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Story Archives: What a great night at Melz
|What a great night at Melz|
Ferriday High opens District 2-2A play as the Trojans host Jonesboro-Hodge Friday at 7 p.m. at Melz Field.
"We need a win," said Trojan coach Richard Oliver, whose team is 2-3 after suffering tough losses to Wilkinson County and Jennings. "We've had some games the past two weeks and come up short. We're seeing improvement each week, but we've got to get better at the little things."
Jonesboro-Hodge is 1-4 on the season, blanking Grambling 26-0, but suffering big losses to Winnfield, Cedar Creek, Avoyelles and Caldwell.
"Our starting quarterback got hurt in the first game and is out for the season," said J-H head coach Shannon Brown. "We are very young and had a bunch of injuries. We're just trying to get through it right now. If we can get some good things to happen early, we can stay in the game, but if not, it could get ugly."
Brown said he is impressed with Ferriday's speed.
"No. 20 (Jarvis Brooks) gave us fits last year," Brown said.
The Trojans are currently No. 30 in the power ratings.
"We certainly want to try and finish in the top 16 so we can have a playoff game at home the first week," Oliver said.
"That was quite an atmosphere for football."
Those were the words of Jennings High head football coach Rusty Phelps after his team defeated Ferriday 31-19 at Melz Field Friday.
It wasn't just a football game, it was an event.
To celebrate Homecoming, the Ferriday Alumni Band made its debut.
And it was electric. When the band first started climbing the stands to its special seating next to the current band in the first quarter, the cheers from one of the biggest Ferriday crowds in years began to build.
Then after the current Ferriday band played during the Homecoming crowning, the alumni band was lining up. What a sight after the current band came off the field and members were hurriedly handing over drums, tubas and saxophones to alumni members who then scurried across the field to join the alumni band proudly lined up for an event no one will soon forget.
The alumni dance line was lined up from 20-yard line to 20-yard line on the visitor's side and the beaming faces on the ladies told it all.
I bet some of those ladies are still feeling the leg kicks today.
The alumni majorettes came strutting down the home sideline from both ends, meeting at the 50-yard line with such precision it was like returning to the 1980s.
And longtime legendary band director Carl Dangerfield stood on the sideline with his cane where the pride just jumped off his face. Dangerfield was band director from 1974-2003 before having to retire because of a stroke.
The alumni drum majors marched — okay, maybe high-stepped onto the field, and the bleachers were straining from the crowd hooping, hollering and stomping.
When the band hit the field, the anticipation was well worth it as they played, danced and moved just like the Ferriday band in its hey day.
Ironically, I wrote after the Ferriday-Vidalia game how the atmosphere lacked and the low numbers in the band were a big part of that.
There was no lack of electricity on this night. The band could have played all night and I don't believe anybody would have left.
Obviously, halftime took a little longer than usual. But Jennings players stood in the end zone seemingly mesmerized by something they haven't seen in a while. Jennings fans, who had a long trip back home, stood and cheered following the performance. Ferriday alumni band members, most gasping for that ninth,10th and 11th breath of air, walked in perfect unison in a perfect line toward the west end zone as they did years before, some as many as 40 years ago, back toward the stands.
Throw in an entertaining football game and it was a night to remember at Melz Field.
I've often wondered who people would vote for as favorite coach of the Ferriday Trojans. Johnny "Red" Robertson would certainly top the list for the former Ferriday Bulldogs.
But as far as Trojan coach, Jerry Baldwin would certainly get some votes, but his stay was not that long. Larry Dantzler took Ferriday to its only appearance in the Louisiana Superdome. Cordell Bailey was one of the most popular coaches in Ferriday.
But if there was a vote for the most popular figure at Ferriday High, I daresay Carl Dangerfield would win that vote hands down.
The biggest cheer on a night of big cheers came when Dangerfield's name was called out. And it was only fitting.
This was his night. And the alumni band and the crowd did him proud.
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