It was a no-brainer deciding the top two games for the Ferriday Trojans in 2018.
Both involved payback.
But first the top eight.
At No. 10 is the Trojans’ 44-20 loss at eventual state champion Amite on November 30.
Although a loss, Ferriday played Amite as tough as most of the Warrior opponents and proved to themselves they could hang with the big boys if they didn’t make a ton of mistakes.
At. No 9 is Ferriday’s season-opening 15-14 loss to Alexandria.
Another lesson learned.
The Trojans lost starting quarterback Kobe Dillon when he was hit out of bounds and injured his ankle (and, of course, there was no flag).
But Ferriday still had its chances against the 5A school.
At No. 8 is Ferriday traveling to Delhi Charter on October 26. It was the first trip ever for a Ferriday team to Delhi Charter.
Ferriday High head coach Stanley Smith had been imploring his team to come out of the gate on fire most of the season.
The Trojans scored 27 points in the first quarter on its way to a 59-2 win over Delhi Charter in Delhi Friday.
“Our guys came out with a lot of energy,” Smith said. “I think the cooler temperatures helped. It was football weather. We came out firing on all cylinders.
After a long kickoff return by Sebastian Turner, the Trojans got on the board as Byron Milligan ran in the first of two touchdowns on the night.
Da’minya Milligan returned a punt 55 yards and Kobe Dillon threw a 20-yard TD pass to Tyus Turner.
Dillon completed 13 of 17 passes for 168yards.
Ferriday’s first-round 54-0 win over Vinton at Melz Field is No. 7.
The Trojans scored on their first drive, scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Dillon to Justin Burns, as Burns shook two defenders on the right sideline and raced into the end zone. A bad snap on extra point led to holder Jyrin Milligan passing to kicker Byron MIlligan on the conversion.
Ferriday passed on almost every down on its first possession.
Ferriday sophomore running back Da’minya Milligan, the 2018 All-Parish Player of the Year, increased the Trojan lead to 20-0 in the first quarter, going 53 yards around right end.
At No. 6 is Ferriday’s 30-26 win over Rayville in Rayville on September 21.
Ferriday High rallied from a 20-8 first half deficit for the win.
The Trojans scored 22 points in the third quarter, including a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by Da’minya Milligan.
Ferriday’s 21-20 win over LaGrange on September 14 comes in at No. 5.
It was the first win of the season for the Trojans, who started out with losses to ASH and Franklin Parish.
Jamien Green had a huge 88-yard kickoff return to spark the Trojans.
At No. 4 is Ferriday’s 27-0 shutout of General Trass in the second round of the playoffs in Ferriday.
Coaches understandably do not like playing the same team twice in a season when you beat them the first time.
That was the case this night.
But General Trass players refused to shake hands with Ferriday players at the kickoff, which pumped up Trojan coaches and players.
On the first play from scrimmage, Dillon passed backwards to Bryon Milligan on the left sideline, Milligan tossed the ball 30 yards downfield to Jamien Green, who had no defender within 20 yards and sauntered into the end zone, Milligan’s point-after kick gave Ferriday a 7-0 lead 62 seconds into the contest.
It was all Trojans after that as the Panthers never recovered from that big blow.
At No. 3 is Ferriday’s 51-14 win over Mangham at Melz Field on October 19.
Well, make that No. 3 in the second half.
Smith called time out with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half at Melz Field as Mangham had the ball on their own 35 after going 99 yards in 19 plays to chew up the second quarter to pull to within 12-7 of the Trojans.
But the time out was called before an interception by Mangham to turn the ball over.
“I still let them know how I felt,” Smith said.
That conversation continued into the dressing room. It was a different Trojan team in the second half.
And there was good reason for that. There was thunder going on in the dressing room,” Smith said.
The Trojans got the message, outscoring Mangham 39-7 in the second half for a District 2-2A win.
At No. 2 is Ferriday’s 22-7 win over Vidalia on October 12 in Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium.
Vidalia pulled off the upset of the year in Louisiana two years ago, stunning a Trojan crowd with a 22-20 win over highly-favored Ferriday at Melz Field.
The Trojans and Vikings were involved in a defensive struggle for most of the game before Ferriday pulled away for a 22-7 win.
Ferriday coaches, players and fans had to be smiling a bit when Ferriday was paired off against St. Helena in the Class 2A quarterfinals, even if it meant hitting the road for the playoff contest.
In one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen at Melz Field two years ago, St. Helena used a 10-yard TD pass after a pass interference allowed the Hawks an untimed play to defeat second-ranked Ferriday 12-6 in Ferriday.
But that was then.
The top game of 2018 occurred on November 23 in Greensburg as the Trojans advanced to the Class 2A semifinals for the second straight year, using a hook-and-ladder play with 42 seconds remaining to defeat St. Helena 26-21.
Facing an uphill climb with about a minute remaining and the ball on their own 19-yard line on third-and-two, Trojan quarterback Kobe Dillon passed eight yards to Jamien Green, who made the catch and pitched the ball to the left to a streaking Da’minya Milligan, who went untouched down the Trojan sideline for the winning touchdown with 42 seconds remaining.
Dionntae Dishta picked off a St. Helena pass to end the wild playoff game.
“That’s a play we ran a couple of times last year,” said Ferriday offensive coordinator Kenny Kitchen. “We haven’t run it this year, but it’s always in the bag.”
Smith said the play was executed to perfection.
“It was just the right moment,” Smith said. “Their defensive back ran with Elijah (White) on a hitch, and then everybody collapsed on Jamien. It was perfect. Once I saw Jamien catch the ball I knew it was a touchdown. “No one was going to catch ‘Ta-Ta’ (Da’minya Milligan).”