Zachary began defense of its district title with a wild victory over Scotlandville in its District 4-5A opener.

With the two teams combining for 987 yards and 95 points, a fumble recovery in the end zone by Keenan Tate with 23 seconds remaining preserved the 49-46 victory for Zachary over Scotlandville. The Broncos’ Ty’Wan Beardon, who had scored a touchdown on a first-half fumble return, forced the fumble.

The Broncos improved to 5-1 on the year and 1-0 in 4-5A as quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr., who committed early this week to play at Syracuse, paced the offensive onslaught. Scott completed 20 of 24 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a game-high 156 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.

The Broncos will face a familiar foe when they host Denham Springs on Friday. The Yellow Jackets lost to Live Oak 16-14 a week ago, falling to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in 4-5A.

Northeast travels to Episcopal

Northeast hits the road for its second straight Thursday night encounter, facing Episcopal in a key District 6-2A matchup.

The Vikings fell to 4-2 for the season and 2-1 in 6-2A with a disappointing but close 21-20 loss against unbeaten Madison Prep. After falling behind 21-6 in the third quarter, quarterback Marqueon Minor threw touchdown passes of 14 yards to Andrew Snowden and 29 yards to Ramon Parker to get his team to within one point at 21-20. Minor moved his team on one final series inside MPA territory but three successive sacks and a fumble preserved the win for Madison Prep. Northeast opened with a 36-yard scoring run by Tyriq Kelly.

Northeast coach David Masterson, who saw his team’s four-game win streak snapped, said, “It was a battle. I’m very proud of them having to replace 10 starters on defense and seven on offense. They played hard and that’s all you can ask.”

Last week, Episcopal improved to 5-1 for the season and 4-0 in district with a 43-6 triumph over winless Mentorship Academy.

Barnes replaced by Stephens

Zachary High Principal Joe LeBlanc announced last week that April Brown Barnes has been replaced as the head girls basketball coach and assistant Mike Stephens has been named head coach for the Lady Broncos. LeBlanc said Barnes remains at ZHS as a teacher.

Citing “personnel reasons,” LeBlanc said he could not give a further explanation for the move.

Barnes, a former LSU player, led the Broncos to a 21-11 record last season and a Class 5A playoff berth. She was set to enter her eighth season with the Lady Broncos. She was head coach at St. Joseph’s Academy before coming to Zachary.

Stephens came to Zachary two years ago after leading Baker to prominence, including Class 3A runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2013.

Broncos runners 15th, 25th

The Zachary High Broncos competed in the Catholic High Invitational, finishing 15th out of 52 teams. William Heidke finished in 64th place in 16 minutes, 47.20 seconds, Dominick Thomas was 85th (17:13.00) and Christopher Bennett was 94th (17:19.50) to pace the Broncos.

Brother Martin’s team finished first and Catholic’s Jeffrey Kelley (15:02.70) won the individual title.

For the girls, Zachary finished in 25th place out of 40 teams with Haley Sweigle leading the way and finishing in 113th place in 22:41.10.

St. Joseph’s won the team title for the second straight year. Sara Funderburk, of Parkway, claimed the individual girls title.

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux@theadvocate.com.