Journal Sports Staff
MANY – Being a Class 2A powerhouse that’s appeared in the last three state title games, Many football doesn’t exactly have teams lining up to play the championship-caliber Tigers.
Many fished Class 5A Sam Houston out of the Lake Charles area to open the season as the Tigers host the Broncos Friday at 7 p.m. at John Curtis Stadium.
It’s the first time Many has played a Class 5A opponent since losing to Natchitoches Central in 2019, and coach Jess Curtis hopes his team provides fireworks on the field to match the massive pregame fireworks display scheduled.
“We’re excited to get in front of the home crowd against a (5A) team like Sam Houston,” Curtis said. “I’ve had a hard time finding games, and we’ve had to go to Jasper (Texas) for a scrimmage and (2.5 hours) down to Jennings for a jamboree.
“We play 4A and 5A teams all the time, and we’ve basically had to reschedule all of our non-district teams from our original opponents because we got dropped.”
Many dropped Jennings in the jamboree 27-0 in one half of football in which the Tigers outgained Jennings 193-46 yards.
All of the Tigers’ offense came on the ground led by three rushing touchdowns from stud Jeremiah James. Jamarlyn Garner was the home-run hitter and led the attack with 91 rushing yards.
Sam Houston counters with an offense that attempts to spread its opponent out.
“Sam Houston has a good group of kids, and they have some size on the offensive line,” Curtis said. “They will spread us out and throw it around.
“Playing a 5A team this early will prove to be a good test for us.”
The Many defense, which returns 10 of 11 starters from this past season, thrives on its speed and will attempt to fly around with the Broncos’ spread. Many forced four turnovers in a muddy half against Jennings.
Since the 2008-09, Many does have a Class 5A win against Southwood in 2011 with other 5A losses to Southwood (2012) and Ruston twice (2009 and 2010).
The Tigers also line up against Class 5A foe Haughton this season.
Sam Houston has posted consecutive three-win seasons since 2020, but the Broncos 2021 squad was hamstrung by injuries which forced a lot of young players into action after a 2-1 start.
Now those youngsters are more seasoned as the Broncos boast one of the deeper teams in their 5A district. Despite the lack of recent success, Sam Houston does a pair of eight-win campaigns in 2018 and 2019, earning No. 10 and No. 14 seeds in first-round playoff losses.
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