Gents look for second straight victory at Westlake

CROWLEY –  Move forward.

That’s the  message Crowley High coach Josh Fontenot has been preaching to his Crowley Gents this week as they prepare to take on the Westlake Rams.

“We are looking to avoid a repeat of last year,” said Fontenot, whose 2012 Gents won the first game of the season and then dropped five straight contests. “You always build that first game up, and it was a big one, but you win it and then what. You have to move on. “

The Gents opened the 2013 season last week with a 34-20 come-from-behind victory over Wossman of Monroe. But Fontenot has warned his team not to dwell on last week, but focus on this week instead.

“We really stress moving forward and we have been maybe a little tougher on the kids this week than we normally would have been after a win,” said Fontenot. “We don’t want to move backwards. I feel a lot better this year going into Week 2 after a victory than I have in the past.”

In order to move forward, the Gents will have to do something that they haven’t done in the last three years and that’s beat a very talented Westlake team on the road.

The Rams also opened the season with a victory last week when they slid past Class 4A DeRidder, 7-0, in their home opener.

“Westlake is a very good team and this week is going to be really challenging for us,” said Fontenot, whose team dropped a 49-35 decision to the Rams in Week 9 last season.

Unlike years past, Westlake is more prone to throw the football this season. The Rams racked up 342 yards on the ground in their victory over the Gents last season and threw the ball just six times.

In their opener against DeRidder, the Rams had just 81 yards on the ground and threw the ball 27 times, completing 17 passes for 155 yards.

“Last year, they (Westlake) were a lot of spread run, where they were four wide. But you were getting a steady dose of that tailback,” said Fontenot. “This year, they are throwing it a little more. Their two receivers are improved and they have a quarterback who can get the ball out of his hands very quickly.”

Those receivers are JaCory Washington, a 6-foot-5, 240 pound LSU commitment, and Keilynn Fradieu.

Fradieu hauled in eight passes for 91 yards and a touchdown against DeRidder while Washington had five catches for 40 yards.

“Those two guys (Fradieu and Washington) are going to pose a problem for whoever they play,” said Fontenot. “They are tall, they are good athletes and they’ve played a lot of football. Those guys know how to get open and they will definitely be a challenge.

“People know who those guys are and they are going to design things to stop those two guys. But what makes it hard is that they are not afraid to get it to their other guys. Their inside receivers, their running backs and their quarterback are all very capable of hurting you so they make you defend the whole field.”

Although the Rams have big-play capability with their receivers, the run threat is still there.

Quarterback Tim Hamilton and running back Jamar Peltier did most of the damage on the ground last week when they combined for 77 rushing yards on 14 carries. Hamilton pickd up 45 yards on 11 carries while Peltier had three carries for 32 yards.

“The type of run game that they’re using, when they’re going to run, they are still out of the spread,” said Fontenot. “But they don’t have that big powerful tailback. They have a good one that’s very fast and a very good runner. And the quarterback runs well too.

“They are throwing it more, but I think the run threat with him (Hamilton), whether it be from scrambles or designed runs, is what worries us the most.”

Defensively, the Rams return five players from a squad that gave up 557 total yards against the Gents last season. That unit surrendered just 234 yards last week against DeRidder.

“They have about five really good football players out there on defense and the others are a really good supporting cast,” said Fontenot. “It’s a similar defense that we faced last week - you won’t see one real big standout, but you will see 11 of them that play as a very good unit. They are pretty even across the board.”

The Ram’s defensive unit will have to deal with a Gents’ offense that racked up 362 yards and 21 first downs last week.

Sophomore Ty’Von Griffin had a breakout game against Wossman when he rushed or 162 yards and three touchdowns while Chris Lewis picked up 79 yards and two scores on 15 carries.

Sophomore quarterback Pate Broussard also played a big role by completing nine passes for 78 yards.

“We’ve got to go do what we do right now,” said Fontenot of his offense. “We’re still figuring ourselves out and I think we did okay against a pretty decent defense last week.

“I think it’s going to be a bigger challenge this week, though. I think Westlake has a better defense; they’re a little more discipline and I think they will be in a little bit better shape than what we saw last week so it will be a challenge.”

Regardless, Fontenot feels good about his team’s chances.

“I think that this is a game that we can, and I think, should win,” said Fontenot. “I think you have two evenly matched teams that have both played extremely hard last week. We also have to handle being on the road, which is another new test for us so it’s going to be interesting. We just have to clean some things up from last week and we should be fine.”

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