Isn’t it crazy to think about how quickly the season has gone by?
This high school football season has been anything but predictable, though there hasn’t been an excess of thrilling games to speak of (at least not in comparison to Benton’s season).
However we got here, the last week of the regular season will obviously be a defining moment for each of the three area teams still playing. Glenbrook finished their season with a playoff berth and now are moving on to preparing for next year.
The Tide have the most to lose, so let’s start with them.
Heading into tonight’s game against North DeSoto, Minden are in the last playoff spot according to the LHSAA 4-A power ratings. The Tide moved up two spots to #32 after last week’s dismantling of Bossier.
It was an expected win. Outside of improving morale and getting some much-needed confidence, the game with Bossier wasn’t hugely impactful. We all knew it would come down to this game against North DeSoto.
The Griffins are #11 in the state thanks to a 7-2 record. It’s tough to say prior to the game how well Minden match up with the Griffins.
North DeSoto obliterated North Webster early in the season (though the Knights were without starting quarterback Tyrell Markray). Their losses came to Benton and Northwood.
The Griffins have an excellent running back in Rykendrick Simpson. He has five 100-yard rushing games this season.
If the Tide can hold off Simpson and force some turnovers, it will position the Minden offense to methodically march down the field.
But, let’s be honest, Minden only has a shot if they can take care of the ball. If the Tide had even a reasonable turnover ratio this season, their record would most likely be reversed.
That’s a lot of ‘ifs’ if you are a Minden fan. But, with one win, Minden could sneak into the playoffs. They are talented enough to do so and be a problem for a high seed.
North Webster snagged a share of the district title last week when they beat Green Oaks. If they can win tonight at Loyola, they will take sole possession of the district title.
Loyola has a potent passing attack, something that the Knights have struggled with all season.
Quarterback Jacob Allen has been calling the shots for the Flyers for a long time now, something that does not escape North Webster coach John Ware when planning for tonight’s game.
“They have players on offense who have been starters for them for two or three years,” Ware said. “That kind of experience can be tough to beat.”
The Knights match up well everywhere else on the field, though. Ware is a master at winning the field position battle. He does it by not taking the risks that some coaches do, preferring the long game to the short one.
He will need every advantage he can find to win at Loyola.
Lakeside head coach Jason McClendon has spoken all season about his team’s mental toughness. Tonight’s game against Mansfield will prove to a litmus test for where Lakeside is as a program.
A win over Mansfield would be a statement in a season full of program-defining moments for the Warriors. They have a record-setting offense with Jacquez Lott and Travion Sanders. If they want to make a run in the playoffs, they’ll need big performances out of their defense. That starts tonight against Mansfield.