Calvary (0-2) at Bastrop (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
In a matchup of two teams that are better than their records would indicate, Bastrop entertains Shreveport Calvary Baptist on Friday at 7 p.m. Fans are asked to wear red in observance of Delta Night. Students from eastern Morehouse Parish have attended Bastrop since Delta High School closed following the 2005-06 school year.
Calvary and Bastrop both bring 0-2 records into Friday night's matchup. First-year head coach Rodney Guin'sClass 2A Cavaliers are playing up in classification for the third straight week after bowing to Class 5A C.E. Byrd 42-32 in Week 1 and Class 3A Union Parish 32-25 last week.
Running back Kordavion Washington leads the Cavaliers' balanced attack with 29 carries for 207 yards, plus five receptions for 164 yards. He has scored four touchdowns, two each rushing and receiving. Isaiah Brown has made the most of his limited touches with seven carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, and two catches for 42 yards and 1 TD. Brown averages a whopping 14.6 yards per carry.
"They are really good offensively," Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette said. "They have a real good running game with two good running backs that we are going to have to attempt to slow down."
Sophomore quarterback Cade Hart has completed 25-of-48 passes for 475 yards with four touchdowns and three picks. Hart's primary targets are Frederick "Tank" Davis (9 receptions, 152 yards), Will Derrick (8-68) and Mason Woodle (5-76-1).
End John David May (19 tackles) leads the Cavaliers defensively.
"They have a very good defensive line, which is something we are going to have to deal with," Burnette said.
Among Calvary's other defensive leaders are linebackers Jack Tyndall (25 tackles) and Phillip Legler (15 tackles), strong safety Parker Brown (12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss) and free safety Cameron Thomas (24 tackles).
Bastrop's losses have come at the hands of G.W. Carver (20-12) and Airline (27-26).
Burnette, who is in his first season as a head coach, has naturally consulted with his father and legendary basketball coach Jesse Burnette regarding the 0-2 start.
"We have our Saturday morning quarterback conversations," Adrian Burnette said. "He was telling me he started off his career 0-4 (at Delta), and ended up playing in the state championship game that year."
While the Rams have lost two games that could have gone the other way, Burnette is far from despondent.
"From a vision standpoint, we're right on schedule," Burnette said. "What we want to do is develop discipline and maturity. We're staying positive, maintaining focus and continuing to work. We're going to work."
Monday's practice was limited to indoor activities due to rain.
"This is the kind of weather where the kids can get sick without seeing it coming," Burnette said of the cool, damp day. "There are plenty of ways to get better without going outside. We watched film and went in the weight room. We worked on the mental aspect. The Lord probably knew we needed another day of rest and healing."
While it isn't time to panic, Burnette admits it's time for the Rams to start playing with a sense of urgency.
"We're definitely in a must-win situation," Burnette said. "Regardless of how positive you get, the only way to stay positive is with a win."
Bastrop's most pressing order of business is to get untracked offensively. Specifically, the Rams have to take better care of the football (9 turnovers) and run the ball more effectively. Bastrop's 51 rushing attempts have produced just 145 yards, a meager 2.8 yards per carry.
Quarterback Quaterious Hawkins has completed 44-of-80 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Christian Smith (17 receptions, 243 yards, 3 TDs) and Sir'Quan Hawkins (14-170-1) top the receiving chart.
Defensive leaders for the Rams are end Denterrius McHenry, linebacker TJ Blanch and strong safety Phillip Jackson.
SPECIAL TEAMS play has long been a sore spot for the Rams. Though there is still a long way to go, Burnette has seen noticeable progress.
"Everybody's willingness to be on special teams is what's making our special teams better," Burnette said. "We're not calling any different kicks. It's the kids wanting to be on special teams that has made a difference."
That includes the starters.
"We have eight starters on the punt (coverage) team hustling down to cover punts," Burnette said. "Christian Smith, a starting receiver, is on kickoff return."
Burnette also singled out A.J. Fenceroy and T.J. Blanch.
"A.J. Fenceroy does an excellent job of punting and T.J. Blanch is doing an excellent job of kicking," Burnette said. "Two weeks in a row, we have had tackles inside the 20 on kickoff coverage.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK for the Airline game were Smith and linebacker Robeyone Williams.
Smith caught six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, rushed three times for 46 yards, including a 33-yard TD scamper, and returned a punt 17 yards.
Williams was among the Rams' leading tacklers and forced a fumble on a sack, which Jackson turned into a 46-yard scoop and score.
NEXT: Bastrop embarks on a two-game road swing with stops at Richwood (Sept. 22) and Alexandria Menard (Sept. 29).