Crowley set for showdown with Peabody

Crowley High’s Ryan Girard (33) and C.J. Douresseaux bring down a Madison running back last week during the Gents’ 56-14 victory over the Jaguars. The Gents will play host to Peabody this evening in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. Kickoff is slated for 7 o’clock at Gardiner Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Petry Photography)

CROWLEY – Friday night under the lights at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
In mid-November no less.
What could be better?
Not much for the Crowley Gents, who will play host to Peabody in a Class 4A bi-district playoff contest tonight at 7.
“Our kids have earned the right to host a playoff game and that’s a big thing because we haven’t done that in a while here, especially in the first round, so it’s a very exciting time right now,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot. “We’re excited, the school is excited and, hopefully, the community is excited as well.”
All that excitement comes to a head when Crowley takes the field this evening against a team that is all too familiar to the Gents.
The two teams have played each other in non-district play four of the last five years with each team having won twice. In the last meeting, 2012, the Warhorses won 26-15.
“Peabody is a very good team and I think we’re pretty evenly matched,” said Fontenot. “I think it’s going to just come down to the football basics: the turnovers or the lack there of, special teams and all the little things. It will come down to execution and who can do it better.”
Offensively, the Warhorses have been explosive (28 points a game) while winning seven of 10 games.
Most of those points are due to the play of sophomore quarterback Sadrick Kirklin, who has thrown for well over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns thus far. He is also one of the Warhorses’ top rushing threats in their spread offense.
“He’s good and he will run around, too, and give you fits,” said Fontenot. “Things that we have struggled a little bit this year include a scrambling quarterback. We worked very hard on that this week, trying to contain a scrambling quarterback. A lot of the throws that he makes are scramble drills off of broken plays. And his receivers do a good job of getting open.”
Those receivers, who have been touted as the best core in CenLa (Central Louisiana), include Kirklin’s brother, Contarious, as well as Darshun Boss, Josh Gaston and Eriel Dorsey. Each has had impressive performances this year.
Contarious, Boss and Dorsey each had touchdown receptions over 70 yards against Alexandria earlier this year and Boss had a 62-yard touchdown catch and a 68-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Block.
“They (Peabody) are a good offensive squad and we definitely have a challenge ahead of us on defense,” said Fontenot. “Their receivers aren’t big or anything, but they are fast and they move around and get open.”
The Warhorses gain a lot of their yards through the air but they can also run the ball. All of they receivers have picked up carries at one point or another, but their main backs are senior Glen Roberson and freshman Bruce Price.
“They are fairly balanced on offense,” said Fontenot. “A lot of their runs are quarterback designed runs. And they will take other guys and line them up at quarterback and run them as run plays.”
Defensively, the Warhorses surrendered just over 16 points per game. They did manage one shutout on the season and had four games where they have limited their opponents to just 13 points or fewer.
“They are going to be in some type of 50 defense,” said Fontenot. “The fronts will change, but they try to play man-to-man. They will play anywhere from five people on the line to three and kind of give you some different looks. But all of it has man-to-man in the back of it.
“They’ll come after you a little bit too. It’s not a bad defense.”
The Warhorses’ man-to-man coverage could play into the Gents’ favor considering the way their receivers have been playing. Terrell Thomas has emerged as the go-to guy through the air while Jerry Dregin has come along as well. Other threats include Jacq’co Price and running backs Chris Lewis and Ty’Vonn Griffin.
“I think that are some point we are going to see scoring opportunities there,” said Fontenot. “I think if we can keep from turning the ball over, which we have done a lot better job of as the season has gone on, and be consistent, we will have a chance to do pretty good.”
The Gents get a huge boost on the defensive front tonight with the return of Kaj LeMaire. The senior nose guard tore his ACL and MCL four weeks ago, but his physician has cleared him and he will play some said Fontenot.
“Kaj will be back and we’re looking forward to that,” said Fontenot. “He’s excited, the kids are excited, I’m excited and I know (defensive coordinator) coach (Jeptha) Wall is excited. We’ll see what he can do.
“First of all, he hasn’t played in a while so as far as him playing every snap; we’re pretty realistic about that not happening. But he’ll start the game and we’ll get him in there and see how many plays he can give us.”
LeMaire will play with a brace on the injured knee to help keep it from slipping out, but Fontenot said he feels fine and is ready to go.
“The doctor said that there is no more damage that he can do to it,” said Fontenot. “The damage is done. The brace is there to hold it in place and he has strengthened up the muscles around it enough to help him and he’s going to play.”
The winner of tonight’s game advances to the regional round and will play the winner of the Karr-Salmen game.

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