Farmers failing to execute
Through the first eight weeks of the season, Union Parish
coach Joe Spatafora feels the Farmers are spending
too much time on the basics.
Despite the extra attention, he’s not seeing the results
he expects.
Friday’s 14-13 overtime loss at Carroll was the Farmers
third loss in district play in the last six years. Two of those
have come in consecutive weeks.
“Here it is week nine, and we’re still going over things
we should have learned to take care of weeks ago,” Spatafora
said. “We go over these things Monday through
Thursday, and when we go out on Friday night we’re still
making the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Penalties. Turnovers. We don’t need to worry about what
our opponents are doing. We need to focus on what we’re
doing to ourselves.”
For five seasons, the Farmers went unbeaten in District
2-3A. A loss last season to Carroll snapped that streak,
and now consecutive losses against Wossman and Carroll
mark the first time since 2005 - the year before Spatafora
took the reins of the program - that the Farmers have
dropped two straight in district play.
Much of that can be attributed to the increased ability
of district foes. And the lion’s share of that is found in
stability in the coaching staffs.
“Absolutely,” Spatafora said. “Having the same coaches
and the same system year after year is a big part of why
the level of competition has increased.”
And then the conversation quickly returns to “taking
care of business.” »

Farmers face Carroll in key district tilt
Looking at the calendar,
the Louisiana High School
Athletic Association Allstate/
Sugar Bowl football
playoffs don’t start until
the second weekend in November.
For the Union Parish
Fighting Farmers, the season
has already started.
Coming off a hardfought
14-7 loss against
Wossman, the Farmers hit
the road this week to take
on Carroll in a key District
2-3A contest.
“We’re telling our men
every game from here out
is the playoffs,” Farmers
coach Joe Spatafora said.
The Farmers were one
of three teams that shared
the district title last year.
Union, Wossman and Richwood
had a 4-1 district record
last year, with each losing
a game on their home
This season, it looks
like it could be a four-team
race for the top spot. After
Friday night, it could alternately
become clearer or
incredibly crowded.
Currently, the Farmers
and Bulldogs are tied with
Richwood and Madison for
second place in the district
with 1-1 records. Wossman,
which beat UPHS 14-7 last
week at Doc Elliott Stadium,
sits atop the standings
with a 2-0 mark.
If the Farmers are to
match last year’s success –
their eighth-straight season
with a playoff berth – it will
have to start Friday night in
the Dog Pound.
In his pre-game interview
on 99.7 ESPN, Farmers
coach Joe Spatafora
said it appears the district
contenders are all playing
better defense this year. For
evidence, look no further
than last week’s games,
where only 12 touchdowns
were scored in three district
games. Only Madison
– against winless Caldwell –
had more than three scores
on the night.
“Everyone had young
players on defense last year,
and they’re all back this
year with a year’s experience,”
Spatafora said Monday.
Jerry Brown (6-0, 183) is
listed as a strong safety on
coach Jackie Hamilton’s
roster but seems to play
more of a walk-up defense
end in the Bulldogs’ 4-3
defensive alignment. He
has great speed and can go
Offensively, quarterback
Odirrius Sellers directs
the attack, anchored by big
bodies up front, including
guard Paul Thomas (6-0, 33) »

Tors a tall task for Timberwolves
D’Arbonne Woods will get a good fix on how far
they’ve come as a program in an official season and a
half on Friday. »

Other Sports Headlines
  • Lions look to start streak
  • Past successes make scheduling tough for UPHS