Back to the drawing board for Iota

IOTA – It hasn’t been the beginning to a season that the Iota Bulldogs (0-2) had hoped for.

After opening up an early lead and staying very competitive with an improved and much bigger Vinton team in week one, week two was the exact opposite. St. Edmund was smaller, they, like Iota, did not have a ton of starters; yet it was the Blue Jays that won, resoundingly.

Now they must face the 2-0 Lake Arthur Tigers, a team that doesn’t appear to want to slow down anytime soon as the school continues to try and solidify itself as a power in 2A. Meanwhile, Iota is just trying to find its footing.

“We have a young ball club, we know that,” said Neal Legé, Iota coach. “We’ll just have to be patient and try to get it right.”

The Bulldogs’ youth, miscues, mistakes, blocking issues and more have hindered drives and eventually games the first two weeks of this season. Now, if they hope to start moving in the right direction, it is the self-inflicted wounds that Iota must stop.

“We’re killing ourselves on mistakes,” said Legé. “We keep picking the wrong times to commit those mistakes, so we’re going to go back this week and get back to work trying to eliminate those problems.

After dealing with their own issues, the Iota offense will have to take advantages of the opportunities that present itself against Lake Arthur.

The Tigers’ defense begins with a big, tough line that averages about 234 pounds with no lineman under 200 pounds. It also features three of four returning starters. And it doesn’t stop there. Lake Arthur’s defense also returns two out of three of its linebacker core, one cornerback and one safety.

“They’re good on both sides of the ball,” said Legé. “They’re very aggressive.”

Scoring points is only half of Iota’s battle, however as the true test for Iota though will come from stopping Lake Arthur’s play makers who are already making headlines two weeks into the season.

Iota’s defense will first have to contend with an offensive line that is known for its aggression, size and experience. Only the center is new to the offensive line this year. He, along with his four linemen, average about 238 pounds, with the two tackles weighing in at a listed 265 and 275, respectively.

“Their offensive line does a real good job of coming off the ball,” said Legé.

After that, the Bulldogs will have to fight off Trent Hargrave, a 5-7, 185-pound senior running back for the Tigers, and Colbie Benoit, a 5-7, 205-pound junior running back. The two running backs along with wide receiver Anthony Washington make up the remaining three of seven returning starters on offense.

For the first two weeks, most of the attention has gone to Hargrave for the Tigers and understandably so. He has started this year where he left off last year. In his first two games, Hargrave already has 271 yards on 48 carries—averaging over 5.6 yards per carry this season. Last week’s game against Delcambre was a real coming out party for Hargrave with four touchdowns and 142 of the 271 yards.

“Their offense kind of goes around Hargrave,” said Legé. “He’s what makes them go.

But Benoit and Washington also have to be accounted for as Legé points out.

“Benoit’s a very good offensive player himself, so we have to keep an eye on him as well,” he said. “We’ll have our hands full.”

Last year, when the two teams squared off, they were district foes. Lake Arthur hosted and won the game that ended in a 28-21 score with Lake Arthur inching by with the Tigers early game push being enough to hold off the Bulldogs who scored 15 points in the final quarter.

The Bulldogs and Tigers will square off at Bulldog Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m. where Iota will try to get its first win and extract some revenge on Lake Arthur.

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