There were a beaucoup of standouts for Bastrop in Friday night's 25-12 jamboree victory over Ouachita.
On the offensive side, Jamari Payne (8 receptions, 135 yards, 1 TDs) and quarterback Christian Doaty (13-of-18, 227 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) obviously had big games, while tailback Kevin Heard added a workmanlike 79 yards with a touchdown on 18 carries.
I'm not sure how the offensive line graded out individually, but with 287 yards total offense in 30 minutes, Payton Hollis, Horzonta Frazier, Rodney Jackson, David Palmer and Chris Givens must have done something right.
Switching over to the defensive side, defensive end Juwuan Norris accounted for a team-high nine tackles and batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage. Safety Lester Lee was next with seven tackles and Rufus Martin was in on six stops.
Linebacker Kentreylus Hill-Pates was credited with six tackles and made three huge plays.
After the Rams had taken a 7-6 lead early in the second half, Pates alertly pried the ball loose on the ensuing kickoff return, turning the ball back over to the offense at the Ouachita 28. Bastrop scored two plays later to go up 14-6.
On the following series, Hill-Pates broke up a third-and-10 pass, forcing a Ouachita punt.
Five plays later, the Rams extended the margin to 19-6.
Hill-Pates came up big yet again on the Lions' next possession. Matched against wide receiver Cameron Sims in man coverage, Hill-Pates successfully defended a fourth-and-11 pass, enabling the Rams to take over on downs at the Ouachita 48.
Striking immediately, Doaty found Isaiah Graham across the middle for a 48-yard TD strike.
Had their been a Player of the Game award, my vote would have gone to someone whose contributions didn't show up in the box score. Judging by the postgame chatter, I am pretty sure the coaching staff would agree with my choice of cornerback Mardarius Thompson as the unofficial jamboree MVP.
Ouachita hurt the Rams with the deep pass as the two teams played to an 18-18 tie in the spring game in May. Sims, who has verbally committed to Alabama, beat Thompson on a 45-yard TD strike.
Predictably, Ouachita went after Thompson again in the jamboree, taking multiple shots downfield to Sims. This time, Thompson proved to be up to the challenge, matching the 6-5, 205-pound Sims stride for stride. Sims' only downfield catch went for seven yards.
For good measure, Thompson recovered the aforementioned fumbled kickoff caused by Hill-Pates.
“Mardarius was big-time tonight,” Bastrop coach Thomas Bachman said. “He's a kid that has it in him. He's long and has a lot of athleticism.”
Bachman called Thompson into his office after the game. The coach's message was two-fold, with congratulations and a challenge.
“I just got through telling Mardarius how proud I am of the way he played tonight. We really needed him tonight and he came through for us,” Bachman said. “I also told him that this week is over and he has to do it again next week.”
Bastrop's pass defense as a whole showed significant improvement over the spring as the Lions completed just 5-of-18 passes for 41 yards.
HARD ON OUACHITA: Payne wishes his jamboree outings against the Lions counted toward his regular season stats.
Last season, Payne caught seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in a 21-20 Bayou Jamb loss to the Lions. He also caught two TD passes in the spring game and scored on a 2-yard pass on fourth-and-goal Friday night.
Payne's two-year jamboree totals: 15 receptions, 278 yards, 2 TDs.
WORKHORSE: Junior running back Cam Davis was a workhorse for the Lions on Friday night, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
CAPTAINS for Friday night's games were (Bastrop) Johnnie Marsaw, Heard, Payne and Lee; (Ouachita) Sims and Eric Bowie.
REUNIONS: Members of Bastrop High's classes of 1983, 1998 and 2003 were recognized at the jamboree.
ALUMNI: Former All-State linebacker Al Loche joined the Rams in the field house for the pregame talk.
Among other former Rams spotted at the game were Josh Womack, Dita Ridgell, and Stanley Moore.