With a trip to the state playoffs already certain, the Natchitoches Central High School football team tries to enhance its chances of being a top eight seed if it can wrap up the regular season by winning its last two District 1-5A contests, starting tonight at Haughton.
The Chiefs still have a chance to share the district championship, but the more valuable prize will be the highest-possible LHSAA power points ranking. NCHS is ninth, and two more wins should allow them to edge up. A higher seeding betters the chance to play more playoff games at home.
Haughton, which made a deep playoff run last year, hasn’t been as strong this year but is a dangerous foe, especially on the Bucs’ home field between the pine trees.
MATCHUP: Natchitoches Central Chiefs vs. Haughton Buccaneers
WHEN/WHERE: Tonight, 7 p.m., Harlan Stadium (Haughton)
RADIO BROADCAST: 95.9 Kix Classic Country, Steve Graf with the play-by-play, pregame show at 6:45.
RECORDS: NCHS 7-1 overall, 4-1 in District 1-5A; Haughton Buccaneers 4-4, 2-3
LAST GAME: Natchitoches Central beat Parkway 38-21. Haughton lost to Captain Shreve 52-14.
NOTES: The Natchitoches Central defense has been dominant this season, giving up only 12 points per game and allowing 187 yards per game. Parkway joined Captain Shreve as the only two teams to score three times against the Chiefs. Last week Justin Aaron had three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, bringing his total on the year up to eight interceptions, and a forced fumble. He qualified earlier this fall for the National Football Foundation’s Ark-La-Tex Scholar-Athlete Watch list. Standout linebacker Gabe Vaughn also had an interception for a touchdown last week against Parkway.
Senior running back Caylin Demars crossed the 1,000-yard rushing threshhold in last week’s win with his seventh 100-yard performance this year. Also on the NFF Ark-La-Tex Scholar-Athlete Watch List, Demars has 151 carries for 1,070 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He sits atop the team with 11 touchdowns, and threw a 75-yard TD pass last week. Behind him is junior quarterback BJ Young who has 10 rushing touchdowns and 427 rushing yards on 87 carries. Young has also thrown for 511 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Colby Raupp leads the team in receiving yards with 208 on five receptions with two touchdowns, one last week from Demars. The Chiefs currently sit at No. 9 in the LHSAA power point rankings and hope to climb in the top 8 by the start of the state playoffs if they can beat Haughton and Benton next week.
COACH JAMES WILKERSON SAYS: “Haughton has a great program with great coaches and players. They’re one of the best programs in our district in the last eight years and have a great winning culture. They play hard and they are well coached. It’s a tough place to play so we have to come out playing our best. We are still looking to play a complete game.”