Rayville (3-4, 3-1) at Beekman (0-6, 0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
No one can accuse Beekman of picking a soft homecoming opponent as the Tigers host Rayville on Friday at 7 p.m.
"Rayville is not who you want to play for homecoming, but that wasn't my decision," Beekman coach Wade McDonald said. "We'll have a big crowd. Hopefully, we can make it respectable."
It would probably be safe to say that Rayville is the most talented team the Tigers have faced during their short football history.
"I don't know that we've seen this many athletes on the field at the same time, not even against White Castle," McDonald said, referring to last year's first round Class 1A playoff opponent. "It's going to be hard for us to match up with their speed, and they're pretty physical, too."
Rayville (3-4, 3-1 District 2-2A) got off to its customary slow start as coach Lent Bursey put together another challenging pre-district schedule filled with larger schools. Since opening the campaign with four straight losses to Class 4A Franklin Parish (22-20), Jena (23-22), Union Parish (27-8) and Ferriday (24-0), the Hornets have won three straight at the expense of Vidalia (40-13), Mangham (34-24) and Delhi Charter (50-28).
Quarterback James Powell Jr. completed 6-of-13 passes for 113 yards last week against Delhi Charter while rushing for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just four carries.
Receivers Rashad Naylor, Adrian Brown and Samuel Sledge are all big-play threats.
Rayville averages 172.3 yards per game passing and 122.4 ypg game rushing.
Cameron Aultman is the Hornets' feature back.
"They have an athletic quarterback, so they are going to spread us out," McDonald said. "Defensively, we are going to have to contain the edges. Our linebackers are going to really have to step up this week."
Linebacker Dedron Graham recorded a team-high 15 tackles against Delhi Charter. Graham is flanked by Derrick Dawson and Zachary Griffin.
Xavier Griffin (6-5, 250) and Azriel Campbell (6-0, 260) anchor the defensive front.
"They're just athletic on the defensive line," McDonald said. "They're not just big — those guys can move."
Beekman (0-6, 0-3) had an open date last week following a 42-6 loss to Delhi Charter.
"We couldn't have asked for a better time for a bye week," McDonald said. "We needed to get some people healthy. We practiced in helmets and shorts, and we were back in pads Monday. It was a nice, cool fall day."
Senior lineman Dylan Gandy is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery last week. McDonald said senior wide receiver Chad Jones (knee) will not be available Friday night.
On the positive side, Zeb Morgan and Seth Meyers will play while Ethan Nelson has been upgraded to probable.
Ideally, the Tigers would like to shorten the game and limit Rayville's possessions.
"We're not going to change anything," McDonald said. "We're going to keep trying to run the football and, hopefully, complete a pass or two. I figure they'll man up on us.
"Defensively, we're going to try to slow them down a little."
Beekman is led offensively by running back Johnny Gipson and tight end Ethan White.
Among the Tigers' key defenders are tackle Xavier Lewis, linebacker James Foster and cornerbacks Cobe Matthews and Clayton Nunn.
Beekman is at General Trass next Friday before closing out the season at home vs. Ferriday.
Rayville takes a break from district play next week, traveling to Class 3A Shreveport Loyola before finishing out the regular season at home vs. Lake Providence General Trass.