Natchitoches Central faces challenge in battle-tested ASH – RADIO TONIGHT

ROOM TO RUN: Natchitoches Central running back Jeremiah Miles finds a hole in the Woodlawn defense with help from offensive lineman Jeron Larry in Week 1.

By Journal Sports Staff

NATCHITOCHES – After a disappointing 20-point loss prevented Natchitoches Central from a second straight 2-0 start to a season, the Chiefs won’t have to wait as long as normal to attempt to cleanse the bad taste of a loss.

NCHS (1-1) returns home Thursday to face Alexandria Senior High (0-2) at Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium.

The Trojans have faced a notably difficult schedule to this point with losses to ranked teams, including Class 5A No. 9 Carencro (35-20) and Class 4A No. 3 St. Thomas More (35-27).

After fending off a late Woodlawn charge in a 18-14 win to start the season, the Chiefs allowed more than 300 rushing yards to Opelousas in a 27-7 defeat.

Now the Chiefs must handle an explosive ASH spread offense headed by coach Thomas Bachman, who guided the Trojans to the Class 5A state title game in 2020 held in Turpin Stadium.

The Trojans have dealt with slow starts this season, including STM returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, as ASH will desperately want to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Chiefs started quickly in their win against Woodlawn by scoring the first two touchdowns with the help of two forced turnovers.

But that was not the case at Opelousas this past week when the Tigers plodded to a 13-0 lead before the Chiefs found life in a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lannon Collum to receiver Camryn Davis.

The Trojans typically don’t plod as they aren’t afraid to put the ball in the air and snatch up chunk yardage.

With NCHS opening-day quarterback B.J. Young out with a shoulder injury suffered in the jamboree, the combination of sophomores Collum and Adam Guillet continues for a third week.

Guillet has thrown for 86 yards on 11-22 with two interceptions this season while Collum adds 49 yards on 6-11 passing with a touchdown and an interception.

Bell cow running back Jeremiah James has piled up 302 rushing yards through the first two games with all three touchdowns coming against Woodlawn as the Chiefs would surely love to eat up clock and keep ASH’s offense off the field.

MATCHUP: NCHS Chiefs vs. Alexandria Senior High Trojans

WHERE/WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m., Turpin Stadium, Natchitoches

RECORDS: NCHS (1-1), ASH (0-2)

LAST GAME: Opelousas 27, NCHS 7 ; St. Thomas More 42, ASH 35

NOTES: It wasn’t very long ago ASH played for a state championship in Turpin Stadium as the 2020 championship games were moved to Natchitoches because of the pandemic. Now the Trojans return to Turpin Stadium for a non-district contest against the Chiefs. This will be the final non-district game for the Chiefs as district play begins next week against Southwood. NCHS’ ground game leads the way on the legs of running back Jeremiah Miles, who is averaging more than 150 rushing yards per game. The senior, who has three touchdowns, will be counted upon as a pair of sophomore quarterbacks continue to develop in the passing game. Receiver Cam Davis has been the top target with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, middle linebacker Logan Saucier has 16 total tackles through two games. Fans are in encouraged to wear white in this annual White Out game.

COACH JAMES WILKERSON SAYS: “This is a very tough game against a very tough team. We have to play more disciplined and physical. It’s a big game for us and our program.”


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PHOTO: Kevin Shannahan/NPJ