A few years ago, the Bears coaching staff made a gradual team personnel switch that has carried over to today — especially on defense.
“We were loading up on offense (previously) and filling in kids on defense,” Church Point coach J.C. Arceneaux said. “Then we made a decision to start putting the best kids on defense.”
That nucleus includes senior lineman Dexter Charles and senior free safety Chance Roy, who have solidified the Bears defense during the past few years. Some new faces have also capably filled in gaps this season, as the Bears have allowed a total of 10 points in three weeks. They limited Cecilia to six first downs and 68 yards last week in a 23-3 victory.
“Christian Veronie has come in on the line and Jaylen Kelly has stepped in at outside linebacker,” Arceneaux said. “Brett Richard and Travette Meche have helped in the secondary. They have all been consistent — helping us as a unit.”
That unit, led by defensive coordinator Eric Cooley, will face a test Friday when the Bears host Catholic-New Iberia (2-1), which has won two straight by scoring 83 points during that span.
Quarterback Joe Lissard was 20-of-32 for 366 yards with five touchdowns and an interception last week in a 37-20 win over North Vermilion.
“Lissard is the best throwing quarterback we will see this year,” Arceneaux said. “They give you a bunch of formations and get the ball out of his hand. He does a great job of getting the ball to his hot receivers (when under pressure).”
The Panthers won 29-13 when the teams met last season.
“We expect Dexter Charles to draw double teams and hope that other guys being singled can win their matchups,” Arceneaux said.
“We got hits on him (Lissard) last year, but he got back up. He is not one of those guys you can rattle.”
Tailback Jermaine Antoine has been the main catalyst in Loreauville’s 3-0 start. He accounted for five touchdowns in a 57-41 win over Westminster Christian Academy on Friday. Four of those scores came on runs and one came on a 60-yard pass.
“It takes more than a few bumps and bruises to keep him from going in,” Loreauville coach Trent Delahoussaye said of Antoine .
“He has a maturity and an understanding of the moment. In the fourth quarter, we will call his number. Jermaine’s intensity when the lights go on, is second to none.”
The Tigers will be taking a long trek to Tallulah to tangle with Madison (1-2) on Friday night. Delahoussaye said he hopes the trip will be a good learning experience for his team.
“It’s the longest trip we have had. You want to prepare yourself if you are fortunate enough to get to the playoffs because you don’t know where you might be going,” he said.
Northwest is 3-0 and coming off a 49-0 triumph over Jeanerette. For second-year coach Darnell Lee, the momentum is about “building not just a team, but a program.”
“This is my second year here,” Lee said. “I had a group of seniors last year that bought in late and the juniors saw it (the switch).”
An intact offensive line and the efforts of running back Sadrian Jackson have helped the Raiders establish their offensive identity. Jackson rushed for 163 yards in the Jeanerette win.
“We have changed up our practice schedule,” Lee said. “We get all our work done in 21/2 hours. Last year, we had seven concussions as a team. We have been blessed and fortunate to make it so far without injury.”