North Webster hosts Loyola in pivotal district game Friday

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SPRINGHILL – The North Webster Knights are in the middle of an up-and-down 2015 campaign.

The Knights have seen the highest of highs (34-13 season opening win against Haynesville) and the lowest of lows (33-0 loss to Ouachita in week four).

One thing that hasn’t changed is the talent on the roster. Led by talented running backs Devin White and Jalen Smith, the Knights have gotten back on track after back-to-back losses against Minden and Ouachita.

At 4-2, and with the meat of what’s been a brutal schedule at their back, North Webster is in good shape to go unbeaten the rest of the way.

Many feel like the team the Knights are up against this week, Loyola College Prep (2-4) , could be the biggest threat to the district championship North Webster players and coaches covet so badly.

“Their record doesn’t indicate how good they are,” Knights head coach John Ware said. “They’re a very solid football team. They’ve played the No. 1 team in 1A and 2A, and lost a heartbreaker last week against Green Oaks.

They are coached up well and they have a good football team that’s going to come in here and give us a challenge.”

The Knights will be comfortable at home this week under the lights in Springhill.

North Webster’s two losses have actually come at home, a rarity for a program that’s built a significant homefield advantage. Regardless, Ware believes staying put and not having to travel will play a big role in this game, along with the home crowd.

“It’s a huge advantage to have this one here,” Ware said. “I told the kids all week this is a huge, district game and they’re coming in here with the mindset they can win. Our kids have a lot of respect for them after watching the film.”
Loyola’s defense comes into this game limping a bit, as the Flyers have given up 40 and 41 points in their last two games.

Ware said those scores can’t be in the back of his team’s mind, as they came against a different style opponent.

“Every matchup is different,” Ware said. “The teams that scored on them before were spread teams and there were some special teams scores involved too. They’re a big team up front and that’s always worse when you’re trying to run the football.”

Ware isn’t sure what type of approach will win out Friday night, noting he’ll be open to changing mid-game if the defense shows they can handle the run.

“We always go with the flow,” Ware said. “Our mentality is always to run the football, but if something else opens up then we’ll take it.”

Loyola ran mostly out of the I-formation last season, but have transformed into a spread team this season.

“They’ll still run some power plays at you,” Ware said. “Their running backs are both very good, they have a good tight end and a couple good wide receiver targets. The linemen also block very well, so that always poses problems when your defense is spread out. It’s something different than what they’ve done, but they’re doing it very well.”

Ware said his team knows they’ll have to be at their best to beat the Flyers, and they have worked with an increased focus this week.

“It’s been pretty good this week,” Ware said. “You could tell during the film session they understood this wasn’t no joke. Records don’t mean anything this time of year and our guys have focused in pretty good.”

Kickoff between the Flyers and Knights is at 7 p.m. in Springhill.

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