By Trent Friedel, Exclusive to the Times
Preseason football action started Friday evening at Turpin stadium on the campus of Northwestern State University. The annual jamboree had all three Natchitoches parish teams in action. The first game had the Lakeview Gators facing off against the Bolton Bears from Alexandria. Second game action pitted the Natchitoches Central Chiefs against the Many Tigers. The final game had Saint Mary’s playing Ringgold. The Bolton Bears won the toss and elected to receive the ball to start action. Bolton wasted little time in getting their offense to be productive. They drove down and scored with 7:26 remaining on the first half clock. Lakeview could not muster an offensive drive and were forced to punt on their first possession.
Bolton made the Gators pay for the miscue by scoring again in only two plays. A 42 yard pass play resulted in a Bear lead of 16-0 as the two point conversion was good. Lakeview finally settled into their offensive behind solid running by #2. The Gators would advance as far as the Bear 25 before a mishandled snap from center resulted in third and a long 13. Bolton would take over on downs at their own 45. Bolton got a first down on this drive but #19 comes up with a big time interception and advances to the Bolton 35. Lakeview gets the ball to the 13 yard line with 36 seconds on the clock before half time.
#4 Will Brew carries the ball for the 13 yards to score as time expired in the first half. The two point conversion with zeros on the clock is good and the lead shrinks to 16-8 Bears. Bolton would again make a methodical drive in the early minutes of the second half. #1 scores on a seven yard run and punishes a Lakeview defender at the goal line. A penalty on the PAT results in an unsuccessful attempt and the score stands at Bears 22, Gators 8.
The Lakeview Gators answer that with a score of their own on a 48 yard run by #4 Brew who also converts the two point attempt. Score 22-16. Bolton gets the ball on the kickoff and begins to eat clock with the lead. The Bears do just enough to get first downs. The Bears however commit back to back to back illegal procedure penalties to set up 2nd and an Uber ride to reach a first down. Lakeview Gator #19 almost picks off another pass and that brings up 3rd and 30. The Bears are unable to get a first and Lakeview has possession and time to try and score. They are unable to keep a drive going and give the Bears the ball back with 5 minutes to play. Bolton then milks the play and game clocks to let time expire and take a 22-16 victory back to Alexandria.
Coach Helms remarked on the loss, “Our kids played hard but we made lots of mistakes. We have a lot of work to do to correct those mistakes but I’m really proud of how hard we played.”