In a rematch of a game that was called in the fourth quarter just eight days prior, the No. 30 West Ouachita Chiefs made schematic adjustments to give No. 3 Alexandria fits early. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, West Ouachita could not maintain their early success in a 42-14 defeat on the road in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.

“We were able to make some adjustments and throw the ball a little bit early, but I’m going to be honest with you, their defensive line played extremely well last night,” West Ouachita head coach Matt Middleton said. “We’re just physically beat up. One of those things where we felt we could hang for a while, but with Tobias (Owens) and Alfred (Cole) beat up and losing two more linebackers last night, this is just life in what I call the SEC West.”

Owens played quarterback again for the Chiefs after Brendon Crawford was forced to play linebacker and later left the game with an injury. West Ouachita led 7-0 late in the first quarter after Owens scored on a short yardage score.

ASH backup quarterback Matt Barber filled in for starter Judd Barton, who was dealing with an ankle injury, and was held to just two completions for eight yards in the contest. But he managed the game and found ways to hurt West Ouachita in the run game.

“He’s got a unique story,” Middleton said. “He played for them a year ago, and on Monday, (ASH head coach) Thomas (Bachman) went and got him to come suit up for them again. So he knew the offense and was able to run what they do.”

ASH’s rushing attack, and more specifically running back Jarvis Newton, had its way in the second quarter.

After Newton’s four-yard touchdown run, he scored twice more in the second quarter to give ASH a 21-7 halftime lead. Newton broke loose on a 57-yard run for his fourth touchdown run early in the third quarter. The Trojans running back led all with 185 yards on 17 carries.

Owens scored the Chiefs’ lone touchdowns in the contest and led West Ouachita with 63 yards on 23 carries.

West Ouachita finished the season with a 6-5 record, and Middleton believes seniors like Owens, Cole and defensive lineman Montana King helped lay the foundation for bigger and brighter days at West Ouachita.

“You can’t replace those guys who played so much football for us, but we have a young core coming back,” Middleton said. “We’ll regroup and get back in there after Thanksgiving break. This was a huge step forward for our program.”  

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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