Demons travel to West Monroe tonight to battle against Rebels

Published 7:51 am Friday, September 23, 2016

Franklinton is on the road this week, heading to West Monroe to take on the Rebels in a game between teams that have a tradition of winning.

The Demons have been to the Class 4A state semifinals in each of the past two years and the quarterfinals the year before. Since 2009, the Demons have won a state title (2010), been runner-up once (2009) and been to the semifinals twice.

West Monroe has won Class 5A the title twice (2009, 2011), been state runner-up twice (2008, 2010) and been to the semifinals twice (2012, 2014).

Franklinton is among the teams receiving votes in the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association Class 4A poll.

“It’s a long trip to play a quality opponent,” Franklinton coach Stephen Burris said. “We have to play really well and we hope to get out of this without any more injuries.”

Injuries have been tough on Franklinton. The Demons are still missing three starters because of injuries, but do have two players coming back. Burris said that because of the injuries, they were playing their fifth and sixth cornerbacks last week.

The Demons are 1-2 and won their first game of the season Friday night, 18-6 over Bogalusa.

Burris said the defense played well up front last week, especially ends Carson Ragas and LaMount Harris, along with linebackers James Bickham, Chandler Scott and Jayden Ard.

Last week, Scott had eight solo tackles with an assist and a half of a sack. Bickham had five solo tackles with five assists. Harris finished with six individual tackles, six assists and 0.5 sacks. Ragas logged four solo tackles, three assists and 2.5 sacks. Rodney King had three solo tackles, one assist, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Offensively, Tahj Magee has thrown for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He has also run for 431 yards and five touchdowns.

Mike Martin enters tonight with 215 rushing yards and a touchdown.

West Monroe won last season’s game, 23-6.

“They came up here last year and played outstanding football,” West Monroe coach Jerry Arledge said. “During the regular season, they played us about as good as anybody did last year. Coach (Shane) Smith (who was FHS’s head coach through last season) started this last year and said he wanted to make a road trip up here. It’s good for us and I hope it’s good for them.

“They’ve got a very good quarterback. He was a sophomore last year and he was good then. He throws it exceptionally well and his receivers catch it well. When you start breaking them down, they have very few tendencies. They are very balanced — maybe a little heavier on the run — and they run and throw out of all of the formations.”

The Rebels have two quarterbacks that split time.

Arledge said Robert Scott Foust is a tall player who throws it well and runs it adequately. Slade Bolden, who plays quarterback, slot back, wide receiver, free safety, cornerback and other positions, is the other signal caller.

Trey Coleman is the tailback and Trace Mayo — who Arledge said is a very good blocker — is the fullback.

The receivers are Taylor Young and Jarius Henry.

Arledge said his top defenders are end Dennis Collins (6-foot-2, 250), lineman/tackle Mylan Ard (6-1, 300), linebacker J.B. Gullatt and strong safety Sawyer Passman.

Gullatt, a junior, has ties to Pine.

His grandfather Ricky Branch is a former basketball coach at Pine and his mother Angela Gullatt is a former Pine basketball player.

Arledge talked about Gullatt.

“We call him the tackle machine,” Arledge said. “He made 23 tackles against John Curtis (in week 2). Last week, he made 24. He’s a pretty productive kid for us.”

Last week, Passman blocked a punt for a touchdown, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.