This is game No. 34 out of the top 40 games played by Concordia Parish teams.
Coaches don't suit up in pads for football games.
But on October 23, 1993, two veteran football coaches were playing a game of chess before their two teams met at Melz Field in Ferriday.
Former Ferriday coach Cordell Bailey spent extra time getting ready for games against McCall High of Tallulah.
Former McCall High head football coach Levi Washington was known for throwing in a few new wrinkles, especially when it came to a key district contest.
Which added to the drama because the two coaches were close friends.
"We would go to track meets and after they got through with the high jump we would sit in that area and have long conversations," Bailey said. "He was from Mobile. His son, Pat Washington, played quarterback at Auburn. He would tell me stories about Satchell Paige and Willie Mays who were from there. I would absorb all that in. He would also talk old-school Grambling. I loved hearing all that."
McCall was known for running the single wing. But the 1993 team had an extra bonus with quarterback Kelvin Brooks, who signed with Nevada-Las Vegas, and receiver Anthony Lucas, who was all-SEC at Arkansas and third-team All-American. He had 37 catches for 822 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. He finished with 2,879 career yards at Arkansas and was drafted by Green Bay, but several knee injuries ended his pro career early.
"Getting ready for Levi's teams was horrible," Bailey said. "No one knew more about the single wing than Levi and Ed Reed at South Natchez. You would see things you would never see in a blue moon. I brought in Mack Moore because he was a teammate of Levi's at Grambling and Coach (Robert) Cade because he ran that type of offense when he played for Levi at Williamson High in Alabama. They would explain things to us. But then came Brooks and Lucas and now they can throw the football."
Bailey, who is now retired in Lafayette, drilled into his team's head all week about one thing he did not want to see at Melz Field against McCall.
"Lucas had a little dance he did in the end zone," Bailey said. "I told our kids he's not doing that dance in Ferriday. He did score, but we had the final dance."
Bailey also gave Washington something to think about. With the District 2-AAA preseason favorite and unbeaten Dragons coming in, Bailey added a new wrinkle of his own.
Otis Bates, who had more than 1,000 rushing for the 6-1 Trojans, had two touchdown passes, 48 and 33 yards, to Cedric Skipper, while also rushing for 230 yards.
"We knew they would bite on it," Bailey said. "They focused on stopping Otis running the ball."
Bates said he worked on passing the ball to his cousin, Cedric, all week.
"I knew they would be coming at me, I just had to get it out to Cedric," Bates said.
Bailey knew the game would go a long way in deciding the district championship.
"It was always, us, McCall or Vidalia," Bailey said.
McCall scored first as Brooks returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
"I was thinking this was going to be a long night with their offense," Bailey said. "You didn't want to fall behind those guys."
On Ferriday's second possession, Bates took a pitch to the right, but pulled up and hit Skipper for a 48-yard scoring play. Ferman Washington's PAT kick tied the game at 7-7.
Bates put the Trojans ahead with a 28-yard scoring run late in the first period and quarterback Donald Ray Walker ran in the conversion for a 15-7 Trojan lead.
Brooks and Lucas teamed up on a 12-yard TD pass play to cut the lead to 15-13 at halftime.
Bates hit Skipper for 33 yards in the third period for a 21-13 Trojan lead.
Brooks hit Lucas for another score in the final period and McCall converted the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21.
"I have some relatives in Tallulah, so I heard all about those two," Bates said. "We played against them in junior high, so it was a pretty good rivalry."
Bates scored from five yards with minutes remaining in the contest and added the conversion run to give Ferriday a 29-21 lead.
"There was no way I was going to be stopped," Bates said. "We had an outstanding line with Ferman Washington and Rodney Lloyd."
Damone Green ended McCall's hopes of tying the contest by picking off a Brooks pass.
"(Assistant coach) Tony Moore went on the field to high-five Damone and we had to run out there and pull him off the field," Bailey said. "It was really intense. Me and Tony were in each other's shadow saying what we should and shouldn't do. He kept telling me he's got this."
"That was a bigger win than when we beat (Anthony) Booger McFarland at Winnsboro," Bates said.
Ferriday lost to Boston High of Lake Charles 46-40 in a Class 3A first-round playoff game in Ferriday. Ferriday trailed 34-20 in the fourth quarter, but came back to tie the game. The Trojans missed an extra point kick in the first overtime that would have won the game. Washington, who was also the regular kicker, injured his toe in a previous contest and could not kick.
"I thought I would get home and get a little consolation from my wife," Bailey said. "But when I walked in she told me, 'Everybody knew you should not have kicked it.' I looked outside to see where the dog was because I figured I might be sleeping with him."
Lake Charles-Boston lost to Mansfield in the second round.
Mansfield advanced with a 33-13 first round playoff win over McCall. Mansfield lost to Westlake in the quarterfinals.