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Northside head coach John Simmons, left, talks to player Jamarion Alexander during the Vikings' game against Southside at Northside High School on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 in Lafayette, La.

Despite being forced to play musical chairs at quarterback, coach John Simmons and the Northside Vikings notched their first win with a 14-13 victory over Beau Chene.

Before the regular season even began, the Vikings were down to their third-string quarterback after injuries to Dennis Harris and Kirk Dunn.

"It was a great, hard-fought win," Simmons said of the homecoming victory. "We've been having quarterback issues. We're down to our fourth- and fifth-string guys. We're simply asking them to do like (Saints quarterback) Teddy Bridgewater and manage the game.

"Our kids fought hard on defense and played a great game. We're banged up on offense, but we're scrappy and did what we had to do to win. As a result, the kids were able to enjoy a good homecoming dance, and it's easier to get a good outlook on things on Monday when you're coming off a win."

The Vikings (1-4) could surpass last year's win total with a victory at home against a winless Opelousas team that hasn't played in two weeks after Friday's game against LaGrange was canceled.

"We can't sleep on them," said Simmons of the Tigers, who have been shut out twice in four games. "They have athletes like always with good speed. They have decent size and are scrappy like us.

"We told the kids not to get the big head off one game. We had a good practice Monday and made sure the kids understood what we're trying to install."

The loss of Dunn, who was carted off the field on a stretcher in the jamboree, was a huge blow for Northside, which expected him to be the star performer on offense at wide receiver.

After Harris was injured in the preseason, Dunn made the move to starting quarterback.

"We don't know whether Kirk will be back," Simmons said. "The doctors will make the decision, but it doesn't look good. We're waiting on the doctor to make an announcement.

"If they clear him, that's great, but a kid's health comes first. I don't care about football when it comes to a young man living his life. He had a pretty nasty injury."

With the attrition in the offensive backfield, Simmons has turned to his defense and the unit has responded.

"We have to put up some points, but they've kept us in games," Simmons said. "Our nose guard, Jaylon Jones, has also played running back and tight end. He's having a great year. Brandon Issac is a cornerback/receiver who has been lighting it up. He had three interceptions versus Peabody (in Week 3). He's been tearing it up at the cornerback position.

"Jaquaveon Johnson, a junior defensive back, had three picks last week. He's a kid who has started coming around. Linebacker Brian Winters is also playing well. He's just a junior, and T.K. Isadore at running back would have had over 200 yards last week if you take away the penalties. He had 100 anyway. He's coming off a high ankle sprain and is not 100 percent, but we'll take him at 80 percent."

Ankle injury behind Butler

Entering last week's game versus Marksville, Crowley tailback Obadiah Butler rushed for 255 yards through four games.

On Friday, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior obliterated that total with a 20-carry, 359-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 62-38 win. 

Butler's prolific night easily led the area in rushing and helped the 3-2 Gents win their second straight as they prepare for a final nondistrict matchup at home versus Washington-Marion (1-4).

"He popped one for 97 yards and another for 70 yards," Crowley coach Jeptha Wall said. "Butler broke his ankle during the summer, and we were trying to use him sparingly at the beginning of the year.

Crowley's Obadiah Butler

Obadiah Butler

"At first, he looked like he wasn't the same. I think he was kind of still shell-shocked from the injury. It took time for his motor to get running, but he's always been electrifying as a receiver and runner."

Wall said it appears Butler has put the ankle injury behind him.

"He was a little cautious before Friday," Wall said. "We run some zone-read stuff with our quarterback, Marquis Garrett, who is starting to trust the offensive line a bit more. Marquis is doing a phenomenal job. He's not making bad decisions.

"If we can corral everybody around him and Butler, we could have something special. Overall, I'm happy with our offense. Early on, we weren't blocking, but we've gotten back to old-school stuff blocking-wise. We have to establish our run game because we can't rely on Marquis exclusively."

A 6-3, 195-pound senior, Garrett passed for 105 yards and added 65 rushing on eight carries against Marksville.

"We've been explosive at times on offense but we're not there yet," said Wall, whose team is averaging more than 35 points per game. "We're still searching for an identity. Marquis was 5-of-12 passing and five or six of his incompletions hit the receiver in the hands. We're just not catching them, and it's killed a few drives.

"Last year, our receiving corps did a good job of extending drives. This year, we're more explosive at the position, but we're not extending drives. On the one hand, we need to catch the ball more consistently. On the other hand, we have a lot playing both ways. We're thin on numbers, and there may be some fatigue."

Stingy defense buoying OC 

Rolling along at 5-0, Opelousas Catholic is ranked No. 8 in Class 1A and No. 10 in the Acadiana Advocate's Super 10.

Coach Thomas David's team boasts a résumé that includes a road win over Vermilion Catholic, which is tied for third in the 1A poll. 

The Vikings, rightfully so, are known for their offensive firepower.

Quarterback Jesse Roy has thrown for 1,151 yards and 18 touchdowns with three interceptions, while Keon Coleman has 515 receiving yards and 10 scores.

What isn't getting as much acclaim, however, is a defense that has recorded two shutouts and is allowing fewer than 10 points per game.

"Our defense has played well," said David, whose team opens District 5-1A play Friday against St. Edmund. "Our philosophy is that the defense needs to play good football.

"It starts in the box with defensive end Donovan Green, who has had a really good start to the year. Our linebackers, Ethan Fourrier and Jack Sebastien, have also had really good starts."

Green, Fournier and Sebastien are all senior returning starters, as is 6-0, 250-pound tackle Xavier Jackson, who was also singled out by his coach.

Opelousas Catholic's Xavier Jackson

Xavier Jackson

Sebastian's cousin, junior free safety Drew Sebastien, also received praise by David, who uses most of his starters on both sides of the ball.

"St. Ed's is a very physical team," Sebastien said. "It's always a physical game when we tie up with them. They moved into the district this year after winning two straight titles in their previous district, which they ran the last several years. We play them most years even when we're not in the same district.

"They had an injury at quarterback and, as a result, are more run-oriented. There's also Catholic-Pointe Coupee on the eastern side of the district. Sacred Heart has been a seven-win team the last few years, and Westminster started 4-1."

The Vikings and Blue Jays (3-2) last met in 2016 with OC winning 35-0.

"We're where I'd like to be at this point of the season," David said. "Staying focused is the biggest thing. High school kids often lose focus when they have success, but we've done a good job of staying focused. We have a couple of kids that can play at any level. Keon is very talented. He definitely helps our quarterback out.

"Jesse is a tough guy, very intelligent, who understands the system. He has a lot on his plate mentally and physically. (Junior tailback) Caleb Rubin is a twitchy kid who is just scraping the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how good he can be. He's a little nicked up. When he gets it all figured out, he could be really good."