh grade football season at Princeton. “I just wanted to play.”
As a wide receiver on a Haughton team that rarely threw the ball, Delaney didn’t have many opportunities to display his football talent during his high school career. But that changed at Northwestern State, where Coach A.L. Williams built his offense around the speedster.
Pro scouts were impressed, to say the least. “If he were playing at Southern Cal,” one of them said, “he’d win the Heisman Trophy.”
As a senior at Northwestern State, Delaney broke the Demons’ single season rushing record with 1,110 yards. In track and field, he passed Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Tennessee’s Jeff Phillips on the second leg of the 400-meter relay in the NCAA championship meet at Baton Rouge and the Demons held on to win the event by five yards in 39.32 seconds.
In the sixth game of his rookie season with Kansas City, Delaney moved into the starting lineup against the defending world champion Oakland Raiders. All he did was carry the ball 26 times for 106 yards in a 27-0 victory, becoming a leading candidate for “Rookie of the Year” honors in the American Football Conference.
Jerry Byrd is the former sports editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune and an award-winning columnist. You can contact him by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org