Natchitoches Central comes up short in their season opener, losing 31-13 to Lake Charles College Prep

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Ronald Smith, #2, runs over an LCCP defender for the first down. Photos by LeRon Massey, Freelance Photographer

After much deliberation on when a football season would happen, the season began last week as Natchitoches Central opened with a home game in week 1 against Lake Charles College Prep (LCCP). Central finished the game with 164 rushing yards for an average of 2.7 yards per carry. Leading rusher for Natchitoches Central was Caylin Demars with 123 yards. Coach James Wilkerson, first year head coach of Natchitoches Central, wanted to run the ball to control the clock so they could keep LCCP’s athletes off the field and defensive.

“The game plan was to run the football and kind of control the clock and keep their athletes off the field because they have a whole bunch of them over there,” said Coach Wilkerson. “Defensively we wanted to line up in different formation and keep the ball in front of us. When we did that, we did things right and had success.” COVID-19 has taken away a lot of preparation. Wilkerson did not get a chance to have spring ball with his players and their scrimmage game Sept. 25 was the first time the coach got to see his players play live football.

Braylin Demars, #3, closes in the make the tackle on a LCCP reciever

“We are still learning stuff about our team; I did not get to do spring with them, so I never saw them play live football till last Friday,” he said. “This is only their second game with me and this coaching staff with this offense and this defense. So, we are still learning things about ourselves that we would have learned in springtime.” On the defensive side of the ball, NCHS made some big plays by forcing three fumbles and returning two for a touchdown.

Coach Wilkerson expects his defense to make big plays like that every night, but he knows he is going to need his offense to step up if they want to win games going forward. “Last year the defense scored a lot of points for them and our offense just has to get caught up and start helping them out, but our defense is very athletic. Our coaches do a great job preparing them, so we expect them to score every game,” Wilkerson said.

NCHS will face Airline at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at Turpin Stadium. Wilkerson knows they have some stuff to clean up so they can be ready for Airline. “We got to go look at the film and clean up some stuff. I think we did some positive things, but we have to get more physical, get better running the football, controlling the clock and we have to score some points to help our defense out,” he said.

Demarion Sowell, #19, does all he can to try and make a play late in the fourth quarter,