Harlan Dixon (Slidell High Football)

Harlan Dixon (23) and the Slidell Tigers finished the regular season 7-3, leading to coach Larry Favre's proclamation that "Slidell High football is back!"

BY BOBBY GILBOY Special to the Farmer

“Slidell is back, baby!” is the way coach Larry Favre described the way his Tigers finished the 2017 regular football season.

Slidell had just edged the Northshore Panthers 14-7 with a fourth-quarter touchdown and a goal line stand, giving the Tigers another trip to the state playoffs.

“We finish 7-3 overall and 5-2 in District 6-5A for the first time in 10 years,” said Favre, who is in his fifth year at Slidell. “It’s a great accomplishment for these kids. They’ve worked very hard to get this far.”

Northshore turned a close game into a tighter one in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Jeff Panks sacked Slidell quarterback Jacob Guidry twice to force a punt, which was blocked by Hunter Gill and returned by Branyan Bounds to the Slidell 11.

Walter Harris ran for five yards, and Dwyane Jones Jr. covered the final four yards for a touchdown. Andrew Stein’s extra-point kick knotted the game 7-7 with 9:06 remaining.

Slidell drove from its 20 to the Northshore 36, where the Tigers faced a moment of truth on a fourth-and-six. “I wanted to punt the ball, but the coaches said they had a play ready,” Favre said.

The play was a real razzle-dazzle. Guidry handed off to Harlan Dixon going left, who pitched it to Tito Simmons heading right. Simmons found Guidry open in the flat for 26 yards to keep the drive alive.

“I bobbled the ball, but I got it under control,” said Guidry. “I was at Northshore my freshman year, so this win means a lot to me.”

Guidry lost his helmet after the play, so Simmons had to take the snap on the next play. He scored on a 10-yard run with 3:28 remaining to put Slidell in front.

“I don’t remember a lot about the pass,” said Simmons, who ran for 78 yards on 17 carries for the night. I just threw it as hard as I could.”

Guidry completed 10-of-15 passes for 123 yards. Harlan Dixon caught four for 46 yards and a score, and Caleb Joseph snagged three for 36 yards.

Northshore had one chance left to win or force overtime. Harris hit Cole Cavallo with a 65-yard pass to the Slidell 9-yard line one play after the kickoff. Harris ran for 6 yards on the next three plays, then tried to hit Cavallo on a slant-in, but the pass was broken up by Lawnajah Harvey.

“It was a tough game for us to lose,” said Northshore coach Mike Bourg. “We had the right play called, but their defensive back made a great play.”

Slidell went 80 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Simmons ran for 21 yards, and Guidry capped the march with a 7-yard strike to Dixon.

Northshore had its first drive die on down at the Slidell five. A 35-yard field goal try by Stein in the second period was wide, as was a 30-yard try in the third quarter.

Follow David Folse II on Twitter, @davidfolse.