Gents look to rebound from season opening loss
CROWLEY – The opening week of the 2010 prep football season was a frustrating one for the Crowley Gents.
Not only did the Gents suffer a 28-20 defeat at the hands of Class AAAA’s No. 3 ranked Jennings last Friday, but in doing so, they lost starting quarterback D’Myrus Dainels to a serious knee injury in the third quarter.
But it’s a new week and CHS coach Tommy Tate is not dwelling on the past.
“We had a number of negatives come out of last week’s game, but we also had a lot of positives and that’s what we need to build on,” said Tate, whose squad travels to Abbeville this evening to take on the Wildcats at 7 o’clock.
“We had our opportunities (last week) and now we just need to put that game away, put it behind us and see how much better we can become this week. You hope to improve each week and that’s been the challenge for us. That’s what we strive for, to get better each week at some thing.”
One of Tate’s biggest concerns is the prospect of giving up big plays, something that proved to be a problem for his defense last week against a talented Jennings team.
The Gents gave up three touchdowns of 21 yards or more, two of them on pass plays of 21 and 39 yards while the third was a 58-yard run through the heart of the Crowley defense.
This week, the challenge will be much of the same. Abbeville returns last season’s leading rusher in R.J. Frederick at quarterback along with big-play wideout Delontra Fields. Fredrick threw for just over 1,100 yards last season, connecting with Fields, who missed most of last season with an injury, 17 times for 232 yards.
Frederick hooked up with Fields last week on an 81-yard touchdown pass in the Wildcats’ 21-19 victory over Iowa.
“They (Abbeville) have a really good quarterback who operates the offense really well,” said Tate of Frederick and Abbeville’s split-back veer offense. “He’s probably their leading rusher and he makes big plays for them. He’s a good football player and he does a lot of good things for them.”
Alonzo Williams and Akeem Lewis, both of whom stand taller than 6-foot-2, will rotate at tight end, giving Frederick even more targets to throw to.
Crowley will counter with a potent offense as well. The Gents racked up 359 yards and 15 first downs in the loss to Jennings. Davante Bourque carried the load for the most part, logging 110 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while hauling in four passes for 39 yards. He also had three kickoff returns for 73 yards.
Tuskani Figaro will step in under center for Daniels, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season with what appears to be an ACL injury. Figaro played nearly a quarter and a half at quarterback last week, rushing five times for 23 yards and a score while completing one pass for 11 yards.
“This is the first time that Tuskani knows that he’s the starter going in,” said Tate. “I think his teammates are going to rally around him. I know he has a lot of confidence and he has the tools and the ability to win for us at quarterback, there’s no doubt about it.”
Figaro will have to contend with an Abbeville defense that was impressive in the victory over Iowa, holding the Yellow Jackets to just 153 total yards while forcing three turnovers, two of which were interceptions by Fields who also plays strong safety. The Cats gave up just 97 yards on the ground, 42 of which came on the first scoring drive of the game.
“They run a 50 defense and they have a lot of tall kids with a lot of length and a lot of speed,” said Tate. “And they have two really good inside linebackers and the defensive ends are really good. They did a good job against Iowa.”
One advantage for Crowley is the fact that Abbeville, which dropped a 20-14 overtime decision to the Gents last year en route to an overall record of 2-8, will have a number of players going both ways since their roster lists a total of 35 players. However, Tate knows that the numbers can be deceiving.
“I don’t know how many players they have but they have 18 seniors,” said Tate. “And they all play and are all really good football players. That gives them a lot of maturity out there and they do a good job with their rotation and they keep them fresh.”
Once again, the key for the Gents will be to limit penalties and eliminate turnovers, something their failed to do a good job of last week.
“We lost a touchdown with a holding penalty and we had a turnover that was on our side of the 50 and that was a big part of the game,” said Tate, whose squad had three turnovers and 90 yards in penalties in the loss. “But we did a lot of good things on both sides of the football so we have to build on that and improve even more this week on both sides of the ball.
“At this point of the year, it’s always eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That’s always the keys to the game….and creating turnovers on defense. We had three take aways last week on defense and that was really a bright spot.”