THE POST-SIGNAL / Sophia Fontenot
Crowley High’s Tyron Goodley (24) makes a stop during a recent game. Goodley and the Gents will travel to St. Martinville tonight to take on the league-leading Tigers at 7 p.m.
Gents wrap up season at St. Martinville
While the playoffs are not in the cards for Crowley High, there is still a lot to play for as the Gents head into their regular season finale at St. Martinville this evening at 7 p.m.
For one, tonight’s game spells the end of the road for a handful of seniors in Dayten Richard, Logan Vidrine, Kendall Richard, Austin Fuselier, Tyron Goodley, Dylan Brooks, Vaughn Sonnier, Benny Chambers, Roarke Benoit and Logan Hoffpauir.
“The senior class is really a group of great kids,” said CHS coach Jeptha Wall. “They have been really fun to coach, very positive attitudes and they have given us some great leadership so you always want to see them have some success.”
The Gents will also be playing for pride after struggling through the season without a victory.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said Wall. “We’re going to go out there and play our hearts out for the seniors and hopefully we’ll grow up some more with the younger kids that we have and get some experience under our belt.
“We’re going to try and get a W and try to find some success to let them know that all the hard work that they have put in is not just going down the drain.”
In order for the Gents to end the season on a high note, they will have to be clicking on all cylinders against a stout St. Martinville squad that is 5-2 on the season and are No. 11 in the most recent Class 3A power ratings.
The Tigers can clinch the outright District 6-3A title with a victory while a loss would have then tied with Kaplan for the championship.
“They were really young last year so they have a lot of experience returning,” said Wall of St. Martinville. “I picked them hands down to be the favorite this year so it’s no surprise where they are at right now.”
The Tigers are led offensively by freshman sensation running back Steven Blanco (5-10, 190) and junior quarterback Tanner Harrison(6-1, 185).
Blanco burst onto the scene in a big way this year and has four games with over 100 yards rushing.
The youngster has tallied 686 yards and six touchdowns on 89 carries in seven weeks.
“The running back is really good,” said Wall of Blanco. “He’s thick and he can break tackles and then he has enough speed in the open field. He also does a good job of protecting the ball. He does a good job of covering the ball going through traffic and knowing when to make his breaks and when not to.”
Blanco’s availability for tonight’s game is uncertain, however.
After picking up 124 yards and a touchdown on just six carries during the first half last week against Teurlings, Blanco suffered a turf toe injury late in the second quarter and never returned to the game.
With Blanco out, the Tigers rushed just four times in the second half for six yards.
If Blanco is unable to go tonight, the Tigers will likely put the load on the back of junior tailback Mandrel Butler (5-10, 185), who has racked up 224 yards and four touchdowns on just 19 carries.
While Harrison has completed 44 of 121 pass attempts for 737 yards and eight touchdowns, he is also a threat in the Tigers’ ground attack.
Thus far, Harrison has run for 479 yards and six touchdowns on 82 carries.
The very athletic signal caller is more than capable of striking through the air as well.
Last week, in a 59-19 loss to Teurlings, Harrison connected with four different receivers, completing nine of 26 pass attempts for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“Their quarterback can throw it a mile and they have three or four good receivers,” said Wall. “And they run some sweeps and some inside iso plays with him. He is pretty good size and he can run too but it looks like he can also throw the ball about 70 yards in the air.
“Offensively, you can kind of pinpoint what they are doing, but I don’t know if we can stop it. This is probably the simplest team that we’ve had to prepare for but physically, probably the most demanding other than Cecilia.”
Harrison’s main target on the season has been sophomore Harvey Broussard (6-4, 175) with 20 receptions for 418 yards and six touchdowns.
Freshman Cullen Charles (6-0, 175) has also proven to be a weapon with 16 catches for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
On the defensive side, the Tigers have good size on the line and a ton of speed behind them.
“Their line play is very good and their linebackers are pretty good,” said Wall. “And their free safety can cover a lot of ground.”
For the Gents, one of the main keys will be to get into somewhat of a rhythm offensively.
What should help is the fact that last week’s bye week has given the Gents some time to heal up to a certain extent.
“This week is the first time all season that we have had four offensive linemen with a full week of practice under their belt,” said Wall.
With the Gents at near full speed as far as injuries go, Wall says his offense will have to change some things up to find some success.
“We almost need to flip the script on ourselves,” said Wall of his offense. “We almost need to be a perimeter team and run inside when you’re not expecting it. Even with our offensive line being intact finally, with those guys (St. Martinville’ defensive line), I don’t know how much we will be able to do.
“We’ll have to formation a little bit and try to get some things going.”
Defensively, the Gents face another explosive offense that can strike in many ways.
“We’re going to have to try and take care of the box and then try to stop them from beating us deep,” said Wall. “What’s scary is, Kaplan played them 15 yards off the ball and they were still blowing by them.”
Nick Williams will get the start at quarterback, his second of the season, while former starter Logan Vidrine will move over to defense.
Another plus for the Gents is that Jonkeyvon Marks will return after sitting out the last few weeks due to injury.
Tyron Goodley is also near 100 percent after a wrist injury limited him over the last two games.
On the down side, Nate Harmon is likely to miss this week’s game due to illness. Harmon, a sophomore, was a deep threat offensively and a standout corner on defense.