Iota host South Beauregard on Senior Night
Iota’s Jarrette Fontenot (89) and Bryce Leger (65) bring down a Jennings running back last week in a 34-22 loss to the Bulldogs.
IOTA – One final chance at home, a chance to send seniors out on a high note and a chance to start looking for a spark.
But for the Iota Bulldogs (0-8, 0-3 in district 4-3A), Friday night, which will be senior night, a trip back home brings in the much improved South Beauregard Golden Knights.
South Beauregard (5-3, 2-1) has beaten Westlake and St. Louis and only has lost in the district to Jennings, who after Week Eight, holds ownership of first place in what Bulldogs coach Neal Legé called “one of the tougher 3A districts in the state” this year.
“Since the beginning of the season to where they are now, South Beau is probably the most improved team in our district,” he said.
The Golden Knights enter Week Nine’s contest averaging 20 points in district play and against St. Louis last week, they only allowed seven points.
“They have a lot of weapons, their backs are all really good,” said Legé. “They’re also playing solidly on defense and they’re really aggressive up front.”
In the first week of district play, the Golden Knights took on Westlake and came away with the 20-18 victory. In the game, Westlake hung around all night, but were unable to convert a game winning touchdown at the end. And, thanks to big plays South Beauregard pulled away with what many thought was an upset, though Legé knew better. But, true to nature, the statistic leader for night for the Golden Knights was Joe Ledet, who had 125 yards on only eight carries which included a 93 yard touchdown run. Shea Holland added to the fray with 81 yards on 12 carries, including a 57 yard touchdown run.
Last week, against St. Louis, the Golden Knights were dominant, outgaining St. Louis 461 yards to 68. They were the more physical team and netted the results. And again, it was Ledet and Holland leading the way with Holland rushing for 230 yards on 25 carries, including a 56 yard touchdown run. Ledet had 67 yards on five carries, which included a 35 yard touchdown run.
Big plays and powerful backs, something Iota knows well from the South Beauregard running backs.
When the two squared off last year, the Golden Knights pulled ahead with about 40 seconds left on the clock, dealing Iota a heartbreaking loss on the road. In that game Ledet led the Golden Knights with 16 carries and 88 yards and a touchdown. The game winning touchdown pass was caught by Kelly Courville for 20 yards and Courville’s first and only catch of the night.
Since then, Courville has become more of a part of the Golden Knights offense. Harkening back to this year’s district wins for South Beauregard, Courville had a touchdown run in each–a 1 yard run against Westlake and a 18 yard run against St. Louis–and would finish among the rushing leaders in both games with 19 carries for 64 yards against Westlake and 18 carries for 98 yards against St. Louis.
It’s another tall order, but for the Bulldogs, it starts first at home.
On one hand, Iota last week held a lead and dominated the time of possession, particularly in the first half, but on the other there were penalties and a momentum-swinging fumble. It’s become a mixed bag that has reared its head too often this season for the Bulldogs’ liking.
“We looked back at the film and a lot of what is happening we are doing to ourselves,” said Legé. “We make mistakes at the worse times and it’s like I was telling the guys, ‘You can point to this and point to that, but it’s not them a lot of the times, it’s what we’re doing’.
“But, we’re not going to give up. It has been tough sometimes keeping focus, but everyone is responding well and still practicing just as hard.”
One thing that has helped Iota several times this year is its offense keep itself in games. In what was probably it’s best two games of the year—Week Six versus Iowa and Week Eight at Jennings—Iota’s running game especially kept them going and it is no coincidence that in those games Iota’s two-headed monster of Adam Ardoin and Nick Sloane were what Legé had hopes of them being this year before injury took out Ardoin for most of the Bulldogs’ non-district schedule. As Legé points out it’s been the one positive each week for the Bulldogs.
In those games Ardoin finished his night with 145 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown (against Iowa) and 43 carries for 187 yards and a touchdown.
But if the Bulldogs will pull off the upset it will need better play from its special teams as well as more sound play from its defense. Especially, since entering district play, Iota has struggled to contain its opponents speed and missed opportunities to do so on kickoffs and punts, allowing a special teams touchdown against Westlake and Jennings and allowing a huge return to set up a touchdown against Iowa. And instead of being the thing it could hold its hat on like it was in weeks One and Two, the Bulldogs’ special teams have had trouble keeping up with its faster opponents and allowed the games’ field position battles to swing the opponents’ way each time.
“Special teams have been our nemesis all year,” said Legé.
Defensively, Iota has made great strides on defense throughout the season, but big play busts on defense have given Bulldogs opponents the chance to seize momentum, and unfortunately for Iota when its opponents have gained momentum in almost every game this year, they have refused to let go.
The Iota Bulldogs will host the South Beauregard Golden Knights Friday, Nov. 1, at Bulldogs Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and senior night activities will be held during pregame.