Natchitoches Central High School’s football team is a big favorite tonight in its homecoming game against Southwood, as the Chiefs try to lock up a winning season but more importantly stay unbeaten in 2021.
NCHS hasn’t been 6-0 since 1996. It’s an incredible turnaround for a program that was on an 11-game skid dating back to 2019 as the season began.
The Chiefs recorded a statement win last Friday, bumping off last year’s LHSAA Division I state champion and reigning District 1-5A champion C.E. Byrd in Shreveport by 13 points. Topping the previously unbeaten Yellow Jackets, the NCHS defense dominated an explosive offense that rang up 35 points last night in a 35-24 victory at district foe Parkway.
Tonight, instead of playing the role of the upstart, NCHS must handle its newfound status as a championship contender and take care of business against a struggling opponent. The Chiefs can’t look ahead, like most of us are doing, to a key district matchup next Friday when the Chiefs go to unbeaten Captain Shreve, ranked seventh in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 5A top 10 poll.
MATCHUP: Natchitoches Central Chiefs vs. Southwood Cowboys
WHEN/WHERE: Tonight, 7 p.m., Turpin Stadium, NSU, Natchitoches
RADIO BROADCAST: 95.9 Kix Classic Country, Steve Graf calling the action, pregame show at 6:45
RECORDS: NCHS 5-0, 2-0 in District 1-5A; Southwood Cowboys 0-5, 0-2
LAST GAME: Natchitoches Central defeated Byrd 23-10 last Friday in Shreveport; Southwood lost to Airline 36-14.
NOTES: Natchitoches Central sits at No. 3 in the LHSAA’s Class 5A power points rankings, used to set up playoff brackets. NCHS got 18 points in the LSWA top 10 poll, standing 12th. An LSWA top 10 ranking would be the school’s first since 2000, according to GeauxPreps.com.
The Chiefs offense has made a major turnaround from a season ago, led by senior running back Caylin Demars who has 668 yards rushing, averages 7.7 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns. The Chiefs flashed a balanced attack at Byrd as junior quarterback Brian “B.J.” Young threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns with a completion rate of 70 percent (7-10). Both touchdown catches were made by Justin Aaron, the standout senior safety seeing his first extensive action offensively at receiver.
The Chiefs special teams came through last week with a surprise onside kick by Sam Maggio to start the second half. The Chiefs defense held a very potent Byrd offense to 160 yards total, 10 points allowed, and 20 percent on third down conversions. The Chiefs were led defensively by Shreveport Times Player of the Week nominee sophomore Fred Jackson Jr., who had 16 tackles and a sack.
NCHS COACH JAMES WILKERSON SAYS: “Homecoming is always an exciting week and the spirit and excitement is off the charts. We have to stay focused on what we need to do. Southwood is athletic and can make plays. We have to be disciplined and execute on both sides of the ball. The team has handled everything very well this week and has enjoyed all the support from the school and community.”
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