Gents face stiff challenge in Washington Marion
CROWLEY – Crowley High head coach Tommy Tate has been around long enough to know that one game doesn’t make a season - especially when that game is the first one of the year.
That’s why the former McNeese head coach isn’t panicking over his Gents’ 49-7 season-opening loss last week to Class 5A Comeaux.
“We know where we’re at,” said Tate this week. “We’re realistic. We’re playing some tough competition and we think that this will just help make us a better football team.
“All we can do is put last week behind us, move forward and stay focused on the task at hand. There’s nothing more you can do but just try to improve on the mistakes that you made and try to build on the things that you did well.”
Improvement is a must in order for the Gents to pick up that first victory of the season, especially with them going up against Washington-Marion tonight in Lake Charles. The Charging Indians enter the contest at 1-1 after dropping a 37-20 decision to Class 5A powerhouse Barbe.
The Charging Indians defeated Peabody, 46-6, in the season opener and are averaging 33 points and nearly 250 yards per game.
Leading that potent spread attack are senior running backs Osha Jackson and Julius Fontenot. Jackson, a transfer from Sam Houston, has racked up 153 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries and Fontenot has 121 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
“Their tailbacks are really good,” said Tate. “They are both seniors and they rotate them in there. They are real solid and they run tough.”
The Indians have had success running the ball in their last two outings, but they have been equally impressive in the throwing game.
Senior quarterback Dylan Gibson has completed 13 of 28 pass attempts for 215 yards and three touchdowns.
Gibson also has multiple options when electing to go to the air. He has connected with Demond Delahoussye six times for 86 yards and two touchdowns (both against Peabody) and he hit Ronnie Hendrix, a Barbe transfer, four times for 60 yards and one score (against Barbe). Jaylon Jackson also has three receptions for 69 yards.
“Their quarterback is very athletic as are their wide receivers,” said Tate. “They really mix it up. They have more than one go-to wide receiver. They’re spreading the ball around.”
Another potential problem for the Gents will be Washington Marion’s offensive line, which averages just over 280 pounds.
“They have a huge offensive line,” said Tate. “They’re real big up front.”
Comeaux’s offensive line gave the Gents serious problems last week, however Tate says the Spartans’ size wasn’t the issue.
“It wasn’t the size last week that gave us problems,” said Tate. “It was really just the intense physical play and our inability to tackle their running backs.”
Defensively, the Washington- Marion returns 10 starters from last year’s squad and the Indians have been impressive through two games, giving up just 444 yards (214 rushing, 230 passing) and forcing four turnovers. Three of those turnovers were interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
“They have a lot of speed on defense and they have good size,” said Tate. “They play with three down lineman, they play four linebackers and they have some guys that can run at the linebacker position.
“They give you some multiple looks up front, especially against different offensive formation groups. We’re going to have to communicate well up front with our offensive line, especially in protection schemes. And then we’re going to have to do a better job of sustaining a little tempo offensively. We did have some tempo last week, we just didn’t sustain it.”
Last week, Tate’s squad struggled on both sides of the ball. The Gents’ offense failed to sustain drives when their ground attack was snuffed out and dropped passes killed other potential drives.
“Offensively, we had some moments where we did show a lot of tempo and the timing was good and we had some drives where we were moving the football,” said Tate. “But we had four scoring opportunities where we were moving the football and we couldn’t capitalize. But we did create some things and we have something to build on.”
Defensively, the Gents gave up 494 yard and 23 first downs.
“As far as communication defensively, I thought we lined up correctly for most of the night and that was a big plus,” said Tate. “Making the front calls, making the secondary checks, I thought we did that real well. We just didn’t tackle real well. We just have to do a better job of being in position to make tackles and then finish the play.”