Basile High running back Andre Reed tries to find room around the end in a game played earlier this season. The senior has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season and is one of the reasons the Bearcats were 10-3 on the year and made it to the Class 1A quarterfinals. (Gazette photo by Sylis Manuel)
Unstoppable once again
KENTWOOD – Once again, the Basile Bearcats cannot come up with the answers to take down the Kentwood Kangaroos, as the Bearcats exited the LHSAA Class 1A playoffs with a 44-14 loss to the Kangaroos here Friday night. Basile finishes the season with an overall record of 10-3.
And, once again it was the size and athleticism advantage of Kentwood that played a huge factor in the outcome of the game. This was the fifth time in the last five years that the two schools have met in the playoffs, with the Kangaroos dominating all five contests by an average score of 27.2 points per game.
“I thought we started off really well and just kind of got steamrolled a little bit,” stated Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand. “They are a good team. Their speed and physicality had a lot to do with the final score. They whipped us a few times up front and put us in some tough situations. But, I am proud of the effort from our team tonight and proud of what they have been able to accomplish all season long.”
Things looked good for the Bearcats to start the game. After receiving the opening kickoff, Basile was forced to punt the ball away. However, Kentwood’s Trey Palmer, and LSU commit, fumbled the ball trying to haul in the kick. The Bearcats recovered at the Kangaroo 45-yard line, giving them great field position.
Basile took advantage of that field position, marching the ball down to the Kentwood one-yard line in 11 plays. On the twelfth snap of the drive, Andre Reed plunged in from one yard out to give the Bearcats the early lead. Abdul Mlingo added the extra point and with 4:40 left in the opening quarter, Basile held a 7-0 lead.
The Kangaroos took the ensuing kickoff up to their 49-yard line and let loose an offense that came into the game averaging 29 points per contest. In just five plays, Kentwood had run their way down to the Bearcat four-yard line.
On first and goal, Rodarrian Robbins found a seam in the Basile defense and slipped into the end zone for the touchdown. Cornelius Dyson tacked on the extra point, making it a 7-7 game with 3:02 to go in the first quarter.
The two teams exchanged possessions on their next drives. Gaining field position in the exchange, the Kangaroos were able to pin the Bearcats back at their 10-yard line after a 35 yard punt.
Basile lost four yards on their first play from scrimmage following the punt and could not recover. The Bearcats were forced to kick the ball back to Kentwood from their own end zone, giving the Kangaroos the ball at the Basile 30-yard line to begin their next possession.
With excellent field position once more, the Kangaroos found themselves at the Bearcat seven-yard line in only six plays. With Kentwood facing a third and two situation, quarterback Terrell Hoofkin found Labrandon Cooper in the back of the end zone for the touchdown strike. With the extra point off of the foot of Dyson, the Kangaroos now had a 14-7 lead at the 5:43 mark of the second quarter.
Following the pattern established on the previous possession, the Bearcats found themselves moving backwards on the offensive side of the ball one more time. Starting at their 22-yard line, Basile dropped 17 yards due to a holding call at the 10-yard line.
On fourth and 25 from their five-yard line, Mlingo booted a punt that was hauled in by Palmer at the 25-yard line. Fifteen yards later, Palmer gave the Kangaroos the ball at the Bearcat 10-yard line.
Four plays later, Hoofkin connected with Robbins for a seven yard touchdown pass to increase the Kangaroo lead. The extra point was no good, however, Kentwood had extended their lead to 20-7 with 1:11 to go in the half. That score remained the rest of the way, as the two clubs headed into the locker room.
The Kangaroos received the second half kickoff and was forced to turn the ball over on downs at the Basile 40-yard line when the Bearcat defense came up with a much needed stand. Basile took over and put together a decent drive on their first possession of the half. Unfortunately, the Bearcat drive stalled at the Kentwood 39-yard line when they failed to convert on fourth down.
The Kangaroos did not waste any time putting up more points, marching down to the Basile eight-yard line in five plays. On second and goal, Hookfin hit Robinson in the end zone for the second time in the game, pushing the scoring cushion even farther. Larry Carter took the two-point run in to make the score 28-7 Kentwood with 3:39 to play in the third quarter.
The Kangaroos would score on their very next possession when Cooper hauled in another Hookfin pass from 20 yards out. With the two point pass, Kentwood now led 36-7 early in the final quarter.
Basile’s second score came on the ensuing drive. Starting at their 36-yard line, the Bearcats drove the length of the field in 16 plays, capping off the possession with a seven yard touchdown run from Logan David. Mlingo added the extra point to make it a 36-14 game with 3:09 to go in the contest.
The Kangaroos scored their last touchdown with 1:32 to go when Jariel Brown sprinted in from 15 yards out.
After the game, Bertrand praised his seniors, most of whom had been with the program for the last four years.
“To see what those guys have done in their four years here is amazing,” said Bertrand. “It is going to be sad to not have those players back on the field next year. They have been a part of my heart these past few years and I am going to miss them and the leadership they brought to this team.”