Iota showcases new looks at scrimmage
EUNICE – It’s hard to tell a lot from a scrimmage, but Iota fans could tell their team is improving as they watched the Bulldogs take on Eunice and Kaplan Thursday evening.
Iota, Kaplan and Eunice’s first team offense and defense took turns competing against each other to help coaches get another look at their team heading into the season. And Bulldogs Head Coach Neal Legé was happy with what he saw.
“I was pleased overall,” he said. “We got out of the scrimmage what we wanted to get out of it. We got to look at a bunch of kids in different situations at different positions.
“We’re pleased with our kids.”
The Bulldogs showed off their offensive prowess best against Kaplan in the final scrimmage of the evening.
“They found a good rhythm,” said Legé. “Kaplan’s a quality team, so we were pleased with that productivity.”
In its first series, it moved the full 70 yards that saw four running plays and a well-executed pass. The series began with returning senior Brandon Fantroy picking up four yards. He would add an 11 yard rush and finally a 17 yard touchdown run. Also contributing on the five play series was senior Thomas Murrell with a four yard run and a 34 yard pass from returning quarterback junior J.T. LeJeune.
While it would be the only touchdown the first team offense scored all night, it would not be the end of offensive productivity, which meant Iota’s rushing attack had more opportunities to show how they are gelling moving into the regular season.
During the remainder of its offensive scrimmage with Kaplan, Iota had three more series. In the Bulldogs’ first series after the touchdown, Iota would only go two plays before fumbling the ball.
In the second it would move the ball a total of 29 yards in six plays. Fantroy once again did a bulk of the work, running in four plays and picking up 28 more yards. Michael Thevis picked up two more for the Bulldogs in one rush and backup quarterback sophomore Timothy Lunson was dropped for a one yard loss.
Two more plays remained on the docket for Iota and Fantroy received those snaps as well.
In its first offensive scrimmage Iota took on Eunice. There the yards were much more of a premium.
The Bobcats held the Bulldogs to only 23 yards on five series. Its most productive series was its last where Iota picked up 11 yards in three plays.
“We had some issues on offense by stopping ourselves,” said Legé. “Eunice is a very athletic team.”
Fantroy would end the evening with 18 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown between the two scrimmages. Other Bulldogs contributing to Iota’s offensive output included Murrell, who had 15 yards on three carries, LeJeune who completed one of his two passes for 34 yards.
Defensively, the first team also took its first scrimmage to find its bearings, but managed to keep Kaplan off of the scoreboard. Against Eunice, who also had quite the offensive showing against Kaplan as well, Iota allowed two touchdowns.
Between the two scrimmages, Iota had several of its players record multiple tackles, including tackles for a loss. Fantroy and juniors Jarrette Fontenot, Phillip Miller and Nick Sloane picked up three total tackles each. Murrell and sophomore Adam Ardoin had 2.5 total tackles each. And, finally, senior Billy Bean, junior Samuel Reed, Thevis and Lunson racked up two total tackles each.
“Defensively, I thought we got tired kind of quick, but when we were fresh we played well,” said Legé. “We went a bunch of series in a row and I think our guys got a little tired.
“Eunice’s speed caused us a lot of problems, but we got some plays against them and held our own. They got a couple of big plays on us, but that’s growing pains.”
Due to the nature of a three-way scrimmage, Iota played several scrimmages back to back and with the Bulldogs having several players that saw action with the first and second team, it also saw many of its players competing for long stretches of time with little to no breaks.
While Iota still has a ways to go before the season begins, the Bulldogs saw many positives to take away from the scrimmage according to Legé.
“We’ll go back and look at the film, go back to work Monday and get ready for the jamboree,” he said.
Earlier in the scrimmage, Iota’s second team offense and second team defense had an opportunity to get some playing time. They too had successes in what was for some their first real playing experience.
“We had some young kids that were thrown in there today just so we could get a look at them,” said Legé. “They didn’t play bad and for a lot of them, this was the first time getting out there. We had some young linebackers play today with the twos and we were all pleased with that.”
In the Bulldogs’ second team defensive scrimmage, Iota saw highlights of three-and-outs and an interception by sophomore Matt Benoit.
When its second team offense took the field Iota picked up a 20 yard touchdown run from Thevis, capping off a seven play series. On the series, Thevis had three carries for 28 yards. Sloane added a carry for 15 yards, Ardoin added two carries for 16 yards and a 19 yard pass from LeJeune to Miller.
Iota will return to the field Thursday night as it will close Thursday night’s Acadia Jamboree against Church Point. The Bulldogs-Bears game will follow the 6 p.m. game between Crowley and Rayne.