Bastrop (3-3) at Franklin Parish (1-6), Friday, 7 p.m.
Returning to action following an open date, the Bastrop Rams open District 2-4A play Friday night in Winnsboro against Franklin Parish.
Bastrop (3-3) closed out the pre-conference portion of its schedule with a 26-20 setback to Class 5A New Orleans Brother Martin on Friday, Oct. 6 at Ram Stadium.
During the week off, coach Adrian Burnette tried to walk the fine line between making sure the Rams stayed sharp yet had time to rest.
"It's hard to coach an off week," Burnette said. "In your mind, you want to give them some time for themselves, but you don't want them to lose their rhythm. You want to give them some time off so they can get some rest, but you don't want them to lose focus and lose the camaraderie they had."
Despite closing out district play on a sour note, Burnette says the hard-fought Brother Martin game was a good test for the Rams.
"We're still walking around a little sore," Burnette said. "Good, bad or indifferent, it was a good game to get on our re´sume.´
Burnette says the skill positions put in a significant amount of work last week, while the defense was given a break.
"The quarterback (Quaterius Hawkins) and wide receivers have been doing a lot of work," Burnette said. "The defense has had more rest than anybody. They've done a great job. They were hanging on at the end against Brother Martin because they had put so much into the game. Offensively, I wish we could have contributed more."
Friday's game offers the Rams an opportunity for a fresh start.
"Not that we took the other games lightly, but district is for real. The playoffs are for real," Burnette said. "It's been a long preseason, but I think it has prepared us for district."
Key players for the Rams include wide receivers SirQuan Hawkins and Christian Smith and guards Maleek Mays and James Carter on offense, and tackles Xavier Whitmore and Quandarious Rhodes and strong safeties Phillip Jackson and C.J. Mullens on defense.
Since defeating Rayville 22-20 in the regular season opener, the Patriots (1-6) have dropped six straight to Ferriday (58-0), Richwood (27-12), Kentwood (27-12), Union Parish (34-8), Haughton 46-20) and Shreveport Green Oaks (34-18).
Regardless of their record, Franklin Parish has played the Rams tough over the years.
"Sometimes football is a game of matchups," Burnette said. "Certain teams match up with you differently than others. At the end of the day, that's why you play the game. We haven't matched up with them too well in certain areas."
Quarterback L.T. Major rushed 15 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner as the visiting Patriots outlasted the Rams 34-27 in overtime last season.
Now a junior, the dangerous Major is back to direct the Patriots' offense.
"Their quarterback is real good," Burnette said. "He hurt us last year. I still remember him running the football for the touchdown in overtime."
Operating from the Wing T under first-year coach Whitney McCartney, the Patriots have been beset by injuries on the offensive line. Despite starting a senior and four sophomores on the interior, the Patriots rushed for a season-high 342 yards last week vs. Green Oaks.
Franklin Parish jumped out to an 18-6 second quarter lead before surrendering 28 unanswered points. Three second half fumbles led to the Patriots' undoing.
Major produced 136 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries to lead the Patriots offensively last week.
Running backs Curterius Shaw and Stephon Hardin complement Major in the running game.
Defensive leaders for the Patriots are end Sumonte Bryant, linebacker Henry Jackson and safety Chris Moffitt.
POWs: Bastrop's Players of the Week for the Brother Martin game were wide receiver Calvert "Big Body" Johnson and linebacker T.J. Blanch.
NEXT FRIDAY: Bastrop plays its homecoming game against West Ouachita, while Franklin Parish travels to Neville.
GAME CHANGED: Bastrop's Week 10 home game against Neville has been moved up a day to Friday, Nov. 2. Senior Night ceremonies will be held at approximately 6:30 p.m., with kickoff set for 7.