Haynesville Tors gear up for another State Championship
All the Haynesville Tors want for Christmas is another State Championship title according the banner outside of their school. Friday the number 2 seeded (11-2) Tornado will have that chance as they take on top seeded (14-0) Ouachita Christian for another Class A crown.
The tornado football squad has been tagged back and forth with that label since 1924 and Head Coach David Franklin and team say they are looking toward clinching that victory again.
“We had a big win last week and we hope to carry that over into tomorrow’s game,” Franklin said this morning.
Twenty-one black and gold banner-type plates decorate the façade of Haynesville’s Memorial Stadium – 15 represent state champions, the remainder – runner-up honors. One of those victories was under the hands of Franklin. Eleven others were captured under the reigns of Franklin’s father, Red.
“We are definitely getting one (banner plate), but what it will say will depend on you,” Franklin says he told his team. This meaning the tors will be rewarded with a banner; however, what the monogram reads in terms of place - Champions or Runner up, will be determined on how they play the game.
Regardless of which Franklin has been at the eye of the tornado, some things have been fairly constant ¬– the Tors call “The Dome” home, and there is a lot of history between the tornado and Ouachita Christian.
“In 2010, we lost to Ouachita Christian in the second round of the playoffs,” Franklin said. “They are a well-coached team; we’ve had to change up a few things.” As far as tactics for the road ahead, he said his coaching team does not overwhelm players.
“Instead we try to take the pressure off and make it simple for them,” Franklin said.
Like a number of other members of this team, this is #22 CaVontae Critton’s first trip to “The Dome” as a tornado.
“It’s very exciting and we have it on our minds to play a mistake-free game,” said Critton.
The 5’5” junior does not allow his height to keep him from the end zone. Last week’s Tornado victory against West St. John didn’t come easy at 36-35; however, it did come with four touchdowns from the running back, 206 yards rushing. Tyus Early racked up 169 yards.
“My father always worked with me on football and always told me to give it my all no matter what the outcome,” said Critton.
Junior, offensive tackle #74 Dantae Sturges says the Tors couldn’t have cleared any of the regular season or the playoffs without “The Man Above.” “It feels good to get Haynesville back to the dome,” Sturges said today. “This is a big accomplishment for us and the Town of Haynesville.”
Cornerback and safety #20, Felix Evans, also a junior says he is overly excited about the action under the bright lights of the dome, but more than anything he is ready to play ball and tackle a win.
As the motto in Haynesville has gone for so many years past for those trailing the tors to the dome –“Last one to leave Haynesville, turn out the lights.”
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