Sports

Past successes make scheduling tough for UPHS
Joe Spatafora wouldn’t feel the Union Parish Farmers
could get ready for district play and the post season against
a schedule featuring less-than-competitive opponents.
That’s a good thing, because with the reputation the
Farmers have built in his 10-year tenure, just finding five
dates before district play would be tough.
“Those five (teams)? No one wants to play them, either,”
Spatafora said of the Farmers pre-district schedule. After
opening at home against Class 5A Airline and Class 1A
runner up Haynesville, UPHS begins a three-game road
swing with a trip to New Orleans to face the De La Salle
Cavaliers on September 16.
En route to a 9-1 regular season record, the Cavs
crushed UPHS last season 62-13.
“We played them in the playoffs in 2012,” Spatafora said
when asked how the two teams separated by 300 miles
became opponents. “They were looking for a home-andhome
series in north Louisiana, and we were looking for
one in south Louisiana, so it worked out for us.”
Like the Farmers, De La Salle struggles to fill its schedule.
Their first two games of the season - both wins - came
on the road against opponents from Mississippi.
“They’re solid,” Spatafor said. “Very athletic. They’re
well coached and play hard.”
Spatafora saw the Farmers offense show signs of life in
last week’s loss to Haynesville. UPHS averaged over five
yards per rush and also produced a passing touchdown
for the second straight week. Both TD grabs have been by
starting QB Nijeel Meeking, who frequently moves into
his natural wide receiver role when the Farmers reach
the red zone. »


Haynesville familiar foe
Union Parish and
Haynesville are more than
perennial powers in their
respective classifications.
They are about as evenly
matched as two teams can
be.
Both feature run-first
offenses and big defensive
fronts.
Over the last four meetings,
the teams have two
wins each. During a homeand-
home series in 2014
and 2015, each team took a
one-point win on the other’s
home field.
“We know what we’re
getting,” said Farmers
coach Joe Spatafora.
“They’re physical and play
old school football like us.”
The Golden Tornados
have 19 seniors returning
from a team that lost its
first two games of the season
– including a 27-26 decision
against UPHS – before
reeling off 11 straight wins
before falling in the Class
A championship game.
Among that group is senior
quarterback Trent
Franklin. His father is Tors
coach David Franklin, and
his grandfather is Louisiana
Sports Hall of Fame
coach Red Franklin, who
led Haynesville to 11 state
championships.
As Spatafora said, the
Tors are primarily pound
the ball between the tackles
from the Wing-T formation
they’ve run for over
40 years. Jamarceon Jackson
has blazing speed and
Treyon Hunter is quick,
with a low center of gravity
and hard to bring down.
If the Farmers load their
defense to stop the run,
quarterback Trent Franklin
didn’t pile up huge numbers
passing last season, he
did have 10 scoring passes
and takes advantage of
defenses that stack the box.
Franklin has the size (6-2,
185) and adequate speed (4.7
in the 40-yard dash) to keep
defenses honest. Franklin
also had 10 rushing touchdowns
in 2015.
While Haynesville was
cruising to a 41-19 win over »


LSU-S new home for former Farmer Spatafora
LSU-Shreveport’s baseball »

Other Sports Headlines
  • DCCS stopped in finals
  • Experience a factor for Demons’ run at title