Mamou High linebacker Allen Boseman (55) takes down a Merryville Panther runner during last week’s game. The Demons picked up their first opening game win in over 10 years when they defeated the Panthers 32-20. Mamou travels to Basile tomorrow night in key non-district match-up with the Bearcats. (Gazette photo by Sylis Manuel)
With so many games left to play this season, it may be hard to make a case for a week two contest being so important to the course that a team takes for the rest of the 2019 campaign.
But, when the Basile Bearcats host the Mamou Demons tomorrow night in a non-district contest, both teams need the win for different reasons.
The Basile Bearcats (0-1) are hoping to get the season back on track after a heartbreaking 28-26 loss to the Lake Arthur Tigers this past Friday; a game that Basile led at the half.
The Mamou Demons need the win to continue the momentum found after an opening win over Merryville last Friday; the first opening game win for Mamou in over 10 years.
There is no doubt that the Demons are a very improved football team. Just ask Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand.
“Coach (Dwight) Collins and his staff is doing a tremendous job over there in Mamou,” stated Bertrand. “They have improved so much from the past few years to this year. Mamou is a different team this season, no doubt about it.”
Offensively, Mamou showed what type of fire power they can produce. The Demons racked up 384 yards of total offense in their 32-20 win over the Panthers this past week, with 304 of those yards coming on the ground. Quarterback Daylon Ardoin accounted for 217 of those yards on the ground.
“Their quarterback is a smooth character, I like him a lot,” said Bertrand. “You can tell that he has command of the offense and runs it well. Defensively we are going to have to do a better job of tackling than we have been doing over the last few weeks.”
Collins summed up his team’s performance against Merryville in a very succint manor.
“We had a lot of mistakes, we fought back and we found a way to win,” stated Collins. “One positive for us is that we were able to establish the running game. Last year we had a lot of trouble doing that. We just have to stop making mistakes that kill drives and make us get off to a slow start offensively. If we can accomplish that, things would go a whole lot smoother.”
Getting off to a slow start was not what ailed Basile in their loss to Lake Arthur this past Friday. Rather it was not being able to finish what was started.
Against the Tigers, Basile scored three unanswered touchdowns after falling behind 6-0 to take a 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter. Lake Arthur put up a score right before the half to cut the lead down to 20-13.
However, the second half belonged to the Tigers, as they picked up two more touchdowns in the third quarter to move ahead of the Bearcats. A last quarter touchdown by Basile was not enough to overcome the deficit.
“That is two weeks in a row (including the jamboree) that we have lost a two touchdown lead,” commented Bertrand. “We are going to have to work on that. We need to learn how to keep the hammer down and keep on playing.”
Whether or not depth has played a role in the Bearcats losing those leads, Bertrand was pleased that he was able to find some other players to take up the slack of his starters; most of who go both ways.
“Against Lake Arthur, I think that we were able to find other kids that can play,” said Bertrand. “We had some players step up and get the job done when we had some injuries. That is big for us, especially down the road.”
Offensively, Basile was able to establish their running game. The Bearcats had three players combine for 189 yards on 44 carries. The Bearcats also threw the ball when needed, picking up 41 yards through the air.
Collins knows that a Basile team that can get their running game going will be a tough assignment for his team.
“If they can control the football on the ground, it is hard to beat them,” said Collins. “Coach Bertrand and his staff always gets his guys ready to go. They are well managed in terms of substitutions to get their players rest. They are very consistent and do not make many mistakes.”
Mistakes are what Collins and the Demons are hoping to avoid. Those mistakes are what made the game get out of reach for Mamou last season when the Demons lost to the Bearcats 36-0.
“We have to be able to hold on to the ball and keep possession away from their offense,” stated Collins. “For us, that starts up front. Our offensive line must do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage and giving our backs a chance. Mental and physical mistakes will have to be minimized.”
As for Bertrand, he knows his team will be in for a fight.
“We will definitely have to be ready to play, because they are coming to put it to us.”