LAFAYETTE — When Northside High School coach Trev Faulk finished reviewing his team’s recent progress, he saw a starting point that he hopes will set the Vikings on a successful journey.
“The biggest improvement for (quarterback) Chris (Ozene) is he is a lot more decisive,” Faulk said. “His footwork was cleaner last week. He got the ball out instead of overthinking. He got the ball out on time.”
Ozene, who is six games into his first season as the Vikings’ starter, has taken his own notes as he has learned along the way while throwing for 1,155 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“My decision making improved — and being able to adjust to in-game situations if anything switched defensively,” Ozene said.
Receiver Shakeir Ryan has been Ozene’s main target. Ryan has 39 catches for 523 yards and four scores.
“We have a spread-out offense with receivers going in different directions,” Ryan said. “Someone is bound to be open.”
The gradual return of receivers Delquan Logan (who rehabbed a broken wrist suffered during the summer) and Trevor Breaux (leg injury) has added some versatility to the Viking passing game.
“It helps keep the other team off guard,” Ozene said. “A big benefit of this offense is having a lot of weapons.”
Northside (3-3, 1-0 in District 5-4A) will take the trip to Cougar Stadium on Friday to face St. Thomas More (3-3, 1-0). The Cougars have displayed their own potent pass attack guided by senior Brandon Bergeron, who has thrown for 1,788 yards and 16 touchdowns.
It will be another progress report on the Vikings’ growth under Faulk. The former LSU and NFL linebacker is in his first season at Northside after leading Vermilion Catholic last year.
“When we first got here over the summer, we saw down the line a little bit of a vision for the future,” Faulk said.
“We have the opportunity to be dangerous. Hopefully, last Friday was the start of what we will see for the rest of the season.”
While Ryan will be focused on the St. Thomas More secondary, he is also excited to see his teammates face the challenge of Cougars offense averaging 35 points.
“It will be fun watching our defense go against their offense,” Ryan said. “I rate our secondary the best in the state.”
The Loreauville offense frequently counts on the production of running back Jermaine Antoine, who has 738 yards and 14 touchdowns. Last Friday against West St. Mary, quarterback Raymond Bonnette was 9-of- 10 for 289 yards and six touchdowns.
“A couple of times, pass protection broke down, and he got out of the pocket and made plays,” Loreauville coach Trent Delahoussaye said. “He has that ability, and we hope he can keep it up.
“It makes the defense play the entire field because they have to respect his running ability. It’s not like they can just drop eight and play pass. On those (out of the pocket) plays. We hope to get behind the defensive backs and score.”
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