G.W. Carver at Bastrop, Friday, 7 p.m.
It's a bit odd to hear talk of revenge in Week 1, but it is understandably a source of motivation for the Bastrop Rams as they await Friday night's matchup with the George Carver Washington Rams.
Bastrop's 2017 season started a with 20-12 loss to Carver and ended with an embarrassing 50-24 setback to Carver.
Moving on to the second round, Carver gave eventual Class 4A state champion Edna Karr a scare before coming out on the short end of a 40-35 verdict.
Bastrop finished 5-5 for the second straight season.
Friday night's game has been on Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette's mind since November.
"Going into the spring, we were meeting as coaches and I said there were three games I wanted to make sure we were prepared for — Sterlington, Carver and Neville," said Burnette, Bastrop's second-year head coach. "Sterlington because of the implications of what it was. Carver because of the revenge factor and Neville because of the rivalry factor. Those were games we circled on our calendar before spring practice."
Bastrop can check off one of the three after defeating Sterlington 29-13 in the Bayou Jamb at ULM.
Unlike the jamboree, the Carver game counts.
"It's a playoff game in Week 1," Burnette said. "That's not hyping it up. They are going to the playoffs just like we are going to the playoffs."
Both of last year's meetings were in New Orleans. This time around, the Carver Rams have the long trip.
"They handed us a nice butt whipping last year in the playoffs," Burnette recalled. "This year, we get to play in familiar surroundings, and they have to take a five-hour bus ride. We are are going to see if we can get some revenge."
Carver also won its jamboree in impressive fashion, 20-0 over city rival L.W. Higgins.
Junior Quincy Curry takes over at quarterback for Izea Hurst.
Wide receiver Lynarise Elpheage Jr. returns after a stellar freshman season. Lynarise Elpheage Sr., Carver's offensive coordinator, and Burnette were college teammates at Tulane.
Randolph Armstead is the feature back following the graduation of Jimmie Cooley.
Linebacker Ja'Mel Cooley and lineman Khari Coleman lead Carver defensively.
Like Carver, the B-Rams expect to feature an explosive offense.
Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins returns along with receivers Christian Smith and Calvert Johnson. Running backs Kyrese Lawrence and Cartavious Allen both played well in the Bayou Jamb.
Hawkins was named Bastrop's MVP of the jamboree after completing 15-of-23 passes for 190 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Hawkins capped the Rams' first two possessions with TD strikes to Smith (15 yards) and Johnson (18 yards).
Strong safety C.J. Mullins led the Rams defensively against Sterlington with five tackles, three stops in the backfield, an interception, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. Among the Rams' other key defensive holdovers are lineman Denterrius McHenry, end T.J. Blanch and strong safety Phillip Jackson.
Bastrop is on the road for its next two with stops in Bossier City (Airline) Sept. 7, and Shreveport (Calvary Baptist) Sept. 14.