Neville quarterback Andrew Brister looks to complete a pass down the field against West Monroe last football season. Brister returns as the starting quarterback for the Tigers this season. (Photo by Tom Morris)

The first week of high school football is here, and without further ado, here are my five biggest storylines heading into Week 1. 

Short-handed Rebs

The West Monroe Rebels were without multiple defensive starters against Neville in the Bayou Jamb last Saturday. Quarterback Garrett Kahmann was also sidelined after taking a big hit to his shoulder. 

Heading into the home opener against Ridgeway, the Rebels will be without Kahmann and starting defensive lineman Malcolm Moore. And news broke Tuesday evening that Kahmann's injury is a labrum tear that required surgery. Kahmann's family has opted not to have surgery as of now, and West Monroe head coach Jerry Arledge did not rule out Kahmann's potential return to quarterback later this season. 

It’s not all bad news heading into this matchup, though. Brooks Miller, who missed the jamboree, is expected to be back at safety for the Rebels. 

QB controversy? 

There’s no denying Brett Batteford has impressed as a young sophomore filling in for Andrew Brister. While Brister continues to heal from his leg injury, Batteford has filled in and led the Tigers to an impressive 13-0 scrimmage win against Oak Grove before throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Timothy Byrd against West Monroe. 

Brister started against West Monroe and played a couple of series before exiting the game as initially planned. Brister split time with Jordan Thomas last season with the Tigers before getting injured at the end of the season. 

As we spin this forward, it looks as though Neville is going to let this quarterback competition play itself out. Keep an eye on Neville’s quarterbacks — it looks like the Tigers have two really strong options at the position. 


Matt Middleton is a little on edge this week because he knows what’s facing his West Ouachita Chiefs. West Ouachita is scheduled to take on a Bolton team that on paper the Chiefs should defeat. But any time a team runs an unfamiliar offense, which is also unfamiliar to West Ouachita’s head coach, it should be a worrisome situation. 

Middleton has been doing his homework on the Notre Dame Box the last couple of weeks in hopes of being fully prepared to take on Bolton. 

If West Ouachita slips up against Bolton, the Chiefs will have tough sledding ahead with a brutal 5A district schedule waiting in October. 

It’s up to the Chiefs to start the season hot in order to avoid a losing season. 

Lions den

Don’t be fooled by Airline’s 2018 record. The 3-7 Vikings suffered three one-possession losses to Union, Bastrop and Parkway, who went on to win a combined 25 games a season ago. 

Call the 2018 season a rebuild year after going 9-4 for Airline if you’d like. Now Ouachita is in those very same shoes. 

The players lost in the trenches have the Ouachita Lions staring at a potential losing season. Make no mistake about it — skill players still abound for this Lions squad, and there’s no shortage of speed. But Ouachita can’t continue to get beat in the trenches like it did in the preseason. 

Ouachita’s matchup with Airline will be very telling of how this 2019 season will pan out for the Lions. 

Former coach vs. former team 

When Adrian Burnette was at Bastrop a season ago, the Rams threw it all over the field against opponents. Friday night, Burnette will try to do that against his former team as the new Wossman offensive coordinator. 

Burnette will coach against a team he led to a 10-3 record a season ago before losing his job due to Morehouse Parish School Board’s reduction in workforce.

Bastrop will be better than expected, and Wossman head coach Dean Smith said there was no shortage of athletes on the tape. 

Will Wossman’s passing game led by Antrell Green do to Bastrop what the Rams have done to others the past few years? 


Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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