St. Mary’s-Montgomery means more than usual Friday; Lakeview at home

By DWAIN SPILLMAN JR., Natchitoches Parish Journal

A battle of long-standing rivals. Remaining at the crest of the district standings is on the line.

The St. Mary’s Tigers travel to Grant Parish this Friday night to meet head on with Montgomery in a battle for the top spot in 3-1A. Montgomery, Logansport, and St. Mary’s are all undefeated in conference play with just three games remaining in the regular season. One such team will fall at least into second place in the district standings as SMS and Montgomery square off to remain in the ranks of the district unbeatens.

St. Mary’s is 5-1 overall and 1-0 in district action while the host Tigers of Montgomery are 4-3 overall but more importantly unblemished in the conference standings at 2-0.

“It will be good for us to get back into district play and do what we do best. Our goal is to get back on the winning track, to go 2-0 in district and 6-1 overall,” Tigers head coach Aaron York said.

York’s comments came early this week after his Tigers suffered their first blemish on the season record as Class 4A Peabody gained the decision, 40-21, last Friday.

“I believe some of us got complacent,”  York said about the first season setback. “Peabody came out with fire and we didn’t. I have always said that we don’t need to peak until the playoffs. We are going to learn from the mistakes and clean up our mistakes from last Friday night. You never want to lose a game, but if we had to, this was the best case scenario for us.”

The Tigers’ boss was referring to the out-of-district loss in Alexandria a week ago. Even the loss keeps SMS in line for a district title and possible No. 1 seed come postseason. SMS maintained the top spot in this week’s power ratings in the Division IV Select category.

“The biggest thing for us is to get back to what we do,” York continued about his team’s preparation this week. “We have to know our schemes and get rid of the mental mistakes. We just have to make it simple, do a few things really well, and execute the plan.”

One has to turn back the calendar to the 2019 season to find the last time St. Mary’s lost to Montgomery. The Grant Parish-based Tigers are on a two-game win streak in conference play after defeating Northwood-Lena and LaSalle during the stretch.

York admits every game is extremely important in district play, especially the “next” one. He stressed his team must play with much more intensity to gain victory on the road this week.

“We just have to show up with the right mentality,” York concluded. “We must have the right preparation and the will to win. If you don’t do that then anyone can be beaten on Friday nights. It is completely up to us to show up and go get the win.”

In Campti, Lakeview is hoping to rebound from a three-game losing skid as the Gators host Mansfield Friday on the turf in the Swamp. 

Coach Andy Boone’s Gators, currently 3-4 overall and 0-2 in District 3-2A, have been plagued by injuries and roster depth issues during that stretch.

Lakeview dropped a difficult battle with Red River just a week ago by a 68-14 count with a very short roster of players.

The visiting Wolverines are a meager 2-5 on the season and 1-1 in conference matchups although Mansfield grabbed it first district win a week ago, dispatching Jonesboro-Hodge on the road, 39-18.