Wildcats head to Logansport for quarters

Published 1:09 am Friday, November 24, 2017

For the second straight year, Varnado is playing Thanksgiving week and for the second year in a row, the Wildcats are heading to Logansport to play in the Class 1A quarterfinals round of the state playoffs.
“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Logansport. Logansport is becoming part of our Thanksgiving family,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said.
The Wildcats started out OK last year, but went south soon after. Varnado took a 6-0 lead and had a chance to go up by double figures, but two turnovers led to 15 points by the Tigers, who ended up scoring 36 unanswered in a 50-14 final.
Both teams have won two lopsided games in the postseason.
Fourth-seeded Varnado, which has four straight victories and an 8-3 record, has wins of 54-0 and 58-18 over No. 29 Ringgold and No. 13 Arcadia, respectively.
Fifth-seeded and defending Class 1A state champion Logansport has won contests of 52-0 and 48-0 over No. 28 North Central and No. 21 Homer, respectively.
The winner will play either top-seeded West St. John or No. 8 Jonesboro-Hodge.
“At this time of the year, it’s the playoffs,” Shaffett said. “It’s win or go home. Most teams are at home and very few are still playing. It’s an honor to be playing this week. It says a lot about your program when you’re still playing in the third round of the playoffs, because most schools aren’t.
“There are a lot of schools wishing they were where we are now and we thank God for being here. Over 75 percent of the Louisiana football teams are at home right now. Can you think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving?”
Desmond Harry led the Wildcats’ rushing attack with 209 yards on the ground and three touchdowns against Arcadia. Harry also caught a pass for 18 yards.
Jaccorious Bickham posted 42 yards on the ground with a touchdown. He also caught a pass for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Jadarrell Magee ran for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback James Williams threw for 56 yards, completed four of his five pass attempts and he threw the touchdown to Bickham.
Armontee Kemp caught a pass for 9 yards while Ardaryl McGowan had a catch for 5 yards.
Defensively, the Wildcats jumped out to a 22-12 lead early in the second quarter. After that, the defense did not allow a touchdown until early in the fourth quarter.
The defense also scored a touchdown when JoNathan Green took the ball away from an Arcadia ball carrier, who was trying about to score, and ran it back 99 yards the other way for the game’s final points.
“We went out last Friday and played fantastic in every phase,” Shaffett said. “We were great in every aspect — offense, defense and special teams. We need to do that again, and limit penalties and turnovers.”
Logansport enters this week riding a 26-game winning streak, dating back to the opening week of last season. The Tigers went 14-0 last year en route to the title and have gone 12-0 this year. Their last loss was to Kentwood in the quarterfinals of the 2015 playoffs, 67-32. Kentwood won that state title, 40-7 over Haynesville.
“Obviously being a rematch of the same game last year, being here is going to be helpful as far as the travel with the geographical difference. It makes travel tough,” Logansport coach Kevin Magee said. “He’s got the same team as he had last year except like one guy.
“They’re bigger than us and they’re fast. They’re going to be tough to defend because of what they do. It’s fun whenever you get to play on Thanksgiving week. Most coaches in our profession use Thanksgiving week as to how your season goes.”
Quarterback Dalton Shaw has put up eye-popping numbers over the last two years.
He has thrown for 5,127 yards with 67 touchdowns, but has also only thrown just two interceptions in the last two seasons in 459 pass attempts.
He has competed 312 of those passes (67.9 percent).
This year, Shaw, who has 37 yards and a touchdown, has thrown for 2,456 yards with 32 touchdowns and one interception. Magee said the pick happened when he was hit from behind, the ball popped up and a defensive lineman caught it for the interception.
“He’s just a phenomenal kid. He comes to work everyday. He’s a three-year starter. He’s never missed anything with me — 7-on-7s, workouts, practices, anything. He’s cancelled family vacations to make 7-on-7s,” Magee said.
Tresmin Brown is the team leader in rushing with 1,250 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Logansport has thrown for 2,579 yards and 34 touchdowns and has run for 2,230 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Madrid Johnson has 232 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns. He also has 35 catches for 629 yards, and five touchdowns.
John Stephens Jr. enters with 41 catches for 797 yards and 15 touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories.
Trevion Daughtry enters Friday’s game with 31 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.
Linebacker Devin Gabriel is the team leader in tackles with 113, and 13 of them are for a loss.
LeKadrian Turner has 80 tackles, including 15 for a loss.
He and Stephens are the team’s sack leaders with six each.
Jerrius Jackson has five interceptions.