COUSHATTA – Winning state championships is the standard for a Many football program that has appeared in the last three state title games and five overall since 2013.
But winning a district title is an important stepping stone to that ultimate goal, and it’s a stone on which Many can place its foot Thursday with a trip to Red River (3-5, 2-1 District 3-2A). The game was moved up a day because of inclement weather expected Friday.
The Class 2A No. 1 Tigers (7-0, 3-0 District 3-2A) could clinch at least a share of the district title and could take the crown outright if Mansfield knocks off Winnfield.
“It is a goal on the way to the ultimate goal,” said Many coach Jess Curtis, who could lead the Tigers to their ninth straight district title and 33rd straight win against a district opponent. “Our goal is to be a state champion.”
Many’s performance is peaking as the Tigers hogtied Jonesboro-Hodge in a 58-0 win, 48 of those points coming in the first quarter.
As good as Many’s defense has been (allowing less than 10 points per game), the blanking of J-Hodge is Many’s first shutout this season. The other Tigers ended the game with negative yardage (minus-8) thanks sacks and other negative plays that erased J-Hodge’s 35 passing yards.
“We have talked about how you never stay the same – you are either getting better or getting worse,” Curtis said. “We wanted to come out and play our best four quarters, and I was very proud of that.”
Offensively, quarterback Tackett Curtis displayed Many’s revamped passing game to the tune of four touchdowns on four completions for 87 yards.
“We’ve really worked on the passing game, and Tackett does have a strong arm,” Jess Curtis said. “We have gotten good at it, and teams can’t afford to give us easy touchdowns through the air.”
The running game remains the staple of Many’s offense as Sylvonte Aldredge (133 yards) and Jeremiah James (133 yards) each topped the 100-yard mark.
Many will face an improving Red River squad that has two of its three overall wins in district play.
The Bulldogs have held three opponents (Lakeview, Loyola and Woodlawn) to 10 or fewer points this season, but Red River themselves has scored 10 or fewer points on four occasions.
Red River challenged themselves in non-district play with Haughton and Parkway before logging a 31-point win against Woodlawn.
“(Coach Jeff Harper) does a great job over there and they are well-coached on both sides of the ball,” Curtis said of Harper, who replaced John Bachman with the interim head coaching title before being named the permanent replacement before the 2021 season. “We will have to be ready to go.”
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