Many celebrates second state football championship in six seasons
NATCHITOCHES – Pretty sure there’s going to be a celebration of epic proportions between the pines in Many, Louisiana, on Sunday night.
Many coach Jess Curtis admitted as much before loading up his team after a dramatic 16-13 victory over Kinder in the LHSAA Class 2A state championship game in Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium.
The celebration during the 23-mile ride from Many to NSU Sunday morning was littered with good omens – banners, waving fans, a Harley motorcycle escort and some fireworks erupting on the side of La. Hwy. 6, which runs from Natchitoches to Toledo Bend.
“I’m pretty sure there were some laws broken with that,” said a sheepish Curtis. “But it was beautiful. Now we have a 23-mile ride back through God’s country and we’re going to be rocking tonight.”
Two of the most storied Class 2A football programs in the state staged a battle for the ages on a windy, but sunny day for high school football launching four days and nine football games. Many (12-0) won the title in 2014 and has faced Kinder three times in state title tilts. Kinder (9-3) won it all in 2013 and lost to Many in 2014.
“These are two great towns who love football and have some great, hard-nosed kids,” Kinder coach Brett Fuselier said. “Both of our cities and programs mirror each other. I truly believe high school football in Louisiana is the best in the country. When two great teams get together, this is what you end up with.”
Sunday’s win hinged on just a couple of Many redemption players, according to Curtis. Many freshman Tylen Singleton made a mistake on Kinder’s first offensive play allowing Tylan Ceasar to race to a 59-yard touchdown. But it was Ceaser who picked off a Graham Fawcett pass with about 9 minutes remaining to lock his team in front 16-7.
Tigers kicker Trotter Lafollette missed a point-after following Cadillac Rhone’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. But Lafollette drilled a 32-yard field goal in the second half which proved to be the difference in the game.
“It was huge,” Curtis said. “The kid messed up, but he came back and nailed the kick. That’s what Many football is all about. Our kids haven’t given up all season.”
Clad in red socks and red shoes, Terrence Williams pounded away at the Kinder defense. Last week’s semifinal featured Williams and junior London Williams combining for 10 touchdowns. But neither found the end zone against a Kinder defense that allowed the Yellow Jackets to dispatch two undefeated teams to get to the championship game.
“This was like Balboa versus Creed,” Fuselier said in a Rocky reference. “You have to credit our defense after they scored 83 points last week, but Many has a good defense too.”
The Tiger defense included several underclassmen, so seeing Many back in a championship game over the next two years is certainly possible. The fact that they’ve advanced to at least the semifinals for five straight years makes it even more feasible.
That’s, of course, if they survive Sunday night’s party.
Many’s playoff history
2020 – State champions
2019 – State runner-up
2018 – Semifinals
2017 -- Semifinals
2016 – Semifinals
2015 – Second round
2014 – State champions
2013 – State runner-up
2012 -- Quarterfinals