Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Rams, Chiefs vie for first place

  • Since the implementation of the power ratings system, the district championship has basically become an afterthought. Nevertheless, Friday's game between, Bastrop and West Ouachita will go a long way towards determining the District 2-4A championship.

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  • Sole possession of first place in District 2-4A will be on the line when the Bastrop Rams (6-1, 2-0) travel to Cadeville to face the West Ouachita Chiefs (5-3, 2-0) Friday at 7 p.m.
    SEEKING CONSISTENCY: Coming off of its most complete game of the year, the Rams are looking to build on last week’s 22-10 victory over Neville.
    “If we continue to play with that kind of effort, we’ll be all right,” said Bastrop coach Brad Bradshaw.
    Although the Rams have never lost on the Reservation, history isn’t on their side this week.
    “We haven’t played well there,” Bradshaw said. “We always seem to come back with a
    bunch of injuries and a bunch of penalties.”
    Regardless of the venue, Bastrop has incurred its share of yellow laundry this season. A week after being flagged 17 times for 130 yards in a 28-22 home loss to Evangel, the Rams were charged with 11 infractions for 86 yards vs. Neville. Additionally, the Rams overcame four turnovers last week.
    “If we could ever get (the penalties and turnovers) corrected, it would certainly help,” Bradshaw deadpanned.
    CHIEFS’ TURNAROUND: Since starting the season 1-3, the Chiefs have regrouped to win four straight.
    West Ouachita hasn’t lost since coach Mitch Thomas dismissed several players following a 24-22 loss to Class 5A Airline in Week 4.
    “We’ve had a lot of changes,” Thomas said. “We’ve become a closer team.”
    Despite starting six sophomores — including four linemen — on offense, the Chiefs have over-achieved.
    “Honestly, we could easily be 7-1,” Thomas said.
    Not that he’s complaining.
    “We’re so young. I’m tickled to be where we are,” Thomas said. “I like this team. They have played as close to their ability as any team we’ve ever had.”
    West Ouachita’s progress hasn’t escaped the attention of Bastrop coach Brad Bradshaw.
    “They’re 19 points away from being undefeated and they’re playing for the district championship,” Bradshaw said. “It should be a heck of a ballgame if we can hold up our end of the bargain.”
    SCOUTING WO: In contrast to its teams of the past, West Ouachita has relied more on quickness than bulk this season.
    “They have a lot more team speed this year,” Bradshaw said. “They won district in track last year.”
    Philosophically, the Chiefs have retained their offensive identity.
    “They still have an incredible offensive line,” Bradshaw said. “They still run the veer and counters. They do a good job with that.”
    Last week, the Chiefs rushed for 344 yards in a 42-36 road victory over Franklin Parish. Billy Minnifield ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, while Jarvis Grayson chipped in 129 stripes on 17 totes.
    Page 2 of 2 - For the season, Minniefield has rushed for 923 yards, while Grayson has churned out 728. Dual threat quarterback Matt Calhoun has passed for 634 yards, while rushing for 561.
    Ray Moss and Asa Stone have 301 and 102 yards receiving, respectively.
    Linebackers Heath Hopfinger (86 tackles, 6 sacks) and Devin Knowles (82 tackles) and right tackle Trey Griffin (75 tackles) anchor a vastly improved defense. Left defensive end Dylan Powell has been a disruptive force with eight sacks.
    “Defensively is where they have really improved, especially in the secondary,” Bradshaw said. “They have bigger, faster kids back there this year, which allows them to play more man coverage.”
    West Ouachita will be a starter short in the secondary this week, with Tyler Phillips replacing Jacob Heckford (knee).
    Junior Jake Andrews, a backup defensive lineman, is out for the season with a broken hand. A two-time All-District baseball selection for the Rams, Andrews transferred to West Ouachita in August.
    SCOUTING BHS: Bastrop is led offensively by quarterback Rueben Randle, who has produced 1,663 yards (1,216 passing, 447 rushing) of total offense.
    Stanley Moore (28 receptions, 407 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Rodney Heard (22-356-2) are Randle’s primary targets.
    Dwight Hawkins, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the season, had a strong game against Neville. The senior running back/slot receiver rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 25.
    Thomas is concerned that his young offensive line will be overmatched by the Rams’ vaunted defensive front four.
    “I don’t know how we can block their front four,” Thomas said.
    For the second straight week, the Rams will be a starter short on the D-line. Tackle Josh Downs will sit out with an injury, while end Charleston Williams returns after missing last week. Dontavious (Big Moe) Moore will make his second straight start at tackle, with D.D. Jones returning to his regular tackle spot after filling in for Williams. D’Andre (Buck) Bradshaw will start at his customary left end position.

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