Gents host Washington Marion in pivotal 4-4A matchup
CROWLEY – It has been a few years since the Crowley Gents have been in the hunt for a district title, much less finding themselves at the top of the standings at the midway point of the season.
But that’s exactly where the 2013 Gents find themselves heading into Friday’s home contest against Washington Marion at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
The Gents are 4-1 overall and a perfect 2-0 in District 4-4A which leaves then in a three-way tie with Rayne and Eunice for the top spot in league play. The last time the Gents were in such a favorable spot was in 2006 when they were 5-0 at midseason and finished the regular season 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state.
“We should be very, very happy with where we are,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot. “It’s been a long time since we’ve played a significant game in October. We’re not playing a survival game and that’s a relief.”
With a big game comes pressure and Fontenot has made his team aware of that.
“I know it’s a game that we have to win, but it’s not a must-win game where you’re panicking and trying to save a season. We’re doing okay right now, so this is a game that we should look forward to playing.”
And the Gents do.
Fontenot just hopes they don’t get complacent with such a good start.
“We’re by no means satisfied,” said Fontenot. “We’re still in a one week-at-a-time mode. We know what’s coming and we know what’s ahead of us. Our focus right now is solely on Washington Marion.
“We’re still working toward our week-by-week goals. But you can’t deny the past and the past is 4-1 for us.”
In order for the Gents to continue making strides and remain atop the league standings, they will have to deal with a formidable Washington Marion team that has a 1-4 record that is deceiving.
The Charging Indians’ lone victory was an 18-17 decision over Class 5A Sam Houston, while their losses have been to Class 5A’s Barbe and Sulphur and district foes Rayne and Eunice.
“Washington Marion is not your typical 1-4 team,” said Fontenot. “I mean look at who they lost to: Barbe, Rayne and Sam Houston, who beat Westlake handily. We’ve played them the last couple of years so we know what’s coming over here. They are well coached, they are big and they are very athletic.
“Their record was never mentioned once this week. Our kids and our coaches are fully aware of the challenge we have in front of us.”
For starters, the Indians have a very capable quarterback in Quajae Boutte and they have a bevy of quality receivers led by Demond Delahoussaye.
Boutte connected on 19 of 32 pass attempts for 344 yards in a 35-21 loss to Rayne two weeks ago. In that game, Delahoussaye hauled in eight of those passes for 227 yards and a touchdown.
Five other receivers had catches in the contest including Tyler Rideaux (3-31, TD) and D’Maja Edwards (2-31, TD).
“They have as good of a wide receiver as you can find in Delahoussaye and their quarterback is extremely athletic; if you let him, he will complete a lot of long balls,” said Fontenot. “And if you let Delahoussaye get going at all on any short passes, hang on to your hat because he is special. So, that combination has caused a lot of trouble for people.”
And Delahoussaye isn’t the only receiving threat.
“The thing about it is, if you overcover Delahoussaye, the other receivers are more than capable of making their share of big plays.”
The Indians have relied on the pass heavily in district with 456 of their 652 total yards being through the air.
However, the Indians have been able to muster just 196 rushing in their two league games.
Boutte is one of their main threats on the ground as well as Rawlin Guillory and Deondre Lewis. Guillory picked up 75 yards on 19 carries last week in the Indians’ 9-7 loss at Eunice while Boutte had 41 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
“Their rushing game is not what it has been in the past, but I have a feeling that they are going to try to get back to it,” said Fontenot. “We’re going in prepared for everything based on what they did to us last year and what they’ve been doing to people this year.”
Defensively, the Indians have given up just 80 yards through the air against Eunice and Rayne combined. That’s mainly because both of those teams were able to establish the run and never had to go over the top.
Rayne rushed for 419 yards two weeks ago and Eunice ran for 167 last week against the Indians.
“One reason teams haven’t attacked them through the air is because, in the secondary, they have some really good players,” said Fontenot. “I think they are just young up front, but when you look across the board, you see 6-4, 250, you see 6-5, 350 and you see 6-3, 280...that’s their front three.
“People that have played them have been able to do some things to kind of frustrate them . We have a plan - we’re not going to change what we do, but we are always tweaking what we do so... Our offensive line has to perform well and, hopefully, we will have our full load of running backs back.”
CHS sophomore running back Ty’Von Griffin sat out last week’s game against Opelousas with an ankle injury and it is unclear if he will be available for tonight’s contest.
“We’re hoping to have him back, but it will be a game-time decision,” said Fontenot of Griffin. “I think we will be able to play him, but how much or to what extent, I don’t know.”
Chris Lewis, who missed a few weeks due to a knee injury, shouldered the load in the backfield last week and he picked up 113 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. He also had three receptions for 69 yards.
Quarterback Pate Broussard was also effective. He completed nine of 14 pass attempts for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to run the ball a little bit, but for us to be successful, we have to be able to throw,” said Fontenot. “We have to try to be balanced. We know there’s some throws that we have to take advantage of and we have to take advantage of them early.
“Right now, I think things are coming around on offense and we’re hoping this week, it all comes together. If that happens, I think we will have a chance to put some points on the board.”