District 1-1A Football Preview: Calvary Baptist Primed For Championship-Caliber Season
by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
There is no doubt that Calvary Baptist had one of its most memorable seasons in program history as it cruised to the Division IV state title in 2020.
Cavaliers head coach Rodney Guin returns a majority of his team from last year and is primed to make another run at a championship this fall.
“We expect to field a very good football team,” said Guin. “We have numerous starters back on both sides of the ball. We’ll be very strong up front on both the offensive and defensive lines. We also have a very deep roster so we will have very few if any two-way starters.”
Calvary brings back seven of its offensive starters including starting quarterback and Louisiana Tech commit Landry Lyddy, who threw for over 3500 yards and 43 touchdowns as a junior.
The pro-style passer lost a few of his offensive weapons from last season but the Cavs have done a great job at grooming replacements with Aubrey Hermes and Miles Williams stepping up to help lead the attack on Friday nights.
Defensively, the defending state champions also return seven starters and will be led by lineman Denham Smith who recorded 63 tackles and was selected the district’s MVP in 2020.
Outside of district competition, the Cavs face a pair of tough road tests in Logansport (Sept. 3) and Archbishop Rummel (Sept. 25.)
After a near-decade of multiple coaching changes and dwindling participation, the Homer Pelicans have once again become a respectable program in North Louisiana.
The turn-around began after the former player turned coach Richie Casey took over the program in 2019. Since then Homer has turned in consecutive seasons of seven or more wins as well as an appearance in the Class 1A semifinals in 2020.
Perhaps one of the biggest feats for the young head coach and his Pelican squad was defeating long-time rival Haynesville last year, the first time since 2010.
Homer returns only 12 lettermen from last season but is fortunate to have most of its offense intact for the 2021 season. However, the Pelicans will have to rely on the experience group while its defense works out some kinks early in the season.
“We’re returning mostly all of our offense from last year so we should be a little better,” said Casey. “There will be a lot of new faces on defense but those guys can do what we need them to do. I’m expecting to have a real competitive team this year.”
Homer picked up a first-place vote in the preseason coaches poll and is expected to finish within the top two spots in District 1-1A. The Pelicans gave Calvary Baptist a run for its money last season before the Cavs pulled away for a 35-21 victory, the smallest margin of victory over a district opponent.
It’s not too often that Haynesville is not selected as the top team in its district. However, the last couple of years have not been too kind for the Golden Tornado as they navigated through a rebuilding phase.
However, it is never wise to count out the 17-time state champions, especially towards the start of the postseason. Head coach David Franklin always has his teams primed and ready to compete whether it’s in a scrimmage or for the state title.
Although the Tors return just 12 lettermen from last season’s squad that posted an 8-4 record, eight return on offense as well as on the defensive side.
Some of those expected to make an impact for Haynesville in 2021 are returning quarterback Kyle Woodard, fullback Alonzo Jackson, tight end Keegan Goodwin, lineman Kemarion Ivory and tight end Toby Franklin among a host of other contributors.
“We have a lot of returning starters from the 2020 season, but we will still be young,” said Franklin. “It’s going to be tough early, but by mid-season hopefully we will gain some valuable experience and play well.”
The Golden Tornado takes on North Webster and Junction City, Arkansas in the early portion of their 2021 slate before entering district play.
Another team to always keep an eye out for is the Arcadia Hornets who return eight on offense and six on defense for this 2021 campaign.
Head coach Dimitri Carr is excited to see how this team progresses in his ninth season at the helm.
“I expect our team to be very competitive this year,” said Carr. “We have the ability to go out and get five to seven wins to help our position in the power points and draw a good seed for the playoffs.”
The Hornets look to bounce back from a dismal outing last season plus losing its starting quarterback. However, the determination will play a huge part in returning to a competitive standard.
Arcadia will look to running back Markecion Carr, who ran for 397 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore while the defense will lean on safety Delandric Jones and defensive lineman Michael Harris.
Head coach Christopher Wilson has already made a huge impact in changing the culture at Plain Dealing. It continues to show as participation numbers continue to rise and players buy into his vision of building a championship program.
“We will be a small team that will field maybe 20 players, due to graduation and new regime weeding out players unwilling to adapt to the changes in the program,” said Wilson. “However, we hope that we can remain healthy throughout the season and not be forced to play other team members that are definitely not ready for Friday nights. Either way, it’ll be an adventure.”
The Lions return a majority of their offense back from last season led by quarterback Braeden Sterling and tight end Kendric Blanks.
On defense, Wilson will depend on a few of his veterans to lead a unit that lost seven starters from the 2020 campaign.
Lincoln Prep hopes to find its groove early in the season in order to compete against a tough district slate.
The Panthers return just four lettermen from its 2020 squad with Chauncey Harper and Imani Marcel coming back to help lead the fray.
Head coach Glen Hall will no doubt be tasked with finding some new talent to step up and make a difference in order to get his team back into the playoff picture.
If there was ever one team to overlook, it would be the Ringgold Redskins. But be warned, this is not the same Ringgold football program that teams are used to seeing across the field on Friday nights.
Head coach Shon Trent is part of a new regime that has jump-started the Redskin athletic program and developed an attitude of winning and success in just his first two years on the job.
“We are continuing to build a culture that instills in every player hard work and a dedication to building a football program that prides itself on imposing its will on the opponent,” said Trent. The 2021 football season will definitely be the start of the “Gold Standard” era at Ringgold High School.”
Despite COVID-19 related issues preventing them from playing a full schedule, Ringgold excelled in other athletic programs last season and it has Trent’s handprints all over it.
The Redskins’ track team won multiple events back in the spring that allowed an appearance into the state meet in Baton Rouge. The speed and execution are key in helping to compete on the gridiron.
“This season looks very bright,” said Trent. “A lot of new faces in every position but players are wanting to prove something in 2021.”
Ringgold’s defense will be anchored by a front line led by sophomore Andre Ivory and senior Antwaun Patterson, who are big and motivated to prove something.
Speed will also play a key factor with dynamic tailback Tyrin Cunningham able to break loose if given the opportunity and three-year starting receiver Monroe McCarthy, who in the slot can be a game-breaker at any point.
District 1-1A receives a newcomer for the 2021 season as Glenbrook begins its first season as a member of the LHSAA.
The Apaches, who competed in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) has long been a championship-winning program in North Louisiana and hopes to continue that success in its new membership.
Led by veteran head coach David Feaster, Glenbrook returns seven of its offensive starters from last season while the defense lost just two from a year ago.
“There will be plenty of returning experience at the skill positions to take the pressure off the eventual signal-caller,” said Feaster. “Defensively, we return most of a very talented group from last year.”
Landry Powell and Ty Feaster are expected to battle for the starting quarterback spot while Hayden Harmon returns to anchor the Apache defense.
Glenbrook opens its first LHSAA season against a familiar foe in old MAIS rival River Oaks.
Magnolia School of Excellence has the ability to make more improvements this season as it returns six on offense and defense.
The Mariners won their first game as a varsity program last season and hope to gain more ground as the team prepares for a more normal campaign in 2021.
The school announced Toriano Williams as its new head coach for the 2021 football season Thursday afternoon.
“I expect us to compete and be a better productive team than last year,” said assistant coach Johnathan Collins. “We have a great number of kids returning on both sides of the ball and a lot of good solid athletes that just joined us. This year is gonna be worth the effort and energy we are and will put in till August.”
Tailback Me’Ciah Butler returns for Magnolia after rushing for over 1000 yards last season along with six touchdowns.
2021 District 1-1A Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|Place||School (first-place votes)||Points|
|1.||Calvary Baptist (8)||72|
|9.||Magnolia School of Excellence||22|
Coaches could not vote for their own team.
Coach: Dimitri Carr (9th year)
2020 Record: 2-6, lost in first round of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 8/6
Players to watch: RB Markecion Carr (5-10, 158); SS Delandric Jones (6-3, 179); DT Michael Harris (6-2, 236); DT Dimitri Carr II (5-10, 167)
Quote from Carr: “I expect our team to be very competitive this year. We have the ability to go out and get five to seven wins to help our position in the power points and draw a good seed for the playoffs”
Calvary Baptist Cavaliers
Coach: Rodney Guin (5th year)
2020 Record: 9-2, Division IV State Champions
Starters returning O/D: 7/7
Players to watch: QB Landry Lyddy (6-0, 190); DL Denham Smith (6-1, 235); WR Aubrey Hermes; TE Miles Williams (6-2, 235); OL Jimmy Wright (6-3, 275)
Quote from Guin: “We’ll be very strong up front on both the offensive and defensive lines. We also have a very deep roster so we will have very few if any two-way starters.”
Coach: David Feaster (5th year)
2020 Record: 5-5, member of Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS)
Starters returning O/D: 7/9
Players to watch: LB Hayden Harmon (5-10, 190); WR/CB Maddox Mandino (5-7); QB/LB Landry Powell (6-0, 190); DL Jonathan Bryant (5-9, 215)
Quote from Feaster: “The biggest question mark heading into the 2021 season and into the LHSAA will be who takes over the quarterback role from three-year starter Jackson Powell.”
Haynesville Golden Tornado
Coach: David Franklin (20th year)
2020 Record: 7-3, lost in quarterfinals of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 8/8
Players to watch: TE/DE Keegan Goodwin (6-2, 180); TE/FB/LB Toby Franklin (6-0, 215); OG/DE Kemarion Ivory (6-0, 235); WB/DB J’Karius Turner (5-10, 175); FB/LB Alonzo Jackson (5-11, 170); C/DT Germetrius Speech (6-1, 315); G/DE Kentavious Watts (6-1, 225)
Quote from Franklin: “It’s going to be tough early, but by mid-season hopefully, we will gain some valuable experience and play well.”
Coach: Richie Casey (3rd year)
2020 Record: 8-3, lost in semifinals of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 8/5
Players to watch: MLB/RT Cameron Winzer (6-0, 235), SS/WR Brendon Harris (6-2, 193), C/WR Tekeldrick Webb (6-2, 175), C/WR Devante Champ (6-4, 170), DE/RG Walteze Champ (5-11, 220), DE/LG John Watts (5-11, 230)
Quote from Casey: “Going to be a lot of new faces on defense but those guys can do what we need them to. I’m expecting to have a real competitive team this year.”
Lincoln Prep Panthers
Coach: Glen Hall (6th year)
2020 Record: 1-7, missed playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 3/2
Players to watch: Imani Marcel (6-2, 350); Chauncey Harper (5-9, 175)
Quote from Hall: N/A
Magnolia School of Excellence Mariners
Coach: Toriano Williams (1st year)
2020 Record: 1-6, lost in first round of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 6/6
Players to watch: RB Me’Ciah Butler (5-10, 207); OL Leon Robertson (6-3, 327)
Quote from Henderson: “We have a great number of kids returning on both sides of the ball and a lot of good solid athletes that just joined us.”
Plain Dealing Lions
Coach: Christopher Wilson (2nd year)
2020 Record: 3-5, missed playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 4/8
Players to watch: TE/DE Kendric Blanks (6-5, 198); QB/LB Braeden Sterling (6-1, 200); RB/SS Junior Colton Davis; LB/OL Mason Judah (5-11, 175); RB/DB Tyrese Kimble (6-0, 170)
Quote from Wilson: “We hope that we can remain healthy throughout the season and not be forced to play middle school players and other members that are definitely not ready for Friday nights. Either way, it’ll be an adventure. ”
Coach: Shon Trent (2nd year)
2020 Record: 0-2, missed playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 8/5
Players to watch: RB Tyrin Cunningham (5-9, 178); WR Monroe McCarthy (5-9, 165); OL/DL Antwaun Patterson (6-3, 265); OL/DL Andre Ivory (6-3, 285); RB/LB Kuravion Manning (5-10, 205); RB/LB Devin Rushing (5-8, 155); OL/DL Jyshon Marshall (6-3, 265); DL/OL Carlos Madden (5-9, 210)
Quote from Trent: “Our staff has built a culture that instills in every player hard work and dedication to building a football program that prides itself on imposing its will on the opponent.”