Young’s return not enough as Airline dominates NCHS

LOOKING FOR SPACE: Running back Jeremiah Miles looks for space to run, but the back didn’t find much Friday at Airline in a 46-0 loss.

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports

BOSSIER CITY – In the only District 1-5A matchup of unbeatens this week, Natchitoches Central hung a zero in the wrong column Friday as Airline blanked the Chiefs 46-0.

By the time the Chiefs (2-3, 1-1) had gained their first offensive first down (two were by penalty), the Vikings were already up 26-0 in the first quarter, including returning a fumble for a score to start the scoring.

With an early first-place district standing on the line, it was Airline (2-3, 2-0) who repeated its dominant performance from last week after scoring a school-record 75 points against Benton.

“We didn’t play well from the start,” said NCHS coach James Wilkerson. “Sometimes the results and the way a team plays is a mystery, and that happened tonight. It’s not the same team that played (Southwood) last Friday and the one who practiced this week.”

Airline could say the same thing for those who paid attention to the early-season Vikings, who lost its first three games (albeit two by one score) to tough competition before their breakout against Benton that evidently carried over into the NCHS matchup.

“Airline got the ball to their playmakers, including hitting us on some screens,” Wilkerson said. “We didn’t tackle or cover.”

Airline receiver Daxton Chavez scored three touchdowns on three catches totaling 111 yards. Quarterback Ben Taylor used the big play effectively as he threw for 245 yards on 11-22 passing with four touchdowns.

On a night where not much good could be found for NCHS, the Chiefs did see one promising bright spot. Quarterback BJ Young made his return to the field after a shoulder injury sidelined him since the jamboree.

Young and sophomores Adam Guillet and Lannon Collum saw the field, with Young throwing for seven yards on 2-7 passing to lead the group against a stifling Airline defense.

Young added 19 rushing yards, including a 13-yard scamper to prove his legs haven’t withered on the sideline.

Running back Jeremiah Miles gained a tough 45 yards on 16 carries as the Chiefs grinded out 108 rushing yards on less than three yards per tote.

It’s the first time NCHS has been shut out since the 2020 regular season finale against Benton.

But Young’s return puts the Chiefs back on the path to a more dynamic offense as the Chiefs host a Benton group that whipped previous district favorite Byrd 63-28 on Friday.

PHOTO: Kevin Shanahan/NPJ Sports