MARTIN: Ranking of the 10 best high school football matches from 2021 | Sports


It’s actually funny when you think about it.

Last year, during the pandemic, we had to keep moving forward as usual in the world of sport without the most important: sport. One way we decided to do this was to take 10 weeks and count down the best football games in the ward over the past five years. Now that the 2021 football season is over, you know what I can’t help but think about? How many of these classics would have made my Top 10? How different would this list have been if I had made it this year rather than the last?

Spoiler alert – I think there’s a good chance that half of this year’s best games are on the list. This is just a sample of the quality of the contests this season. And to bear witness to that, I thought why not rank the top 10 high school football games of the season to help show just how wild and dramatic this football season really is.

The fact that a last minute score in a rivalry match kicks off the roster tells you everything you need to know about the matches that took place in the Parish in 2021.

A 40-yard touchdown pass from the C-Dogs put Carroll, 20-18, with less than a minute to go, but Wossman refused to drop this one.

Johnny Woods returned the ensuing kickoff for 96 yards to ultimately win the Baby Bayou Classic, 24-20.

Now it’s time to kick off a list in style.

9. West Monroe vs. Northshore

A kicker scoring an equalizer against the Rebels as time ticked away was just one of many unusual scenarios that unfolded in this playoff overtime victory.

What about the fact that Northshore nearly knocked out the Rebels at West Monroe as the No.24 seed?

Quarterback Austin Jackson parted the Red Sea in the first overtime for 10 yards to give Northshore a 30-23 lead after Belle Airey’s 27-yard field goal to end regulation.

The Rebels, who led the majority of that first-round game, relied on defensive players like Jadais Richard and Chauncey Lee for game-changing scores.

Lee scored one of his three rushing touchdowns in second overtime to give the Rebels a 37-30 victory. Earlier in the competition, Richard caught a 43-yard catch to set the Rebels’ go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

We always say it’s extremely entertaining when the Rebels are up against the wall, but this one was a bit too close for the comfort of some West Monroe fans.

The closest OCS game of the season was without a doubt a contest we’ll discuss a bit later in the roster, but Cedar Creek had the Eagles on the ropes during the last week of September.

Cedar Creek led the Eagles 22-21 as the clock ticked down. And believe it or not, OCS struggled to leave the field defensively in the fourth quarter.

“It sounds crazy, a 15-play, 35-yard drive, but it took so long we said, ‘Look, we have to stop here,'” OCS head coach Steven said. Fitzhugh. James David Miller was treating an ankle injury from the jamboree so we held him last week and only faced him on attack this year. Our offensive lineman said, ‘Put him on, coach. “”

Miller recorded three straight tackles to force the save, but Cedar Creek pinned OCS inside his own 5-yard line with two minutes remaining. Too much time for this explosive offense …

Landon Graves connected with Tristan Wiley on a 97-yard bombshell for the go-ahead score. Miller followed the scoring with a six pick to seal the 33-22 victory.

It was the first real sign that Ouachita was going to be much better than we originally thought.

I remember visiting coaching legend Joey Pender before the game and he asked me, ‘What do you think of this one? I remember vividly saying that I think it will be tight early on, but Ruston will exhaust Ouachita by the fourth. What a bad call that was.

Time was about to pass on Ruston in regulation time. Trailing 42-35, a false start from the two-yard line pushed the Bearcats back to Ouachita’s seven-yard line with 12 seconds left. That’s when Jaden Osborne took the snap, rolled to his right and found Dawson Willis for the seven-yard strike before Brady Beason tied the game with the next point.

After two overtime, Ouachita was trailing 56-55 when Lions head coach Todd Garvin rolled the dice. The Lions lined up for a two-point conversion when Baugh called the time out. After the time out, the Lions ran onto the field and formed up for the baskets. Jackson took the snap, rolled and passed into the end zone, which was incomplete.

Ruston took the victory, but Ouachita warned the rest of the district and the state after the loss.

I will never say that a player alone has won a football match. This is not how football works. But damn it, if you ever had to say that, it would be the game / performance.

Ouachita Citizen Offensive Player of the Year AJ Allen delivered a breathtaking 97-yard return, a quick 70-yard touchdown run and a 62-yard touchdown reception to help the Tigers beat the Bearcats, 27 -24, during the first week of the season.

The 62-yard reception came in the final two minutes when Neville was down 24-20, while facing a 4th and 19 from Neville’s own 38-yard line.

I think Neville’s head coach Jeff Tannehill summed it up better than I ever could have done after the game.

“God damn it, it’s electric, isn’t it?” “

5. Sterlington vs. Madison Prep

It was billed as the Game of the Year in Class 3A, and some say it was.

How else would you describe Sterlington beating Madison Prep, 40-34, in overtime? The quarterfinal victory featured electrifying plays across stud quarterback Zeon Chriss, but without a doubt, Sterlington’s Cole Thompson played the game.

Thompson skied high in the air to register a one-handed pick as his team trailed 27-21. The turnover gave Sterlington possession, momentum and the next lead. And he earned every possible style point, according to his teammates.

“It’s the biggest catch I’ve ever seen,” Sterlington defenseman Luke Handy said.

It was easily one of the best takes I have ever seen and it would be my choice for the game of the year.

4. OCS vs. Baptist of Calvary

After Sterlington beat Madison Prep in the quarterfinals, I made the short drive to pick up my dad, Joey Martin, who covered the OCS / Calvary Baptist game for us. We could have had a heated debate on coming home as to which of us should cover the best game of the night. While Sterlington won an instant road classic, the Eagles were busy dealing with the reigning state champions, 40-37, in yet another overtime competition.

Imagine that. Two nearly identical overtime scores within 10 miles of each other. And they were easily the two best games in the state that night.

In the first overtime, as Steven Fitzhugh said, Landon Graves was determined that the OCS wouldn’t reduce the score as he scored from 10 yards to beat Calvary in the semifinals.

“I was reading the defensive end and he kind of crashed,” Graves said. “I had to dodge a few defenders and luckily I managed to get in. “

3. Neville vs. St. Thomas More

I know what some of you are thinking. “How can you assess the loss of one of our local teams at this point? “

I guess you must have been there. The aforementioned AJ Allen put on another show with 360 rushing yards in the 35-28 loss. And while I won’t soon forget to turn to my peers on the sidelines during some of these races and ask them, “Have you seen this cup? I also note that night how the Walker Howard game made me a true believer.

Howard was competitive and intense, but also cool under fire, as he consistently matched Neville’s scores before finally throwing the winning touchdown. The LSU signatory led a 78-yard run from the field that featured a fourth and 13 conversion near midfield and resulted in a nine-yard touchdown pass to Cougar Barron Sawyer’s tight end with nine seconds to play.

Just as Ruston’s head coach Jerrod Baugh could only shake his head at Allen’s performance in Game 1 of the season, Tannehill was forced to do the same against one of the best players in the country. .

This state championship rematch lived up to the hype in every way.

So much so that I’ve written about this game enough times that I wouldn’t dare to try to give you another in-depth analysis. But the magnitude of this game cannot be overstated.

Last year I felt like members of the media in the south didn’t get to see the real Trey Holly in a resounding loss in the Class 3A State Championship game. Luckily everyone got to see how special Holly is in the 2021 Class 3A State Championship game. He did everything from scoring on long runs, to receiving long touchdowns, to full passes, flights and tackles in defense. Holly cemented himself as one of the best in Louisiana to do so, but Sterlington took the hard-fought victory.

J’Keldrick Miller scored the last-minute touchdown and Jacob Green scored several field goals from 40 yards or more as the Panthers won their second state championship.

1. Ouachita vs. West Monroe

It had it all. Story. Drama. Bad blood. Double overtime.

Do I have to say more? It has to be considered one of the greatest games ever played in the parish for all of these reasons.

The scenario was perfect. Garvin was somewhat of an outcast, but made his way to a head coaching job for his alma mater. That this guy went on to beat his old team, where he felt unfairly demoted after a decade of service, is this year’s most compelling sporting story.

Then it only gets better when you add the fact that West Monroe hasn’t beaten Ouachita in 27 years.

And the game certainly had the drama …

When Carldell Sirmons scored the two-point winning conversion to give Ouachita the 35-34 victory, fans flooded the pitch to celebrate the historic achievement.

Watching grown men cry and fans hugging Garvin are memories that will last a lifetime on yours.


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