Iota hosts Oakdale
By Howell Dennis
LSN STAFF WRITER
IOTA – Coming off of two straight losses, perhaps the last thing you would expect is for Iota coach Marcus LeJeune to sound positive heading into this week’s game against the Oakdale Warriors. However, LeJeune has never been one to hang his head.
“We just came off two of the best practices we’ve had all season,” said LeJeune. “Our boys will be ready.”
During last week’s 24-0 loss to Welsh, Iota was plagued with the turnovers that they have been suffering from all season. When looking over the game’s statistics they were nearly even in just about every other department, with Iota rushing for 221 yards as opposed to 258 for Welsh. However three lost fumbles and seven penalties proved to be a huge factor in the loss.
Despite the Warriors 0-4 record, LeJeune is wary of a hungry Oakdale team that lost a heartbreaker to Lake Arthur last week in 5-2A action last week.
“They had two games that they just as easily could have pulled out,” said LeJeune. “They have a tremendous back, Damien Ward, who can cause a lot of problems for any team.”
Oakdale is coming off of a loss that week in which they led 14-6 at halftime only to see Lake Arthur come storming back to win 20-14.
“We need to contain Ward and control the line of scrimmage,” said LeJeune. “We just need to focus, pay more attention to details and learn to finish our drives.”
The Warriors feature a wing-T offense to exploit Ward’s talents, however LeJeune warned that the Bulldogs defense should not put too much emphasis on stopping Ward.
“They have some other good players too,” stated LeJeune.
The Warriors return nine starters on offense and ten on defense from last year’s team that went 5-4 and lost the first round to Farmerville. However two of those players were key players on offense, with senior Lance Hardmon taking over as the team’s starting quarterback.
Warrior coach Kevin Manuel who, like Iota’s team, switched districts this year and moved into the tough 5-2A.
“It will be one of the strongest in the state,” Manuel said of 5-2A which aside from Iota, also has an undefeated Welsh team to go along with Mamou, Lake Arthur. “They got us all in the same district, but that should help us in our power rankings.”
Marcus Lejeune feels the same way.
“Anyone can lose on a given week,” said LeJeune.
As far Ward is concerned it is no Manuel makes no secret about his capabilities.
“He’s probably our best player this season,” he said. “We will line him up at wingback sometimes, let him set up at quarterback, or receiver and maybe other positions. We’ll use him all over the field.”
Hopefully for the Bulldogs, whose defense shutdown Welsh in the second half last week, the old cliche “you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him” will be effective.