By Kevin Shannahan
The head coaches of Natchitoches Central High School and Lakeview High School spoke at the “Fifth Quarter”, held at the Northwest Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and History Museum Saturday, August 3. NCHS’ Byron Keller and Lakeview’s Brandon Helms, both in their second season with their programs, gave the lowdown on their expectations for the upcoming season. Perhaps the most notable change is Coach Keller’s Chiefs moving to the Shreveport district this season. The Chiefs will be playing Shreveport high schools such as Byrd. Of course, Coach Keller expects to see old rivals such as West Monroe in the playoffs. Keller spoke of work and expectations, of preparing for “15 weeks of football”, not just the regular season. The 65 men of the Chiefs’ program are going to make their mark on their new district.
Lakeview’s Coach Helms is likewise looking forward to the upcoming season. His Gators, 45 men strong, will start practice Monday at 5:00. The Gators now have an activity bus that enables the young men in Lakeview’s far flung attendance area to more easily attend practices. The Gators ended their long victoryless drought last year are are looking forward to more well earned success this year. Coach Helms and his team have faced and overcome quite a few obstacles and will meet this year’s challenges with their customary hard work.
Both Brandon Helms and Byron Keller exemplify everything that is right and good about high school athletics. They believe in the young men in their charge and love them enough to bring out the best in them on-and off-the field. They, and their staffs, carry themselves with confidence and dignity. They are good examples to the students. They are using football to build men.
The Fifth Quarter was sponsored by Natchitoches Leadership Through Athletics. In addition to their traditional end of the year awards ceremony for outstanding athletes, they will be sponsoring an “Athlete of the Week” throughout the school year.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal is looking forward to some hard hitting Friday night gridiron action. We wish all of the parish’s schools a safe and victorious season!
The Chiefs will be away for their scrimmage and will play New Iberia in the Jamboree. The Gators will play Plain Dealing for their scrimmage August 23 at 5:00 at Lakeview’s brand new field. They will play St. Mary’s at the Jamboree.