ON THE ROAD Ferriday to travel to Kentwood in LHSAA Non-Select Division IV Regional Round

Published 10:12 am Friday, November 17, 2023

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FERRIDAY — The Ferriday High School Trojans somehow managed to stay at home for the Bi-District Round of the 2023 LHSAA Non-Select Division IV State Playoffs last Friday night as the No. 15 seed despite ending their regular season on a four-game losing skid.

Yet Ferriday was able to overcome a lot of adversity and a tough District 2-2A to keep its season going by defeating the No. 18 seed Jonesboro-Hodge High School Tigers 34-6 thanks to a 20-point fourth quarter.

That was the good news for the Trojans. The bad news — their next opponent is by no means no slouch at all. Ferriday will be on the road for the regional round will be longtime Class 1A powerhouse Kentwood High Magnet School. Kickoff between the Trojans (5-6) and the Kangaroos (8-2) is slated for 7 p.m.

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Kentwood’s last game was back on Thursday, Nov. 2 when the Kangaroos won at Central Private School 42-12 to finish in second place in District 9-1A. They earned a bye through the bi-district round as one of the top four seeds after having won five of their last six regular-season games.

Ferriday head coach Cleothis Cummings III said coming out of last Friday night’s playoff win at Melz Field he was most pleased with how his team executed on offense and the way they tackled defensively. He added that the losing streak to end the regular season didn’t have any effect on how the Trojans performed against the Tigers.

“It always feels good to win regardless of the streak. That was the regular season. We were not looking back. We told the players that everyone is now 0-0. We told them we wanted to go 1-0 at the end of this game,” Cummings said.

As for what Ferriday is working on in practice this week to get ready for Kentwood, Cummings said, “We’ve been having normal practice. Working on fundamentals. Defensive recognition.”

Going 1-0 this Friday night will be an even tougher task for Ferriday as it takes on a Kentwood team that Cummings said is athletic and is known for making deep playoff runs.

“They’ve always been an athletic team. We have to take care of business and not get behind the sticks,” Cummings said. “Number 1 for them, (senior wide receiver) Ke’vante Carter, he’s been making a lot of plays for them during the season, so we’ve got to minimize what he does for them.”

Cummings noted that Kentwood runs a spread offense and defensively they run both a 3-4 and a version of a 3-3-5, so the Trojans’ offense must be alert for which one the Kangaroos’ defense will go with each play.

As for who will need to have a big game for Ferriday to pull off what would be a huge upset on the road over Kentwood and advance to the quarterfinals, Cummings said, “Offensive and defensive line. That’s where the game will be won on both sides. Skill-wise, he have to have everyone do their job.”

Considering that Kentwood has had a lot of rain fall there in recent weeks, sloppy field conditions will be a key factor in the outcome of this game, with Cummings adding, “It’ll slow both teams down. We’re practicing in the elements. Torrential rain (Tuesday) night, it came down on us. The field (Wednesday morning) wasn’t as hard as it usually is. It was (softer). They’re getting used to the traction when you play in a wet climate.”