Natchitoches Central-Southwood matchup could have season-long implications for both squads

DOUBLE TEAMED: Zecarious Thompson and Fred Jackson wrap up an ASH ball carrier this past Friday at Turpin Stadium. NCHS heads to Shreveport to take on Southwood to open District 1-5A play.

SHREVEPORT – Friday’s matchup between Natchitoches Central and Southwood may just be the District 1-5A opener in Week 4, but the outcome could determine how the rest of the season unfolds for both squads. 

The 7 p.m. matchup in Lee Hedges Stadium features a Chiefs (1-2) squad that is trying to hold on without starting quarterback B.J. Young while the Cowboys (2-1) are trying to recapture their early-season magic in which Southwood started 2-0 for the first time since 2006. 

The district is deep once again this season, and neither team can afford an 0-1 start as the district deck gets its first shuffle Friday. 

With both teams eyeing a playoff trip, a win Friday seems like a must have. 

“We need this win,” said NCHS coach James Wilkerson. “We need to get some momentum heading into the rest of district play because our district is very tough. We knew ASH would be a tough opponent … and they weren’t happy with the loss, but you can make it positive by learning from it and seeing how you need to go to be a top 5A program.” 

The Chiefs slugged out a win against Woodlawn to begin the season before falling to Opelousas and Alexandria Senior High, the latter a 54-6 defeat. 

NCHS has been able to put together fast starts, including striking first against ASH and scoring the first two touchdowns against Woodlawn. 

Wilkerson said another strong start is key against a Cowboys team that’s also searching for momentum. 

“We need fast starts, and I’ve been happy with our team for doing that,” Wilkerson said. “Now we need to keep that same intensity and focus for the rest of the game.” 

Southwood put together a fast start to its season with wins against Woodlawn and Green Oaks before Monroe-based Carroll dealt the Cowboys a dose of reality with a 40-12 defeat. 

NCHS sophomore quarterbacks Adam Guillet and Lannon Collum continue their timeshare to complement a potent Chiefs running game. 

Guillet threw his first touchdown of the season this past week and has 120 passing yards on 16-29 with two interceptions this season. 

Collum has thrown for 64 yards on 7-16 passing with a touchdown and a pick. 

Young was slated to miss the first half of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in the jamboree. 

Jeremiah Miles will continue to tote the water for the Chiefs as he has 330 rushing yards through three games, although he was held to 28 yards against ASH. 

PHOTO: Kevin Shanahan/NPJ Sports