By Josh Beavers
There will be zero gimme games this season for the Minden High Crimson Tide.
“Everyone is a challenge,” ninth-year head coach Spencer Heard told the Journal on Monday morning. “But that’s the way you want it. We’ve got to be focused every week because of the level of competition we are facing each game.”
9/3 at Parkway
9/10 Green Oaks
9/17 North Webster
9/24 at Mansfield
10/1 at Leesville
10/8 North DeSoto*
10/22 at Bastrop*
11/5 at Franklin Parish*
* denotes district game
The Minden High Crimson Tide enters the 2021 season riding the momentum of a run in the LHSAA 4A playoffs. The Tide compiled a 7-3 record including several heart-stopping last-second victories before running up against perennial power Neville in the third round of the playoffs.
Up first for the Tide is Class 5A Parkway on the road.
“Playing a school in a larger classification gets you in the right frame of mind right off the bat,” Heard said. Minden coaches have seen a little bit of Parkway in action during 7-on-7 events this summer. “They will be a challenge to play,” Heard said.
Green Oaks is next for the Tide. Heard said they present a different set of challenges compared to last year’s second-week opponent Haynesville.
“Green Oaks is wide open whereas Haynesville runs the Wing-T. Both are good programs,” he told the Journal.
The third opponent is 3A North Webster, which is a game that renews the Webster Parish rivalry that goes back to the old Springhill Lumberjack days.
“Coach John Ware does a good job defensively taking away what you are trying to do,” Heard said. “This is always a very physical game. Our kids always play hard, but I think they take it up a notch when North Webster is on the field.”
Up next for the Tide is Mansfield. Heard said this would be a special game because he’ll be coaching against his alma mater. He graduated from Mansfield in 1992 and says it’s a surreal feeling to be coaching on the field where he played so many games.
The next opponent for the Tide will be Leesville who will be looking to avenge their second-round playoff loss to the Tide last season. Following a last-second touchdown to tie the game in regulation, the Tide went on to beat Leesville in overtime.
“They are going to be very motivated to play us,” Heard said. “They are going to have a chip on their shoulder and we are going down there. They will be hyped.”
North DeSoto comes to the Pit the next week. Just like Leesville, the Griffins will be looking to avenge a close loss to the Tide from last season. “Coach [Dennis] Dunn is an excellent coach and will have his team ready and motivated for us,” Heard said. “Last season was a barn burner.” The Tide beat North DeSoto 34-27 in 2020.
The following week Minden will host perennial powerhouse Neville. Minden played the Tigers twice in 2020. Both of those games were defeats for the Tide including bowing out of the playoffs over in Monroe.
“Neville is loaded to the gills,” Heard said. “They were very junior heavy last year and many are picking them to either win or at least make it to the state championship game.”
Minden will make a trip to Morehouse Parish the next week to play Bastrop. “They are a very physical and athletic team,” Heard said. “Last year’s game was hard-fought.” The 2020 game was another one of the last-second victories for the Tide as they beat the Rams 27-26 in overtime.
Rounding out the schedule are Huntington and Franklin Parish. Both of those games were canceled last year due to Covid. Heard said both schools are going in a positive direction and he will be interested to watch them on film as the season nears.