Letterman Magazine

Football

Neville Tigers 2016 Preview

Neville dynasty looks to continue with potential 3-Peat

In 2016, Neville coach Mickey McCarty and his Neville Tigers are looking for the ever elusive third straight (3-Peat) Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) Class 4A state championship.

Coach McCarty tied legendary former Neville Coach Bill Ruple(state titles in 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962) for school’s record for most state football championships with his fourth state title (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015) at Neville in the past seven years.

Neville picked up the school’s third back-to-back state title (previous back-to-back state titles were in 1961-1962, 1983-1984, 2014-2015) with a 45-26 victory over the Edna Karr Cougars in the 2015 Class 4A state championship game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Over the past seven years, no team in Northeast Louisiana has earned the level of success as the Neville Tigers.

Since 2009, Neville has produced an overall record of 86 victories with only 10 defeats and district record of 29 wins and only 1 loss to Ruston in 2010 by one point.

During this same time span, the Tigers have captured four LHSAA Class 4A state championships, one LHSAA Class 4A state runner-up trophy while capturing seve District 2-4A titles and advancing to the Class 4A playoffs every season during this latest dynasty.

The 2016 Neville Tiger football team will look to continue its winning streak which currently stands at 25 straight victories.  Neville’s last regular season setback was a 19-13 loss in the 2014 Battle on the Border to the Longview, Texas Lobos in week two of that season.

Senior quarterback Jaiden Cole (6’1”, 196 pounds) returns to lead the Neville offense.  Seniors Josh Diarse (5’5”, 138 pounds) and Kenneth “KJ” Johnson (5’6”, 156 pounds) will be counted on to play dual roles of running back and receiver while junior Demaine Riley (5’9”, 152 pounds) offers depth as back-up to Diarse and Johnson.

Cole has plenty of weapons at his disposal with senior slot receiver Bobby Newton (6’1”, 173 pounds), senior slot receiver Hawkins Boyer (5’8”, 145 pounds), senior tight end Cole McCarty (6’3”, 215 pounds), senior tight end Edmund Wilson (6’3”, 180 pounds) and junior tight end Chandler Moses (6’3”, 230 pounds).

Up front, Neville will look to senior left tackle Joctavis Phillips (6’5”, 280 pounds), junior left guard Devin Phillips (6’2”, 310 pounds), senior Connor King (6’3”, 230 pounds), senior tackle / guard Kyle Davis (6’3”, 295 pounds), junior tackle Max Mitchell (6’4”, 230 pounds) and Jackson Head to provide pass protection and make holes for the Tiger backs.

On defense, Neville opponents might have a feeling of “deja vue” as the Tigers returns most of the line-up from last year’s dominant defensive unit minus one LSU bound Rashaad Lawrence, who graduated last year.

Neville’s defensive line will consist of senior defensive end Phidarian Mathis (6’4”, 288 pounds), junior nose guard / tackle Gerric Goldman (5’11”, 300 pounds), junior nose guard / tackle Tavion Byrd (6’1”, 290 pounds), junior defensive end Anthony Freeman (6’0”, 235 pounds), senior defensive end Demetrius Elmore (6’2”, 180 pounds) and senior defensive end Jamier Singleton.

The Neville linebacker core returns senior Robert Williams (6’1”, 208 pounds), senior Will Anders (5’8”, 160 pounds) and junior Mahlon Markle (6’0”, 190 pounds).

The Tigers’ secondary is an experienced group that will feature senior cornerback Corey Straughter (6’0”, 170 pounds), senior corner back JaCorion Andrews (6’0”, 175 pounds), senior free safety Kenderick Marbles (6’0”, ), senior strong safety Nathan Nolan (5’7”, 150 pounds), senior safety Herschel Carter (6’1”, 180 pounds), junior strong safety John Cascio (5’9”, 165 pounds) and junior strong safety Luke Cagle (5’11”, 175 pounds).

Junior kicker Lincoln Sanders (5’9”, 190 pounds) will handle the field goal and extra point kicking duties for Neville.

Neville opened the 2016 season with a convincing road victory over the Ruston Bearcats on Friday, September 2.

Week two will see the Tigers traveling down Interstate 20-West to Shreveport’s Independence Bowl to tangle with state power Evangel Christian Eagles (0-1) in the “2016 Battle on the Border” football showcase on Friday, September 9 at 8:30 p.m.

Neville will return home on Friday, September 16 with a rivalry game against the Ouachita Parish Lions.

Following a week four trip to Carroll on Friday, September 23 and an open date on Friday, September 30, the Tigers will open their District 2-4A schedule with back-to-back home games against the Bastrop Rams on Friday, October 7 and Grant Parish Cougars on Friday, October 14.

Neville will travel to Central Louisiana on Friday, October 21 as the Tigers take on the Tioga Indians at Tioga’s Reservation Stadium.

The Tigers will close out its regular / district schedule by hosting the West Ouachita Chiefs on Friday, October 28 and the Franklin Parish Patriots on Friday, November 4 at Neville’s Bill Ruple Stadium

The Neville Nation can listen to all of the Tigers’ varsity football games on Mix 101.9 FM with Neal Shaw providing play-by-play, Stewart Shelby offering color commentary and Frank Neetles serving as a side-line reporter from all of the Tigers’ varsity football games in 2016.

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