Louisiana head coach Brett Lemoine isn’t promising a win. But the Neville High-Monroe offensive coordinator believes his team enters the 11th Bayou Bowl as ready as it possibly can be.
“I think we got a lot out of these guys, considering we only had five practices,” Lemoine said. “When you put a group together like this, you never know exactly how it will work out. “But these guys got along great, and when we’ve been at practice, they’ve been focused on the things we’ve taught them.
“You don’t expect perfect execution with this few practices. Can we execute well enough to win? I think we can.”
The 35-member Louisiana squad takes on a Houston area-based Texas squad at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Stallworth Stadium in Baytown, Texas. Texas leads the series 5-4-1. The teams tied at 23-23 last year.
Lemoine said the teams have seen each other at meals and other events, but have not watched each other practice, which makes the matchup even more intriguing.
Texas figures to have an edge in size with a group of linemen led by Jacobi Hunter, a 6-foot-1, 330-pound defensive lineman from Houston’s Cy-Falls High, who has signed with California. Lemoine said he hopes his team can offset Texas’ size by using speed and depth. Louisiana also has eight defensive linemen on its roster in part to make sure the defense has fresh legs throughout the game.
St. Thomas More’s Brandon Bergeron and Brusly’s Jay Christophe are set to split time at quarterback, while Barbe’s Courtney Galentine and Catholic’s Khalil Thomas top the list of running backs. It will be a Houston-area debut for Christophe, who is a Texas Southern signee.
“You can’t put in too much,” Lemoine said. “But I think we have some packages that work well for the personnel we have.”
Defensively, Lemoine pointed out the play of several defensive backs, including East St. John’s Leonard Davis, Neville’s Demon’ Baker, Bonnabel’s Joseph Este and Rummel’s Joshua Franklin. The Texas squad has one Louisiana signee, Dulles defensive back Jermaine Walker (Northwestern State).
Lemoine credited Southland Conference members Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, McNeese State, Central Arkansas and Northwestern State for allowing their signees to play in the annual all-star game.
“We’ve done what we can,” Lemoine said. “Hopefully we’ll execute under the lights Saturday night.”
Davis, an East St. John Wildcat, might have a new wildcat role, Lemoine said.
Lemoine said Davis was picked for the squad as a quarterback, but asked to play defense. The Tulane signee is projected to play safety in college.
Davis’ move to safety helped the Louisiana secondary, which lost Westminster Christian’s Jalen Williams hours before the players reported. Williams was drafted by the Boston Red Sox last week and opted not to play.
Lemoine hinted that Davis may see action on offense. “We’ve got a wildcat-type package and we may just tell him (Davis) to be an athlete and make something happen,” Lemoine said.
The game will be played under NCAA rules, not the National Federation of High Schools rules the Louisiana High School Athletic Association uses.
Game coordinator Chris Massey said there are restrictions on defense and special teams. No blitzing is allowed, and defenses must play an even-front defense with a cover-two or cover-four zone in the secondary. Only one player is allowed to rush the punter, and no one is allowed to rush on point-after kicks or field goals.
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