Natchitoches Central leaning on backup quarterbacks as Woodlawn visits Friday

Natchitoches Central’s Landon Brosset tackles a Loyola ball carrier during the jamboree on Aug. 26. The Chiefs open the regular season Friday against Woodlawn.

By Journal Sports Staff

The 2021 edition of Natchitoches Central football had everything going their way throughout the majority of the season, winning its first six games including impressive victories over Airline, Byrd, and Parkway.

But then a shoulder injury and a broken arm for quarterback BJ Young derailed the Chiefs as they lost the last three games of the season, including a first-round playoff game.

NCHS will unfortunately start the 2022 season in a similar fashion – without Young, who suffered another injury this preseason.

The senior signal caller will miss Week 1 action Friday as the Chiefs host an improved Woodlawn squad at 7 p.m. in Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium.

But the Chiefs have a different answer under center than in 2021. The 2021 squad turned to running back Caylin Demars, who played quarterback all the way back in middle school.

Now NCHS can turn to a pair of sophomore quarterbacks in Adam Guillet and Landon Collum to take the snaps.

Guillet chunked a 70-yard touchdown strike to Cameron Davis in a 7-6 jamboree loss to Loyola.

A telling sign of Young’s stable quarterback presence could be seen on the 2021 Chiefs defense – not just its offense.

Not only did the ball-control-minded Chiefs’ offensive production drop, a defense that had allowed just 37 points in the first six games surrendered 30 points or more in four of the last five contests in 2021.

The Chiefs will attempt to muster enough to beat a Woodlawn squad that lost 34-0 to Natchitoches Central in 2021.

But second-year Woodlawn coach Thedrick Harris has his Knights singing a completely different tune with the roster size nearly doubling to 55 players.

“Woodlawn is a very athletic team with lots of speed,” NCHS coach James Wilkerson said. “(Quarterback Isaiah Kennedy) can hurt you with his feet. We will need to play disciplined in all areas of the game.”

Woodlawn returns eight starters on both offense and defense from a team that started 3-1 before losing its last six games.

It’ll be up to a Chiefs defense led by linebacker Logan Saucier and defensive lineman Tredarious Brown to slow Kennedy and the Knights’ ground attack.

The Chiefs know about momentous turnarounds.

The 2020 squad compiled an 0-8 record before rattling off the first six wins of 2021, managing its first playoff appearance since 2015.