NCHS undefeated as Wilkerson heads to Byrd in rematch

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Colin Vedros | Times Intern

Natchitoches Central varsity football (4-0) continues its string of good fortunes in another week of dominance. The Chiefs kept their undefeated season rolling with a 28-7 victory over the Airline Vikings (0-4).   NCHS blew away the Vikings by putting up 28 points, 22 passing and 266 rushing yards. With Airline giving up -11 rushing yards and 93 passing yards, the Chiefs never took their foot off the gas and took their first district 1-5A win since defeating Parkway in 2019.

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The Chiefs struck first blood, scoring on a Caylin Demars five-yard run. Airline would immediately answer with a 43 yard touchdown pass, which was followed by a 69-yard Demars run that resulted in another Chiefs’ touchdown.

“I’m very proud of our effort,” NCHS head coach James Wilkerson said. “Defense played lights out. Offense made some adjustments at halftime and did what we needed to do in the second half.”  Wilkerson will play against his former school, C.E. Byrd (4-0), Friday, Oct. 1. This will be the second time the fairly new and established Chiefs coach will play the Yellow Jackets. The first was a 20-0 loss against the 2020 Class 5A State Runner-Up Yellow Jackets. Byrd comes off of a season with an undefeated district and regular season, followed by a brutal 35-12 loss to Catholic-B.R. in Baton Rouge.

This article published in the Sept. 30, 2021, print edition

Wilkerson, 4-8 overall as the Chiefs’ head coach, left Byrd after the 2019 football season. He was a running backs coach for the Yellow Jackets and kept a perfectionist persona that couldn’t be contained in just the confines of the game. Those fortunes seemed to flip in the right direction at the right time. Wilkerson now leads a 4-0 team with one win in district 1-5A play so far, and with the talent of Demars and quarterback BJ Young, the dynamic to be the best team has skyrocketed expectations for this Chiefs squad.

“This team has fight and heart and it showed last [Friday],” Wilkerson said. “We keep getting better at little things each week.”  The question remains the same as they play in all district 1-5A for the remainder of the season; can this perfectionist setup last? NCHS hasn’t had success like this as of recent, but will be the driver of interest as the season moves along.

The Chiefs improve to 4-0 to set up what is expected to be the 318 Sports Game of the Week when the Chiefs travel to Lee Hodges Stadium in Shreveport. Kickoff is 7 p.m.