Middleton era begins at West Ouachita

Following West Ouachita coach Joey Pender’s retirement following last season, West Ouachita did not have to look far to find a man full of optimistic energy capable of bringing the Chiefs to the next level in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) Class 4A.

West Ouachita introduced Matt Middleton as the Chiefs next coach on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.  Middleton comes to the Chiefs following a successful two year stint at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ (MAIS) Prairie View Academy in Bastrop.

At Prairie View, Middleton led the Spartans to two undefeated District 5-AA championships and an overall record of 17-4 and to the second round of the playoffs both seasons.

Middleton has been around the coaching ranks throughout his career at both the high school and collegiate levels and has been widely regarded as an innovative and successful offensive minded coach.

Middleton coaching resume shows stints as a head coach at Caldwell Parish and University Christian Academy in Alexandria and assistant coaching stops at Evangel Christian Academy, West Monroe (where he graduated high school) and Louisiana Tech University and the University of Arkansas at Monticello in the college ranks.

When Middleton took the position at West Ouachita, he was quoted as comparing the current situation at West Ouachita High School to that of West Monroe High School before Don Shows came to the Rebels in 1989.

Middleton pictures the West Ouachita football program as a “Sleeping Giant” which is what Shows called West Monroe when he arrived at West Monroe the late 1980s.

Middleton has the background of experience to back up that claim.  Middleton’s father was an assistant coach on the first Shows’ era West Monroe coaching staff in the 1989 and Matt Middleton played for Rebels in the mid-1990s as a quarterback and receiver and was a member of the 1996 West Monroe Class 5A state championship team that featured Tommy Banks.

In the off season, Middleton’s lured in West Ouachita’s baseball players Peyton Parker and Luke Honeycutt who will be key additions to Chiefs’ offense and defense.

Parker (6’2”, 190 pounds) is slated to be the starting quarterback while Honeycutt should see action at the linebacker position.  Middleton understands and respects the mental toughness of baseball coach’s Mitch Thomas’ West Ouachita baseball program and believes that Parker and Honeycutt are perfect fits for the mental and physical requirements of these important positions on the gridiron.

Joining Parker in the West Ouachita’s offensive backfield will be senior running back Kaleb Nolan (5’7”, 190 pounds).  One of the weapons that Parker could utilize is senior wide receiver Kameron Miller (5’10”, 160 pounds) who has been turning heads in recent workouts.

Up front, West Ouachita will look to their offensive line that will consist of junior offensive guard Garrison Lowder, senior offensive tackle Leshaveon Henderson (5’10”, 230 pounds), offensive tackle Mitchell McKee and junior offensive tackle Dustin Deville (6’5”, 250 pounds) to provide protection and open running lanes for the backs and receivers.

On defense, West Ouachita will have the previously mentioned Honeycutt who will be joined by senior strong safety Kameron Harris, sophomore outside linebacker Tobias Owens (5’9”, 175 pounds), senior linebacker Colton Bigelow (5’11”, 160 pounds), sophomore Montana King (6’0”, 195 pounds) and senior strong safety Cameron Bradshaw (5’9”, 178 pounds).

The West Ouachita Chiefs 2017 varsity football schedule will be a tough road for the Chiefs as it features one defending state champion (Sterlington), one state runner-up (Neville), two teams from the always tough District 2-5A (Pineville and Ruston), a team that advanced to the Division II quarterfinals (Loyola Prep) and three two hour one hour road games (Loyola Prep in Shreveport, Pineville and DeRidder).

West Ouachita will open its 2017 schedule on Friday, September 1 when the defending Class 2A Sterlington Panthers, who are moving up from Class 2A to Class 3A this season, come to West Ouachita’s A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium.

In week 2, the Chiefs will travel to Shreveport to face the Loyola Prep Flyers at Loyola’s Messmer Stadium on Friday, September 8.

On Friday, September 15, West Ouachita will head to Central Louisiana to face the Pineville Rebels at D.C. Bates Stadium.

Week four will see the North Webster Knights invade West Ouachita’s A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium on Friday, September 22.

West Ouachita will take to the road in weeks four and five as the Chiefs play at the Ruston Bearcats on Friday, September 29 and the DeRidder Dragons on Friday, October 5.

On Friday, October 13, the Buckeye Panthers, who moved up from Class 3A to Class 4A in 2017, travel to Cadeville to face West Ouachita.

West Ouachita will open its District 2-4A schedule on Friday, October 20 when the 2016 Class 4A state runner-up Neville Tigers come to A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium.

The Chiefs will travel to face the Bastrop Rams on Friday, October 27 in another key District 2-4A showdown before closing out its regular and District 2-4A schedules on Friday, November 3 when the Franklin Parish Patriots come to West Ouachita’s A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium.

WEST OUACHITA CHIEFS’ SIDE BAR

West Ouachita Head Coach: Matt Middleton (1st Season)

West Ouachita Assistant Coaches: Kade Batey, Billy Smith, Thompson Murphy, Jason Walker, Leonard Griffin, Bobby Crockett, Patrick Williams, Charles Helams, Justin Herrington and Kyle Morace.

West Ouachita High School’s Home Football Stadium: A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium (Artificial Turf)

West Ouachita Chiefs’ Varsity Football Games will be broadcasted on KRJO MY FM – 99.7 FM

Ouachita Parish’s’ Past Five Seasons:

2016 Overall Record: 4-6 District Record: 1-4 (District 2-4A Fifth Place, Did not qualify for the playoffs)

2015Overall Record: 6-5 District Record: 2-3 (District 2-4A Fourth Place, Bi-District Playoff Qualifier)

2014 Overall Record: 7-4 District Record: 1-3 (District 2-4A Fourth Place, Bi-District Playoff Qualifier)

2013 Overall Record: 3-7 District Record: 0-4 (District 2-4A Fifth Place, Did not qualify for the playoffs)

2012 Overall Record: 2-8 District Record: 0-4 (District 2-4A Fifth Place, Did not qualify for the playoffs)

State Championship Season(s): 0

State Playoff Seasons: (10 playoff appearances / 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015)

Playoff Record: 3-10 (Defeated Bolton at Home 42-21 in 1996, Defeated Edna Karr 31-17 at home in 2004, Defeated Tara on the road 33-0 in 2007).