It may have taken Huntington a little while to get its offense going Friday night, but the Raiders defense was playoff ready from the opening tip.
Huntington, 25-2 overall and winners of 11 straight games, blew the doors off the Raiders Gym in the second quarter as the home team raced past Franklin Parish 83-36 in a 4A first-round playoff game.
Franklin Parish, seeded 26th, finished its season at 12-16. The Patriots lost nine of their last 11 games.
“Huntington is not deserving of a No. 7 seed,” said Franklin Parish Coach David Radar. “Huntington should have been seeded much higher. Our kids played hard but that is a much more experienced team than we are.”
Mack Jones, in his 11th season with the Raiders, played all 16 guys on his bench as his defensive pressure never let up on the visitors.
“We knew they were a younger team,” Jones said. “Our intensity on defense was there. However, we haven’t played a game in two weeks so that probably contributed to our slow start on offense.”
Despite the slow start, Huntington still jumped to a 15-6 first quarter lead. The Raiders actually held the Patriots to just six points in each of the first three quarters.
“We are athletic and we have length,” Jones said of his defense. “We were able to play multiple guys, so we were able to stay aggressive on defense and on the boards.”
Huntington advances to the second round on Tuesday as the Raiders host Wossman.
In the decisive second quarter, Huntington outscored Franklin Parish 29-6 and led 44-12 at intermission. Johnny Woodard paced the Raiders in the first half with 10 points and was a force on the glass.
Thirteen of Jones’ 16 players scored during the game as Woodard finished with 13 points. Brandon Sheppard, a Louisiana Tech signee, added nine points.
“Everybody on the team helped out tonight,” Sheppard said. “Our main goal was to put pressure on them (Franklin Parish) and get some points off the turnovers. That worked pretty good.”
While the Raiders opened up a 68-18 advantage after three quarters, Huntington actually had two 50-point leads during the night with the last one coming at 70-20 with 7:33 left in the game on a layup by Rashad Jones.
Huntington’s balanced scoring also included nine points by Riley Anderson, eight by Kadavion Evans and eight by Demetric Alexander.
Johntavius Allen, averaging 16 points a game for the Patriots, was held to 10 points by Huntington but was Franklin’s leading scorer.