Marksville goes on Bear hunt at Bolton; Mustangs vs. Warhorses in 3AAA ‘derby’; Bunkie opens 3AA season against Many

This Week's Games

By Raymond L. Daye

    Marksville plays BHS and Bunkie plays the MHS Tigers in Friday night football action this week.
    Sorry Catskin fans, it’s not what you hoped.
    Marksville takes on the Bolton Bears and the streaking Panthers open their 5-game 3AA season against defending state champion and district rival Many Tigers. Bunkie beat another MHS Tigers team last week, pulverizing Montgomery 31-8.
Marksville vs. Bolton
     Before going into the game with Bolton, Tiger Coach J.T. Dunbar needs to be aware that the Louisiana black bear is still protected by state and federal laws. Therefore, he should avoid doing anything that might endanger this protected animal.
     However, I think the only question he will be asking himself in this bear hunt is whether to stuff the whole thing and stand it in the corner of the den like a furry statue or go for a classic rug in front of the fireplace.
      If this were a Quiz Bowl or a Mathlete competition, we would bet the house on Bolton. Unfortunately for the Bears, this is a football game -- and the Tigers have guys in the pressbox that can add up the score for them. (Just kidding, Coach).
Avoyelles vs. Peabody
     Avoyelles High goes to Homecoming twice in two weeks, playing a rare Saturday game at Peabody that pits Mustang against Warhorse in a 3AAA “derby.”
     The Mustangs sank the Vidalia Vikings, 70-20, for the AHS Homecoming to even their district record at 1-1.
     Peabody is 0-1, suffering a 34-0 defeat at the hands of Marksville last week and having their victory over Winnfield taken away due to a fight that erupted in their district opener.
     The Warhorses went into the game against the Tigers short-handed, with star quarterback Wanya Kirklin suspended for one game for the Winnfield fight. Four other starters were also sidelined for disciplinary reasons and two others were out with injuries.
     What all that means is, unfortunately for the Mustangs, they won’t be facing the same team that Marksville did.
     Peabody is a “big play” team that can score quick and often.
     Avoyelles is a “ground-and-pound” team that can eat up a half with three possessions. Coach Andy Boone likes to say, “They can’t score if they don’t have the ball.”
     In the Mustangs’ game against Marksville, however, Avoyelles came away with no points at the end of two long possessions that consumed over 20 minutes of the first 24 minutes of play.
     The Tigers, on the other hand, ran five plays on three possessions and went into the locker room up 21-0. The two teams traded licks in the second half, with Marksville taking a 48-24 win to start their district title chase off right.
     As I cautioned Vidalia in their game with Avoyelles last week, I must note that Peabody is looking for redemption and seeking to put a thus-far frustrating season back on a positive track. Consider these points: (1) Peabody needs to show everyone that they are the Warhorses, not the Ponies -- as in the “one trick” variety. (2) They are still stinging from the “no contest” decision on the Winnfield game that puts them “behind the eight ball” as Coach Bennie Vault Jr. noted. (3) It’s Homecoming at Warhorse Stadium.
    The only plus on the Mustang side of the ledger is that it is the kind of team that runs “big play” teams crazy -- but only if they are able to hold the ball for seven or eight minutes at a time and come away with eight points per trip, recover at least one onsides kick or forced turnover, and make at least one defensive stop during the game. 
    The Mustang defense, much maligned over the past few years, has made stops on the line and batted away would-be touchdowns in the secondary so far this year.
Bunkie vs. Many
     Everyone is looking at the Bunkie-Many game to see if this year’s version of the Panthers is for real or just the result of some really good pre-conference scheduling.
     Bunkie does not have to win to prove it is for real. Of course, winning would be good. It certainly beats the alternative. So, if Bunkie wants to win this game, it’s okay with us.
     However, given the caliber of the team they are facing, a “good showing” would be considered a victory for the Panthers and their loyal fans.
     In District 3AA, five teams are playing for second place honors, anyhow. Yes, Many is THAT good.
Strength Ratings
     MaxPreps’ strength ratings have put the Tigers on top again among the parish’s three varsity teams, ranking Marksville as the state’s 119th strongest varsity team.  Bolton is 299th.
     Bunkie is No. 127, facing Many at No. 72.
     Avoyelles is considered the 211th strongest team, going up against Peabody at No. 160.