Preparing for Week 1: Avoyelles and Marksville prep for in-parish rivalry

Mary Margaret Ellison previews this week's rivalry matchup between the Avoyelles Mustangs and the Marksville Tigers.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
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AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Week 1 of the high school football season is finally here, and what better way to kick off the season than playing your parish rival?

Avoyelles will pay a visit to Marksville on Friday night (September 1) for a non-district in-parish rivalry matchup.

“The kids know they can not wear purple at this school,” said Avoyelles’ head coach Corey Bannister. “They can not wear purple, that is one of two colors that are banned in the locker room. The two colors are purple and red for obvious reasons.”

Bannister is referring to the in-parish rivals Marksville and Bunkie.

Marksville’s head coach, Josh Harper, and Bannister have coached together, played against each other in the rivalry while in high school and both are now coaching at their alma mater.

Coach Harper said there is one moment he will never forget when he played as a Tiger against the Mustangs.

“One of my biggest memories of playing Avoyelles was in 1996,” said Harper. “I set the rushing record at Marksville, which has since been broken, but my father-in-law, who was the coach at Avoyelles at that time, ended up seeing me set the rushing record, beating Avoyelles and marrying his daughter. It was a win-win.”

The last time Marksville and Avoyelles met was Week 1 of last season, where Avoyelles took the win at home, 72-18.

The Mustangs have won the rivalry the past few seasons, but Marksville is going into this week confident in their young talent.

Avoyelles is also going in confident with their veteran quarterback Nick Casugay and the number three rusher in the state, Decareyn Sampson.

“Having Decareyn on my side is definitely comfortable” said Bannister. “I have a few other guys that make me feel good about Friday night. I think it is going to be a good game. I think with it being a rival, and we are nine miles apart from each other. It is going to bring out the best in everyone.”

Marksville has not won their season opener since 2019, and Coach Harper said they are ready to the page and feel the rush of a Week 1 win.

“It has been good this week, any time you have a rivalry week, you do not have to do a lot of talking with the kids,” said Harper. “The kids are up for it, the kids are excited, and they came in yesterday and had a good day of practice. The emotions are high, and as a coach, you have to calm them down. There is a game on Friday, but you have you watch your emotions. I can not let it get the best of them on Friday, but it is always great to open up with Week 1 with a parish rivalry.”

The Mustangs and Tigers will kick off Friday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. at Marksville High School.

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