THE POST-SIGNAL / Sophia Fontenot
Crowley High’s Nate Harmon makes a leaping catch last week during the Gents’ 35-20 loss to North Vermilion. Crowley will play host to Abbeville at 7 p.m. tonight for their 2020 Homecoming game at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
Crowley hosts Abbeville for Homecoming
Putting it all together - that’s the key for the Crowley Gents heading into tonight’s Homecoming contest against the Abbeville Wildcats at 7 p.m.
The Gents have played well in spurts over the first four games, but they have struggled with consistency and have failed to put together a solid performance for 48 minutes.
“We’ve been good on defense at times and we’ve been decent on offense at times. But we just haven’t put it all together yet,” said CHS coach Jeptha Wall.
Last week, in a 35-20 loss to North Vermilion, Wall’s squad played possibly their best two quarters of the season in the second half. The Gents outscored the Patriots 13-7 in the final two frames and limited them to just one first down over the final 24 minutes.
“I think that was a little bit of a confidence booster for out kids,” said Wall of his team’s play in the second half last week. “They saw that we’re finally starting to move the ball a little bit and things are working.”
Wall is hoping that his team’s second half performance last week carries over to this week against a very solid Abbeville squad.
While the Wildcats are just 1-2 on the season, they have shown promise in recent weeks against Class 1A powerhouse Vermilion Catholic and Class 3A district foe St. Martinville.
The Wildcats put up three scores against VC in a 40-21 loss and they played St. Martinville to a tight 24-13 loss last week.
“They (Abbeville) have always had good size and speed and they look like they are keeping it real simple. It looks like they are getting pretty good at what they are doing,” said Wall.
Offensively, the Wildcats have scored 71 points in three games with a balanced attack that is led by three-year starting quarterback Jaiden O’Brien.
While O’Brien hasn’t put up big numbers running the ball, he is a threat in the ground attack along with senior tailback Blake Saddler, who has racked up 271 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries.
“They use a lot of tackle-over and end- over sets and they usually stay within three or four plays,” said Wall of the Wildcats’ offense. “They’ll throw it a little bit, but they are still going to try and run the ball.
“They have a really good running back (Saddler). He runs the ball well and has some speed. If he can pop open a little bit, he can hurt you.”
O’Brien has had some success through the air, completing 20 of 32 pass attempts for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Jacorlin Davis has eight receptions for 150 yards and Garrick Scott has hauled in seven passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Wildcats return five starters in their 3-4 scheme and are led up front by lineman Brennan Manuel.
“They are pretty solid on the defensive line,” said Wall. “And No. 90 (Manuel) is a beast. He’s going to be tough to block.
“The linebackers have pretty good size and they have some speed in the secondary.
“Again, it looks like they have a really simple gameplan and they try not to get out of place.”
For Wall, aside from putting four solid quarters together, one of the biggest keys is to eliminate turnovers. The Gents lost three of five fumbles last week, all in the first half.
“We have to eliminate the turnover margin,” said Wall. “We can’t just give up two plays off fumbled snaps and stuff like that which has been killing our drives.
“We just need to calm down and focus on what we do and we need to do a better job of blocking.”
Offensively, the Gents produced 201 total yards last week and 13 first downs behind the play of quarterback Logan Vidrine. The senior rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns and completed six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
“We were able to complete some drives and hit some big plays,” said Wall. “Logan gained a lot more confidence and threw the ball a lot better, which gives us another aspect of the game.
“We read things a little bit better and we got some personnel back which helped.”
Courtney Allen made a big contribution with a touchdown reception after missing time and the Gents got a big boost from Allen Wulf and Ty’Rell Cormier, who also returned from injury.
Defensively, the leaders were Tyron Goodley, Dayten Richard and Nate Harmon, who was also coming off an injury.