Bastrop (5-4) at Carver (6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
For Bastrop and George Washington Carver, the first round of the Class 4A state football playoffs seems like a restart to the regular season. Just as they did in Week 1, the two Rams will tee it up at 7 p.m. at Joe Brown Stadium in New Orleans.
Ten weeks later, Bastrop (5-4, 2-1 District 2-4A) is the No. 17 seed in the postseason bracket while Carver (6-3, 2-1 District 10-4A) is No. 16.
Carver won the Sept. 1 matchup 20-12. In what has become an all-too-familiar pattern, missed opportunities came back to cost Bastrop.
Last Thursday, the the B-Rams were unable to put points on the board after facing first-and-goal from the 5 and first-and-goal from the 7 in an eventual 10-0 loss to Neville.
"Our kids do a good job of understanding schemes offensively, defensively and on special teams," Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette said. "We just have to do a better job of executing."
Burnette says he has seen no lingering effects from the Neville game during practice this week.
"Honestly, this is one of the most amazing teams I have ever been around," Burnette said. "As far as their attitude as a whole, and the way they buy into what we are doing, this is a special group. The kids are excited about being in the playoffs, and they are excited about the opportunity to redeem themselves against a team they lost to earlier."
Burnette is hoping the earlier trip to New Orleans and a mid-season game at Alexandria Menard has helped prepare his team for postseason travel.
"The reason we scheduled Carver was to get our kids familiar with the New Orleans style, brand, travel and how it is," Burnette said.
Following up the win over Bastrop, Carver defeated Central Lafourche 52-44 and Eleanor McMain 50-3 to complete a 3-0 start. Dropping three of their next four, the C-Rams lost to No. 1 seed Edna Karr 35-6, Helen Cox 38-26, defeated South Plaquemines 37-3 and bowed to District 10 champion McDonogh #35 28-13. Closing out the regular season on a high note, Carver beat Lake Area New Tech 42-24 and Riverdale 32-7 to finish up 6-3.
The first meeting between Bastrop and Carver was tied 6-6 going into the fourth quarter before the New Orleans side went up 20-6.
Desi Holmes' 75-yard kickoff return to the 25 set up Quaterius Hawkins' 6-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Fenceroy as Bastrop cut the deficit to 20-12. An unsuccessful 2-point try left the visiting Rams down by 8 with 5:43 left.
Taking over at their own 46 after a Carver punt, the Rams' final full possession was derailed by a holding penalty.
Bastrop began its final series from its own 36 with 25 seconds remaining. Two plays later, an interception finalized the outcome.
Quarterback Izea Hurst, running backs Jimmie Cooley and Randolph Armstead, and receivers Lynarise Elpheage Jr., Keyon Clark and Gary Young lead a deep group of Carver playmakers.
"They have a real good quarterback, and a good team all the way around," Burnette said. "They are a typical New Orleans team — fast, skilled and big up front."
Ends Jaleel Williams and Duke Coleman, linebackers Ja'mel Cooley and James Jones III, strong safety Ronnie Gray and free safety Gerald Burton lead the way defensively for the C-Rams.
Like Carver, Bastrop has a prolific group of receivers in Christian Smith, SirQuan Hawkins, Calvert Johnson and Celento Traylor.
Bastrop is coming off of its best defensive outing of the season after limiting Neville to eight first downs and 151 yards (92 rushing, 59 passing) of total offense.
Taking over at the Bastrop 1 after a high punt snap, Neville went up 7-0 with 7:06 remaining and later added a field goal off of a turnover.
Among the Rams' defensive standouts are end Denterrius McHenry, linebacker T.J. Blanch and strong safety Phillip Jackson. Jackson caused a fumble and intercepted a pass in the regular season matchup vs. Carver.
NEXT: A victory over Carver would assure Bastrop of a second round home game next week against the No. 32 Buckeye-defending state champion Edna Karr winner.
Other first round pairings have No. 24 Lutcher at No. 9 Salmen, No. 25 St. Martinville at No. 9 Northwood (Shreveport), No. 28 Belle Chasse at No. 5 Plaquemine, No. 21 Westgate at No. 12 Woodlawn (Shreveport), No. 20 Assumption at No. 13 North DeSoto, No. 29 Carencro at No. 4 Warren Easton, No. 30 Breaux Bridge at No. 3 Benton, No. 19 DeRidder at No. 14 Cecilia, No. 22 Helen Cox at No. 11 Rayne, No. 27 Franklinton at No. 6 Leesville, No. 26 Woodlawn (Baton Rouge) at No. 7 Neville, No. 23 Minden at No. 10 McDonogh #35, No. 18 Tioga at No. 15 South Lafourche and No. 31 Pearl River at No. 2 Lakeshore.
POWs: Bastrop's Week 10 Players of the Week were QB Quaterius Hawkins (offense) and strong safety C.J. Mullens (defense).