One reason Parkway is the only unbeaten high school football team in Bossier Parish through the first seven weeks of the 2012 season is the Panthers’ defense, which has allowed only 68 points. Every other parish team has allowed more than 100 points.
Parkway head coach David Feaster says it starts with defensive coordinator Neil May and the other defensive coaches: Eddie Pentecost, Brian Rayner and Justin Scogin. They have plenty of experienced players to work with, including seniors Antonio McGhee (tackle), Ron Battle (end), Marcus Harper (linebacker), Andre Henson (cornerback) and Holland Wolf (senior). McGhee, Harper and Henson are generally considered the Panthers’ top college prospects this year.
Parkway also leads parish teams in points scored (275, an average of 39 per game), but four other teams aren’t far behind the Panthers in point production. Haughton has scored 263 points (37.6 per game), Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing) has 253 (36.1 per game), Airline has 245 (35 per game) and Bossier High has 235 (33.6 per game).
That leaves Benton as the only parish team that isn’t averaging more than 33 points per game. The Tigers have scored 149 points, an average of 21.3 per game. Benton, 3-4, is also the only parish team with a losing record through the first seven weeks.
These numbers may tell you more about the caliber of competition the parish teams have faced than they tell you about the parish teams. Parkway has played only two teams that still have winning records: District 1-5A rival Byrd (4-2) and Class 3A Farmerville (5-2). The Panthers rolled past Byrd 44-14 last week and thumped Farmerville 41-7 in their second game.
Airline, off to a 6-1 start, dropped a 48-14 decision to Class 4A power Neville and scored 34 or more points in all of its six wins. Haughton won its first five games, but is 0-2 in District 1-5A play after a 27-21 loss to Byrd and last week’s 38-14 loss to Airline. Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing) won its first four games, but came up short against Red River (15-12) and District 1-A rival Haynesville (38-7).
Haughton needs one more win to extend its streak of winning seasons to 11 in a row since a 5-6 season in 2001. Parkway is already assured of its eighth straight winning season, but the Panthers have never been 10-0 in regular-season play. The 1988 and 2010 Panthers were 10-2 including state playoffs, and the 1994 team was 10-3.
Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris completed 11 of 18 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 44-14 victory over Byrd last week. He also had 41 yards rushing, scoring two more touchdowns on the ground.
Coach Rodney Guin of Haughton expects the Bucs’ game with Captain Shreve tonight to be “a very close game.”
Guin says, “They’re pretty good. We’re good some parts of the game and not so good in others. What we need is more consistency.”
Feaster says Airline is the best team on the Panthers’ schedule. “Whoever wins this game will be the front-runner for the district championship,” he predicts. “We’re not only playing for a shot at the district title, but for a higher power rating that will improve our seeding position in the playoffs.”
With the impressive win over Haughton, Airline has already established itself as the team to beat in District 1-5A — although Byrd isn’t out of the picture with only one district loss (to Parkway).
Quarterback Hayden Hildebrand broke Airline passing records last year, completing 57 percent of his passes for 2,707 yards and 20 touchdowns, and is well on his way to breaking his own records in his senior season. He has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1,730 yards and 15 touchdowns through seven games. If he maintains his per-game averages and the Vikings have at least one playoff game, he is on pace to finish this season with 2,718 yards and 23 touchdowns.