Gents open District 4-AAA play at Iowa
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – When the Crowley Gents and Iowa Yellow Jackets have lined up against each other in past years, the game has been one with little at stake.
Sure, pride was a concern, and so was gaining power points.
But not much more.
Tonight, that all changes.
Tonight when the two squads renew their rivalry, there will be plenty at stake now that the two are part of a newly-formed District 4-AAA.
It’s the league opener for both teams and each seeks to gain an early advantage in what promises to be a highly-competitive 4-AAA race.
“This is a big game for us against a quality opponent,” Crowley High coach Tommy Tate said Thursday. “This will be a big challenge for our guys.”
Iowa enters tonight’s contest with a record of 3-2. That record includes a 21-13 upset victory over Class AAA’s seventh-ranked team, the Kaplan Pirates. In that contest, Yellow Jacket quarterback Gene Pete scored on a 16-yard run and also hooked up with Dylan Williams on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Not surprisingly, Pete will be the main focus of the Gents.
“Everything starts with their quarterback,” said Tate. “He’s as good of a quarterback that we’ll play against this year. He is a threat running the football. He has busted a big run of 50 yards or better in every game this year. It will be a tough challenge for us to try and contain him.”
Pete is the Yellow Jackets’ leading rusher thus far, racking up 344 yards and five touchdowns on 61 carries in five games.
However, Pete is not the only threat in Iowa’s ground attack.
Casey Vital hasn’t hit pay dirt yet, but he does have 30 carries for 241 yards and Jamar Chretien has logged 233 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries.
“Their running backs do a good job,” said Tate. “They like to spread you out and try to run it.”
Pete is also effective through the air, completing 40 of his 91 pass attempts for 649 yards and eight touchdowns. His two main targets are Sean Celestine and Dylan Williams.
Celestine has 12 receptions for 227 yards and a touchdown while Williams has hauled in 11 passes for 170 yards and two scores.
“Celestine and Williams are both big receivers,” said Tate. “They are about 6-2 or 6-3. They can catch the deep ball and they are also effective on short passes. They can make you miss and they can turn those short passes into big plays. They add a lot to their offense.”
Defensively, Iowa has struggled at times. Last week against Kaplan, the Yellow Jackets gave up 370 rushing yards but capitalized on four Pirate turnovers to earn the victory.
On the season, Iowa has given up 1,270 yards on the ground and 506 through the air.
“Iowa does a good job with their schemes,” said Tate. “We have to be able to run the football and that has been a big challenge for us every week. But we are getting better. We will have to be able to spread the football around and move the chains.”
Crowley has had success spreading the ball around the last two weeks, racking up 241 yards rushing and 360 passing in victories over Peabody and Rayne. The Gents have also had little trouble moving the chains in those two contests, logging 31 first downs.
“We have made strides offensively but there is still room for improvement,” said Tate. “For us to be the team that we want to be, we have to improve a whole lot offensively of spreading the ball around and getting some people a lot of touches.”