Is tonight the last home game for the Natchitoches Central football team this season?
Depends. If the Chiefs beat Benton tonight, it’s not. NCHS is definitely going to the Class 5A playoffs next week. A win tonight earns a home appearance in the first round.
Coach James Wilkerson’s club has answered the bell in its two biggest games, upsetting defending Division I state champ Byrd and taking No. 1-ranked Captain Shreve down to the wire in District 1-5A showdowns. Will the Chiefs be up to the task tonight?
Or was last week’s lowlight of the 2021 season the start of a skid? NCHS laid an egg while getting drubbed by Haughton 35-7.
MATCHUP: NCHS Chiefs vs. Benton Tigers
WHEN/WHERE: Tonight, 7 p.m., Turpin Stadium, NSU, Natchitoches
LISTEN TO THE GAME: 95.9 Kix Classic Country, Billy West and Steve Graf calling the game; pregame coverage begins at 6:45.
RECORDS: NCHS 7-2 overall, 4-2 in District 1-5A; Benton 6-3, 3-3
LAST GAME: Natchitoches Central lost at Haughton 35-7. Benton beat Airline 28-7.
NOTES: Natchitoches Central will look to rebound after last week’s hiccup at Haughton. The Chiefs were with out starting quarterback BJ Young who was sidelined with an injury, and never seemed to get things going on offense. The previously stout NCHS defense had its worst night, by far. Season lows in all categories followed suit.
The Chiefs have kicked into gear after the first quarter this fall. They’ve outscored opponents only 41-38 in the opening period, then 81-49 in the second, 73-28 in the third and 67-15 in the fourth for a 262-130 margin.
Caylin Demars has run for 1,238 yards and averaged 6.8 yards per carry while scoring 12 touchdowns, and throwing for another. Demars has not fumbled in 182 carries. Brian Young, Jr. has 386 rushing yards and has run for10 TDs, and thrown for four more.
Linebacker Logan Saucier leads the team with 41 tackles, just ahead of safety Justin Aaron and nose tackle Fred Jackson (34). Lineman James Jackson has a team-high eight tackles for loss. End Tredarius Brown has seven sacks to lead NCHS, while Aaron has four interceptions. (All defensive stats are eight-game totals, missing the stats from the opening win over Woodlawn).
In the current Class 5A LHSAA power point rankings according to GeauxPreps.com, the Chiefs sit at No. 16, and the Tigers are 17th. The winner of tonight’s game will lock up a home game next week in the first round of the playoffs.
Tonight is Senior Night for NCHS. Spotlighting 18 senior football players from the Class of 2022:
Caylin Demars – RB
Braylin Demars – DB
Damarion Sowell – DB/WR
Chris Howard – DB
Colby Raupp – WR
Reginald Bolden – DB
Jason Jackson – DB
Justin Aaron – WR/DB
Jared Braxton- WR
Gabe Vaughn – LB
Sam Maggio – K
Logan Lonadier – H Back
Calvin Willis – LB
James Jackson – DL
Julian Oakes – OL
Larenz Seawood – OL
Alexander Jackson – OL
Carey Johnson – OL
Dillan Young – OL
COACH JAMES WILKERSON SAYS: “Another big game with lots on the line for us. Benton is playing good football right now and is a good team. It will be a big time matchup for us.”