Non-Select Division IV State Championship Preview: Haynesville vs. Oak Grove

by Hunter Bower // Owner

No. 3 Oak Grove (11-2) vs. No. 4 Haynesville (12-1)

Thursday, Dec. 7 | 7 p.m. | Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LA
Tickets | Watch – NFHS Network ($)

Distance To New Orleans: Haynesville (364 miles), Oak Grove (275 miles)

No. 3 Oak Grove Tigers (11-2)

Head Coach: Ryan Gregory (10th year at school, 102-30)

State Finals History: 7 state titles – 2022 (NS DIV); 2020 (1A); 2019 (1A); 2001 (1A); 1999 (1A); 1991 (1A); 1989 (1A); 5 runner-up finishes – 2018 (1A); 2004 (1A); 1997 (2A); 1986 (1A); 1964 (1A)

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat No. 19 Lake Arthur, 49-20
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 6 Mangham, 31-30
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 2 Kentwood, 49-28

The Skinny:

Get ready for a gridiron showdown as Oak Grove High School’s football powerhouse, the Tigers, gear up to defend their Non-Select Division IV title. With a rich tradition that never graduates, Oak Grove is eyeing its eighth state championship, aiming for a back-to-back victory after a dominant postseason.

This marks Oak Grove’s third appearance in the Prep Classic within five years, showcasing their consistent excellence on the football field. Last year, they clinched the title by defeating Homer, and now, they face a familiar foe in the championship game – the Haynesville Golden Tornado. The Tigers had previously handed Haynesville a 61-27 defeat during the regular season, but the Golden Tornado is hungry for redemption. This championship clash isn’t new for these teams, as Oak Grove triumphed over Haynesville in the Caesars Superdome back in 1989.

Oak Grove’s journey to the championship has been marked by resilience, with their only two losses coming against formidable semifinal squads, Ouachita Christian and Sterlington. Undeterred, the Tigers have surged into championship weekend on a ten-game winning streak, ready to face any challenge head-on.

At the heart of Oak Grove’s offensive prowess is quarterback Jackson Bradley, orchestrating a high-scoring unit that averages an impressive 43 points per game. Bradley’s targets, wide receivers Brodie Stewart and Jay Freeman, form an outstanding supporting cast through the air and on the ground. Defensively, Oak Grove is a force to be reckoned with, boasting homegrown talent led by linebackers Seth Ray and James Harris, along with the formidable presence of defensive tackle Gunner Hale.

As Oak Grove looks to etch another chapter in its storied football legacy, the Tigers are primed for a championship battle, drawing on their tradition, resilience, and the collective skill of a team that’s proven itself on every yard of the gridiron.

Averages: Scoring 43.2 points per game, allowing 20.3 points per game

Signature wins: Opelousas Catholic (Sept. 1); Haynesville (Oct. 6); Mangham (Nov. 24); Kentwood (Dec. 1)

No. 4 Haynesville Golden Tornado (12-1)

Head Coach: David Franklin (22nd year at school, 219-63)

State Finals History: 17 state titles – 2014 (1A); 2013 (1A); 2009 (1A); 2000 (1A); 1996 (2A); 1995 (2A); 1994 (2A); 1993 (2A); 1991 (2A); 1990 (1A); 1987 (1A); 1984 (1A); 1971 (2A); 1970 (2A); 1936 (1A); 1929 (1A); 1924; 9 runner-up finishes –  2016 (1A); 2015 (1A); 2012 (1A); 1989 (1A); 1988 (1A); 1983 (1A); 1972 (2A); 1938 (2A); 1932 (1A)

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat No. 20 General Trass, 48-22
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 5 Jeanerette, 36-6
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 1 Logansport, 31-14

The Skinny:

In the heartland of Louisiana football, the Haynesville Golden Tornado stands as an indomitable force, etching their legacy with 866 overall victories—the most in the state’s high school football history. A powerhouse with 17 championship titles to its name, the Golden Tornado returns to the grand stage after a six-year hiatus, ready to add another chapter to its storied narrative.

Having consecutively graced the Prep Classic from 2012 to 2016, Haynesville aims for glory in its 26th state football championship appearance. However, standing in their path is a familiar foe, the Oak Grove Tigers, who handed the Golden Tornado a 61-27 defeat earlier in the regular season. In the 12th clash between the two titans, Haynesville seeks redemption, striving to dethrone Oak Grove in the Non-Select Division IV title game.

Despite the regular-season setback, optimism looms large as Haynesville’s defense has emerged as a formidable force, stifling four of its last six opponents to six points or less. The Golden Tornado’s recent offensive prowess, showcased in victories over No. 5 Jeanerette and top-seeded Logansport, has propelled them to the pinnacle—the LHSAA Prep Classic.

As the Golden Tornado prepares for the ultimate showdown, the echoes of their illustrious past and the hunger for championship glory reverberate through the Louisiana gridiron. Haynesville’s quest for an 18th state football title is a testament to the resilience of a team with an unmatched legacy—a legacy that seeks to add yet another triumphant chapter in the annals of Louisiana high school football.

Averages: Scoring 37.9 points per game, allowing 15.1 points per game

Signature wins: Harmony Grove, AR (Sept. 8); Glenbrook (Sept. 22), Homer (Nov. 3); Logansport (Dec. 1)