Avoyelles Parish's three varsity teams open football season Friday

This Friday's Games

By Raymond L. Daye

   The three varsity football teams open their season Friday night. As we did last year, we will be looking at the three games and using the MaxPreps “strength rating” to give readers an idea of at least what a supposedly unbiased, objective rating service thinks about the teams involved. Everybody goes in at 0-0 this week.

   Avoyelles hosts the Welsh Greyhounds. Bunkie is on the road to Pine Prairie for a battle of Panthers. Marksville travels to take on the Charging Indians of Washington-Marion.

   MaxPreps would give Marksville a slight edge in its match up, ranking the Tigers 148 in the state compared to W-M’s 156. The Greyhounds should win the race against the Mustangs, the online rater says. Welsh is 158th while AHS is 210th to start the year. The cat fight in Pine Prairie should end with Bunkie 1-0, MaxPreps indicates. Bunkie is 236th in the state power ranking and Pine Prairie is 243rd.

   Readers should remember, however, that the power rankings were not always a good indicator of outcomes last year.

   Football fans saw a glimpse of what to expect this year during this past Friday’s Jamboree. The 15-minute contests between the three schools ended with Avoyelles 1-0-1, Bunkie 1-1 and Marksville 0-1-1.

   Marksville played “ugly,” and made too many mistakes, Coach J.T. Dunbar said. Still, the Tigers start the year as Avoyelles Parish’s top-rated school. Marksville appears to be the most balanced of the three teams. It does not have a particularly stingy defense nor is it blessed with a high-powered, high-scoring offense. However, they are competent and able on both sides of the ball. On offense, they are also balanced between a solid ground game and a better-than-average passing game.

   Coach Andy Boone is pleased with the power and speed of his ground game and surprised opponents with an aerial attack. It will be interesting to see if the Mustangs take to the air more this year. Avoyelles had to settle for a tie with Marksville due to some costly errors on offense. Boone is also well-aware that a fumble and a lost onside kick will play havoc with the Mustangs’ “keep away” game plan.

   Bunkie has its third coach in its last three opening games with Freddie Hallman taking over after the departure of Kevin Cook. The Panthers are in a tough AA division, but their efforts at the Jamboree have given die-hard Pantherites reason to smile and hope for a few more W’s this year.

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