NCHS football cautious and eager for next win, hosts Parkway Thursday


Colin Vedros | Times Intern

Natchitoches Central varsity football aims for a bounce back in their 5A District 1 match against Parkway. It’ll be a different atmosphere in Turpin this Thursday; the Chiefs are coming off of their first loss of the season since the winless 2020 season.  NCHS, despite the 31-20 loss to Captain Shreve, has made strides to success through a dynamic duo in quarterback BJ Young Jr. and Caylin Demars and a pair of receivers in Braylin Demars and Justin Aaron, along with a solid defense led by Aaron. Head coach James Wilkerson knew the challenges it took to battle against an annually consistent Gators team, now leading the 5A District 1 standings.

This article published in the Oct. 21, 2021, print edition

“We didn’t play well for two and half quarters, and you can’t do that against a good team like Captain Shreve,” Wilkerson said. “I am very proud of our fight and effort to come back and we had a chance to win. This game will be a learning experience for us.”  The Chiefs weren’t able to control Gators quarterback Kenyon Terrell in the run game and the pass game. Terrell led CSHS to 359 yards total offense, with 82 passing and 277 rushing, including his 19 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.  Both CSHS and NCHS turned the ball over multiple times; NCHS fumbled three times and CSHS threw for two interceptions. NCHS, led by Young, captured a chemistry easily seen in past games this season, however only managed to gain 272 yards total offense, with 99 passing and 173 rushing.

So, there are things to work on for Natchitoches Central; a 17-0 score to end the first half is not ideal if you’re the Chiefs, running on a Cinderella Story undefeated season. The slow progressive comeback came at a difficult time when Captain Shreve’s defense came to life from gaining three fumble recoveries.  But this is not the end of the road for the Chiefs. Besides the first half against the Gators, Wilkerson still proves to be a winning head coach coming off a rebuild that may offer the Chiefs a great chance at a high playoff spot once the season ends.

The progress of a one loss season is still inspirational. With the last three games all district play, the stakes for Natchitoches Central to be in the running for top spot is still highly likely.  NCHS’ next opponent, Parkway, comes off a 34-17 win over rival Airline last Friday. The Panthers gained 405 total offensive yards, with 410 coming from rushing and a -5 yards subtracted.

“Parkway has an explosive offense and are very well coached,” Wilkerson said. “We have to be disciplined and we cannot miss tackles. We have to start fast and be at our best.”  Catch the 6-1 Chiefs play Parkway this Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Turpin Stadium.