Lions look to continue 2016’s late season push

The 2016 Ouachita Parish Lions varsity football season saw plenty of “Highs and Lows.”  The Lions battled to a 6-6 record , but a late season push and rediscovered running game that advanced Lions to the 2017 Class 5A regional round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Last season, Ouachita Parish lit up the scoreboard averaging 37.67 points per game under the leadership of multi-year starting quarterback Devion Warren, who will be playing wide receiver at the University of Arkansas this fall, while the Lions’ defense held opponents to an average of 27.42 points per game.

On offense, the reigns of the Lions’ offense will be turned over to senior quarterback and ULM commitment Jabari Johnson (6’0”, 180 pounds), who is slated to play in the Warhawks’ defensive backfield at the college level.

Johnson saw limited action at quarterback last season where he completed 7-of-11 passes for 131-yards with one touchdown and rushed for 200-yards on 38 carries with 3 rushing touchdowns.

Although Warren has graduated, Ouachita Parish has plenty of returning weapons at Johnson’s disposal at the skill positions in senior running back Nick Stewart (5’10”, 175 pounds), junior running back Dylan Roberts, senior tight end Jake Hammond (6’3”, 255 pounds), senior wide receiver Josh Newton (6’0”, 175 pounds) and junior wide receiver C.J. Brown (6’1”, 190 pounds).

One of late season developments that helped the Lions push through to the second round was that of running back Dylan Roberts.  Roberts came on strong late in the 2016 season rushing for 229-yards in week 10 against Pineville and 246-yards against Walker in the Bi-District round of the Class 5A playoffs.

The Ouachita Parish offensive line will be a veteran unit with senior offensive tackle Chip Adams (6’3”, 270 pounds), senior offensive guard Re’Shard Chisley (5’7”, 240 pounds), senior offensive guard Michael Henry, senior offensive tackle Kenneth Bowie, senior offensive tackle Chip Adams (6’3”, 270 pounds) and junior center Chris Doyle (5’10”, 240 pounds).

On the defensive front, senior defensive end / nose guard Jardarrius Washington (5’9”, 215 pounds), senior defensive tackle / nose guard Sir’darrius Ellis (6’0”, 275 pounds), senior defensive tackle / end Ramsey Logan (5’10”, 229 pounds), Jaquez Jackson (6’1”, 258 pounds), senior defensive lineman Brendan Hardy (6’0”, 200 pounds) return and will anchor the defensive line positions.

Senior linebacker Chris Lewis (6’0”, 190 pounds) and senior linebacker Dekevion Woods (5’10”, 215 pounds) will man the linebacker spots for Ouachita Parish.

Arkansas State commit senior defensive back Jaden Harris (6’2”, 190 pounds) and senior free / strong safety Angelo Collins (6’2”, 165 pounds) will led a Ouachita Parish defensive backfield that includes junior defensive back Tony McNeal (5’11”, 185 pounds), junior strong safety Johnathon Williams (5’11”, 160 pounds), senior cornerback Devin Wallace (5’8”, 150 pounds) and junior cornerback Tae Kerry (5’10”, 160 pounds).

Ouachita Parish will open the 2017 schedule on the road against parish rival Richwood on Friday, September 1.

The Lions opens its home schedule when Ouachita Parish hosts tradition Class 5A playoff qualifier Sulphur Tornados on Friday, September 8.

On Friday, September 15, the 2016 Class 4A state runner-up Neville Tigers come to Ouachita Parish’s Lion Stadium in their annual rivalry.

The Lions will make their longest road trip of the season when Ouachita Parish travels to south Louisiana to face the Carencro Bears on Friday, September 22.

Ouachita Parish will host the Plaquemine Green Devils on Friday, September 29 to wrap up their non-district schedule.

The Lions will travel to Central Louisiana to face the Pineville Rebels at Pineville’s D.C. Bates Stadium on Friday, October 6 in the District 2-5A opener for both teams.

Ouachita Parish will travel to the Ruston Bearcats on Friday, October 13 before hosting the Natchitoches Central Chiefs on Friday, October 20.

On Friday, October 27, Ouachita Parish will travel to West Monroe’s Don Shows Field at Rebels Stadium in their annual District 2-5A and parish rivalry with the West Monroe Rebels.

Ouachita Parish will close out the 2017 regular season and District 2-5A schedules at home against the Alexandria Senior High (ASH) Trojans on Thursday, November 2.

The past two meetings between the Lions and the Trojans have been some the “Best Games” of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with ASH taking a 42-38 decision at home in 2016 and Ouachita Parish winning 46-40 in overtime at home in 2015.

To make the ASH versus Ouachita Parish rivalry more interesting is the fact that Ouachita Parish head coach Jeff Fitzgerald was the ASH Head Coach before taking the job at Ouachita Parish.

OUACHITA PARISH LIONS SIDE BAR

Ouachita Parish Head Coach: Jeff Fitzgerald (5th Season, Overall Record: 25-20, District Record: 12-8)

Ouachita Parish Assistant Coaches: Caleb West, James Truxillo, Dewayne Williams, James Davis, Marcus Yanez, Brad Tynes, Nelson Boggs, Paul McComas, Randy Douglas, Josh Jenkins, Allen Chance, Roy Taylor, Gary Parnham, Jr., John Barron, Josh Morrison, Barry Johnson and Ryan Norris.

Ouachita Parish High School’s Home Football Stadium: Lions’ Stadium (Artificial Turf)

Ouachita Parish Lions Varsity Football Games will be broadcasted on KXRR – ROCK 106.1 FM

Ouachita Parish’s’ Past Five Seasons:

2016 Overall Record: 7-6 District Record: 2-3 (District 2-5A Fourth Place, Class 2A State Champions)

2015Overall Record: 6-4 District Record: 4-1 (District 2-5A Runner-Up, Quarterfinal Playoff Qualifier)

2014 Overall Record: 5-6 District Record: 2-3 (District 2-5A Fourth Place, Semifinal Playoff Qualifier)

2013 Overall Record: 7-4 District Record: 4-1 (District 2-5A Runner-Up, Regional Playoff Qualifier)

2012 Overall Record: 10-3 District Record: 3-1 (District 2-5A Runner-Up, Quarterfinal Playoff Qualifier)

State Championship Season(s): 1 – 1989

State Runner-Up Season(s): 2 – 1941, 1994

State Semifinalist Season(s): 10 – 1938*, 1941*, 1942*, 1948*, 1977, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2005

State Quarterfinalist Season(s): 10 – 1977, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012

State Playoff Seasons: (35 playoff appearances / 1938, 1941, 1942, 1948, 1968, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

* In the 1930s and 1940s, the playoffs started in the semifinal round.  The quarterfinal round didn’t start until the 1951 season.