Monroe Dispatch - No Struggle, No Progress

Mr. Pickem Grissom's Football Predictions

Week 9 - October 26 & 27 week 8 record: 12-13 featured games: 0-1 (14-5 overall) overall record: 86-25


October 26, 2017 | View PDF

final two weeks of the season and some highly anticipated games are set to take place. After a week 7 slate of games that featured some big-time blowouts and not many surprises, week 9 is sure to tilt the scales in favor of some epic battles. It’s now or never for some teams that are striving to improve their playoff positions and some teams face “must win” games to continue their football seasons. I expect some upset specials this week and the GAME OF THE WEEK could’ve easily been 4 or more games. After a 12-3 record last week, I even find myself trying to get into post-season mode but if I want to keep your attention I’ll have to step my game up this week.

***This week will feature several games that have been moved to Thursday night so be sure to check when your team will hit the field.

** Game of the Week **


Coming into the season, I held the Ouachita Lions in very high regard. They have the talent, experience and pedigree to beat any team in the state. However, over the past 8 weeks, they’ve faltered a bit losing 3 games on its way to a 5-3 record. Don’t get me wrong the 3 losses have come to some very viable opponents (Neville, Plaquemine and Ruston), but that shouldn’t be an excuse for a team as loaded as the Lions. Last week, they got back on track by wiping away district foe, Natchitoches-Central 54-14. The dominance displayed vs the Chiefs is what I’d expected out of the Lions since ranking them #1 in my preseason rankings. RB Dylan Roberts has returned from injury and appears to back at full strength as he rushed for 185 yards and 3 TDs on just 15 carries. Jabari Johnson also came up big with 54 yards rushing and 2 TDs. He also tossed 2 more TDs, including a 70-yard strike to his go-to receiver, Josh Newton. It was about as a complete game as Coach Jeff Fitzgerald could ask. His defense came away with 2 takeaways and his special team’s unit also produced a 95 yard kickoff return for a score. If the Lions want any shot at a district crown they’ll need to put forth that same effort this week vs a very good West Monroe team.

That West Monroe team was also putting on perhaps its most impressive win of the season in a 63-10 road victory over Pineville. The 53-point margin of victory was the highest of the season for the Rebs, but it could’ve been even more. All-Grissom QB Slade Bolden got off to a roller coaster start to the game. After hitting fellow Grissom G.O.At., Jairus Henry on a 61 yard catch and run TD, Bolden had his troops driving for another score but was picked by a N-C defender that returned it 93 yards to even the score at 7-7. That mishap must’ve upset the Alabama-commit because from that point , it was all Rebs. Scoring the next 28 consecutive points, West Monroe found themselves emptying the benches even before halftime. RB Cam Wright topped the century mark again with 118 yards and 2 scores and Henry would finish his night with 4 grabs for 106 yards and 2 scores. Sensational sophomore QB Garrett Kahmann appears ready to take over for the graduating Bolden and even tossed and ran for a score as well.

Every year this game is highlighted on both team’s schedules. They despise each other and there’s no other way to say it. West Monroe owns the bragging rights in this series and hasn’t lost a game to the Lions since 1994. None of the players in this year’s game were born and probably not even thought about, but that doesn’t change the importance of this game. Last year West Monroe bested the Lions twice which included a whopping 61-21 2nd round playoff dismantling at Ouachita. I was actually at that game last year and for about a half I thought the Lions would come away with the upset, but Bolden flat out took over when it counted. OPHS wide receiver CJ Brown may have even had his best performance as a Lion in that game but it was not enough to get the win. If the Lions want to win, then they’ll need to use every weapon they have in all aspects of the game. Fitzgerald has shown a little more balance in his offensive scheme but the power rushing attack is his bread and butter, but with Dalvin Hutchinson, JB Gullatt and Javoris Harris patrolling the front line I think Brown and Newton could become the X-Factors. There’s really no stopping this dynamic offensive unit of West Monroe, but Ruston and Neville have shown that you can slow them down a bit and if Ouachita can muster up at least 28 points then the cowbells in western Ouachita Parish won’t ring so loud. But those are a lot of “ifs”. In my preseason predictions I had the Lions losing 1 game which I felt would be to Neville. But as you all know I can be wrong sometimes. I now have the utmost confidence the Lions will lose 4 games this regular season. Rebels continue to roll.

West Monroe 38 Ouachita 21


You’d rarely find me writing a segment about 2 teams that aren’t ranked nor are they above .500, but when Carroll faces Wossman the records and accolades can all be thrown out. Carroll will take the 2-mile trek to Arizona St this Thursday night to take on its most heated rival, Wossman. The Dogs will come in on a bit of a high as well after pulling off the slight upset over Union last week 20-19. The Dogs offense appeared to have found its groove with the insertion of Cedric Woods under center and former QB SirTimothy Hollins imitating Tyreek Hill. The Carroll coaching staff also knew that once they got stud RB Fantoryian Pendleton healthy that they’d be able to compete in this vaunted district. Pendleton & Hollins ripped through the Union defense for a combined 234 yards and 3 scores. I was also impressed by the Dogs defense as they came away with 3 takeaways which included a remarkable game saving forced fumble with Union inside the Dogs 1-yard line. Sophomore CB Ladarius Goldsberry may have had the game’s biggest play when he intercepted the Farmer’s pass on its final drive of the game. Coach Jackie Hamilton has a way of getting his guys to perform when their backs are against the wall and that win has the Dogs sitting firmly in the playoff hunt.

A team that needs to take a page out of the Carroll survival kit is the Wossman Wildcats. In the most recent LHSAA the Wildcats currently rank #31. With only 32 teams eligible for post-season play, the ‘Cats will need to pick up a win or two in the following weeks. Last week wasn’t one to remember for Coach Dean Smith as he lost to Richwood for the first time in his short coaching career 48-0. The wheels are slowing falling off the Wossman carriage, but there’s still time to pull out the spare before it’s too late. Not much went right last Friday night for Wossman but Smith hopes to get his young bunch ready for the future and a win over Carroll would just the way to do it. The quarterback tandem of Nick Traylor and Ant Green provided most of the Cats yardage on the night and even though the 48-point margin looks ugly the secondary kept D1 commits, Geor’Quarious Spivey and CJ Ceaser in check for a majority of the night.

Honestly there hasn’t been any reason for me to pick in Wossman’s favor this season as it is obvious they’re in rebuild mode, but the pedigree and pride of their players led me to believe that they could pull off the upset last week. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and the Richwood faithful weren’t shy about letting me know how stupid that assumption was. Well Carroll isn’t Richwood and picking the Cats over the Dogs isn’t that much of a stretch and besides, this game will be on Wossman’s turf. But there’s no way I can take the heckling from both Richwood and Carroll supporters 2 weeks in a row so this week I’ll use my better judgement and the reasonable analysis that it’s not likely a Cat can whip a Dog. Bulldogs chomp up the Wildcats.

Carroll 25 Wossman 20


I’m sure the folks in Columbia, La must consider themselves close kin to Rodney Dangerfield. “They get NO RESPECT”. I’ve sang their praises since catching a glimpse of them in week 3 vs 4A Grant. But with , even I hadn’t featured them in the weekly write-up. Several area locals are even questioning that the Spartans schedule. But what I’d say to that is, they’ve beaten everyone on the schedule and not many teams can say that. The Spartans currently sit at # 8 in the LHSAA power rankings and a win over Jena would put them into the top 5. Last year’s Spartans squad struggled to a 1-9 record in Coach Buster Duplessie’s first season, but in year 2 they’re hitting on all cylinders. Averaging 53 ppg through 8 games it’s pretty apparent that if you’re going to

beat’em then you’d better have an ample offense. Leading the way for the Spartans is the state’s leading rusher and Grissom Mid-Season Offensive MVP, Eric London. London eclipsed the 2000-yard mark last week in a 54-22 win over Avoyelles. He’s also averaging a mind-blowing 260 rushing yards per game with 34 touchdowns. But as most football gurus know, in order to be a successful team, you must also have a leading man taking the snaps. For the Spartans its 6’4 senior QB J.D. Abrams. Abrams has accented London’s ground success with nearly 800 passing yards and 5 TDs while also being the second leading rusher for Coach Duplessie with 585 yards (73ypg) and 10 TDs. WR Cole Buffington leads all receivers with nearly 200 yards and 2 scores.

Jena isn’t in Grissom’s coverage area but if they were they’d surely sit inside the Top 5. Jena sits at # 7 in the LHSAA power rankings and this game is just as important for them as it is for the Spartans. Over the past 3 seasons the Giants have posted an impressive 28-4 record but no one in our area has dared to ask, “Who have they played?” Jena also features a stud running back by the name of Chico Savage and his last name fits his running style. At 5’8, 180lbs Savage is almost the split image of London, but his supporting cast may be even better. QB Lamar Farris is committed to play at Kent St and 4-star WR Jaray Jenkins is an LSU-commit. Jenkins has missed a majority of the season with a leg injury and isn’t expected to play vs Caldwell but Coach Jay Roark has managed to utilize some younger players to help fill the void. Savage has rushed for 200 yards in back-to-back weeks over Peabody and Avoyelles with multiple runs of over 40 yards. His backup is 5’9, 180lb sophomore, Trelon Jones who has also rushed for over 1000 yards.

To most in our area you may not be overly concerned with this matchup Thursday night, but Grissom will be in attendance if weather permits. I’d advise a lot of you to follow suit because this one will be a good one. This game is another one of those fierce rivalries where the kids know each other and they’re not willing to give any handouts to the other. If Jenkins was healthy, I’d have no problem at all picking Jena to win at home, but losing that kind of player has negative effects in games of this caliber. When you check the common opponents (Grant, Winnfield, Avoyelles, and Peabody) the scores favor Caldwell on offense (212 to 85) and Jena on defense (159-45) and quite honestly their schedules aren’t much different from the other’s. However, Jena did venture into the 5A ranks and clipped Alexandria 40-21. Now with all those numbers there at your disposal, let me say this one more time.... NONE OF THAT MATTERS! Come Thursday night it’ll be for all the marbles and the district title is at stake. Jena’s been down this road before going undefeated in 2015’s regular season, but I think it’s time for the new kids on the block to plant it’s flag on Jena’s turf. London does it again and the Spartans slip away from Jena with a program changing win.

Caldwell 38 Jena 32



week 9

1. WEST MONROE (8-0) def. Pineville 63-10

2. STERLINGTON (8-0) def. Madison Parish 31-6

3. RICHWOOD (6-2) def. Wossman 41-0

4. RUSTON (5-2) def. Alexandria 56-14

5. CALDWELL PARISH (8-0) def. Avoyelles 54-22

6. NEVILLE (4-3) def. West Ouachita 43-14

7. FERRIDAY (6-2) def. Mangham 48-0

8. CEDAR CREEK (8-0) def. Sicily Island 54-12

9. BASTROP (4-3) def. Bastrop 53-52

10. OUACHITA (5-3) def. Natchitoches-Central 54-14

Just missed it: Oak Grove (7-1), Rayville (4-4), Mangham (6-2), Union Parish (5-3)


week 8










QB Slade Bolden West Monroe Senior

RB Eric London Caldwell Parish Senior

RB Demaine Riley Neville Senior

WR Jairus Henry West Monroe Junior

WR Sir’quan Hawkins Bastrop  Junior

WR Rashard Naylor Rayville Senior

TE Brooks Rushworth Sterlington  Senior

OL Devin Phillips Neville Senior

OL Isaac Ellis Carroll Senior

OL Dare Rosenthal Ferriday  Senior

OL Jabari Danzie   Richwood Senior

Ol Chris Doyle Ouachita Junior

All-Purpose Hidari “Cj” Ceaser Richwood Senior

****Offensive MVP: Eric London, Caldwell


DL Dantrieze Scott Ferriday Senior

DL Dalvin Hutchinson West Monroe Junior

DL Taj Samuel Ruston Senior

DL Anthony Freeman Neville  Senior

LB Chris Lewis Ouachita Senior

LB Deion Reed Richwood  Senior

LB Devione Reed Richwood Senior

LB J.B. Gullatt West Monroe Senior

DB Isaiah George West Monroe Senior


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