Superdome trip at stake in Welsh, Many rematch

A year ago, a win at home over Many propelled the Welsh Greyhounds to their first Superdome trip in 25 years and a state championship.

Friday will bring the much-anticipated rematch as the No. 1 Many Tigers (11-1) will host the No. 5 Greyhounds (10-3) in a Class 2A semifinal with another trip to the Superdome on the line.

“They are a real good football team and have been good for several years in a row,” Welsh head coach John Richardson said of the Tigers. “Both teams want it bad.

“It is a rematch, but both teams stand in each other’s way of reaching the finals.”

Many is in the semifinals for a third consecutive season and has been the No. 1 seed in Class 2A every season since 2013, except last year when it lost to then-No. 1 Welsh 28-18.

“We were just hoping to be in the semifinals,” Many head coach Jess Curtis said. “You know it is going to be the four best teams.

“We expected to play them at some point along the way and they expected to play us at some point. We are glad to be home. We think the world of Welsh and Coach Richardson. It is going to be a good game with two good programs.”

Welsh took advantage of two Many fourth-quarter turnovers last season.

“Every coach is going to say the same this time of year,” Curtis said. “You want to stay away from penalties and turnovers.

“It is two teams that have same colors and same football towns. You want to play error-free as much as possible.”

Many’s offense has averaged 44.7 points, led by running backs Terrence Williams (1,555 yards, 28 TDs) and Ni’kendrick Carter (1,171 yds., 14 TDs), but one could say the defense is their biggest weapon. The Tigers allowed 7.4 points and 130 yards a game with seven shutouts.

Many has only allowed more than 100 rushing yards in a game twice. One of those was a 22-7 loss to North DeSoto. The Tigers front line is led by University of Texas-bound defensive end Myron Warren (6-4, 245), who has 11 sacks and 26 tackles for a loss.

“We have been a really good defensive ballclub, and you expect that with eight seniors,” Curtis said. “When you get into the playoffs and you are playing teams at the level of Welsh, Amite and Ferriday, you have to play that type of defense to keep playing.

“We are going to have to buckle our chin straps and play some football. We have played well against the run this year.”

With its run game likely to face strong resistance, the Greyhounds will need to rely more on their passing game, which has accounted for nine touchdowns in the last four games. Quarterback Benoit (97-157-7, 1,367 yds., 17 TDs) is coming off his best game of the season after completing 11 of 22 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including two to senior wide receiver Da’Ren Zeno (43 rec., 658 yds., 8 TDs) who finished with 10 catches for 142 yards.

“We feel like what we do on offense matches up well,” Richardson said. “They blitz every down and most teams give up on the run and throw.

“We feel like we will be able to mix the ball up on them. We are going to have to be some of both. Anytime you have a team as talented as they are, you can’t be one dimensional.”””

Welsh’s Charlie Watkins fumbles as Many’s #3 recovers during the 1st half of their semifinal round game at Welsh High School in Welsh Louisiana, La., Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.