SHREVEPORT – The Minden Crimson Tide probably won’t be saying no to any future chances at playing in Independence Stadium.
The Tide improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 under the big lights in Shreveport with a 34-18 win over the Huntington Raiders.
“I think our speed really shows on that turf,” Minden head coach Spencer Heard said. “We certainly like playing their in the big stadium.”
The Tide were all over the Raiders from the opening kick. Huntington won the coin toss and deferred to the second half sending the Minden offense out first. On their opening possession, the Tide moved the ball with precision, capping the drive with a 35-yard Patrick Heard touchdown run down the sideline on a speed sweep.
Following a stop by the Minden defense, the Tide offense went back to work at their own 32-yard line. The drive featured a heavy dose of tight end Kelcey Miller, starting with a 16-yard reception, then a pass interference call on Huntington on a pass intended for Miller and culminating with the catch of the season.
Antonio Rivette faked a handoff to Patrick Heard, rolled left and delivered a bomb into the back of the end zone.
Two Huntington defenders were draped on Miller, who somehow managed to get in between them, locate the football and reel in a one-handed snag similar to the one Odell Beckham Jr. made on Sunday Night Football for the Giants two years ago. The highlight-reel catch and a successful Patrick Heard PAT made the score 13-0 in favor of the Tide with 4 minutes and change left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Tide and Raiders traded stops before Minden’s offense went back to work before the half.
This time, it was all about the Tide running backs, as Rykarrion Robinson, Patrick Heard and Kolby Jackson took turns weaving their way through the Huntington defense. The drive was finished off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Robinson to give Minden a 20-0 lead.
After another three-and-out by the stingy Crimson Swarm defense, Rivette found Miller for the duo’s second touchdown connection with 26 seconds to play in the first half, giving Minden a commanding 27-0 lead at halftime.
I thought our offensive line played really well,” Heard said. “That group’s coming together. They allowed our guys to make plays while the defense was playing pretty well. Patrick had some good runs and Kelcey made some really great catches. Our rotation of running backs just went to grinding on them after that.”
The second half saw Jamin Oliver get into the end zone with a 24-yard scamper, his second TD of the season.
The starting defense for Minden finally gave up a touchdown following a string of 11-consecutive quarters without allowing a score. The Minden second-string allowed two more late Raider touchdowns once the game was well out-of-reach.
Rivette finished 7-of-14 passing with 114 yards and 2 touchdowns to Miller. Minden’s star tight end finished with 93 yards and the 2 scores on 5 catches to lead all receivers.
Patrick Heard led the rushing attack with 6 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, followed by Jackson with 54 yards on 6 carries and Oliver with 5 carries for 35 yards and a score. Tavarius Edwards added 35 yards on 3 carries.
Now, Minden returns home to face Benton in The Pit.
“I don’t have any qualms about us,” Heard said. “We just need to come up with a good gameplan. I know our guys are going to be fired up, but we have to study this team and make sure we’re prepared.”