Iota Bulldogs face uphill battle in 2013
IOTA – When Neal Legé returned to Iota two years ago, he knew it would take time to return the Bulldogs to the top of the Class 2A ranks.
And that’s exactly where the Bulldogs seemed headed, going 1-9 in Year 1 of the Lege’ Era and improving to 4-6 last season.
Now, however, there’s a new challenge facing the Bulldogs: they are no longer in Class 2A, but now they find themselves in Class 3A, thanks to reclassification.
Not surprisingly, the move up provides even more challenges for Lege’ and his Bulldogs and those challenges begin Oct. 11 when Iota opens District 4-3A play at Iowa.
“We are in a very tough district this year,” said Legé, who will be joined in league play by traditional powers Westlake, Jennings, St. Louis and South Beauregard. “Iowa is a quarterfinal team from last year, St. Louis is moving down from 4A and we’re moving up from 2A.
“When you move up like that, of course numbers become a problem and that’s our main concern right now.”
The Bulldogs finished spring practice with a total of 63 players. Since then the numbers have dwindled down to 55 which is a bit of a drop from 2012.
“I think our first guys, offense and defense, are pretty descent,” said Legé. “We’ll struggle a little in the kicking game, but I think numbers is going to be the big problem. We’re working on getting in shape and trying to look at some guys that can go just one way and kind of spell them.
“When you have guys going both ways and they are playing against guys that are going one way, that makes a difference.”
Despite the drop in numbers, Legé is hoping the hard work his team put in over the summer will lead to some success, especially early in the season.
“We had a really good summer,” said Legé. “The kids showed up and they worked and we’re just hoping that carries over into the season.”
The Bulldogs will open the season on the road at Oberlin on Sept. 6 before returning home the following week to take on rival St. Edmund. Iota will then travel to Lake Arthur for a Week 3 matchup before returning home the following two weeks to wrap up non-district play with games against former district rivals Welsh and Kinder.
“We have some local teams and we picked up Oberlin,” said Legé. “We’re hoping to get a few wins early in the year and, hopefully, that will give us a little momentum and confidence heading into district because we know it’s going to be tough.”
Legé will be looking to lean on his upperclassmen early on. He returns a solid nucleus of starters and has 11 seniors on his 2013 squad.
“That was one of the bigger groups I had when I first came in and they’ve kind of stayed together,” said Legé of this year’s senior class. “We’re expecting a lot of them. They’re going to have to lead. Everything is going to begin and end with them: on the field, in the locker room, at practice, the whole nine yards.
“Leadership is going to be real important; that’s one thing we really haven’t had too much of the last couple years because one year I had four seniors and the next I had six. When you have a large group of seniors, it kind of makes everything go a little bit better so that’s what we’re hoping for.”
The big key Iota, as well as any team moving up in classification, will be attrition. With players lining up on both sides of the ball, it will be important for Legé’s squad to be in top physical condition week in and week out.
“The kids have been working hard and I think they understand that they are going to have to be in better shape than the guy they are going against,” said Legé. “Whether you are or not, in the fourth quarter you’re going to be tired. When you’re tired, you become an average player.”
Iota will play their annual three-way scrimmage against Kaplan and Eunice of Aug. 22 in Kaplan before facing Rayne in the Acadia Parish Jamboree on Aug. 29.
2013 Iota Bulldogs
Sept. 6@ Oberlin
Sept. 13St. Edmund
Sept. 20@ Lake Arthur
Oct. 18@ Westlake
Oct. 25@ Jennings
Nov. 1S. Beauregard
Nov. 8@ St. Louis