Bastrop 25, Ouachita 12
Scoring four touchdowns in less than five minutes to start the second half, Bastrop upended the Ouachita Lions 25-6 Friday night in jamboree action at Ram Stadium.
Bouncing back from a 14-0 loss to Ruston, the Rams closed out the preseason with a 39-0 victory over Alexandria and Friday night's jamboree victory. Sure, it's just the preseason, but the Rams are clearly playing with more confidence as compared to two weeks ago.
"Obviously, you want the kids feeling good about themselves and what they have accomplished," Bastrop coach Thomas Bachman said. "We're 0-0, but I will say this — these kids have worked extremely hard."
Next week's game counts as the Rams open regular season play Friday night with a home matchup against Shreveport Huntington.
"We'll come together Saturday morning, put this one behind us and start preparing for Week 1," Bachman said. "We have a long, hard road ahead with a 4A team, three straight 5A teams and two quality 3A teams coming up."
Managing only 22 yards on 13 offensive plays through the first 15 minutes, the Rams trailed 6-0 at halftime.
Matters turned abruptly when play resumed.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Rams marched 75 yards on seven plays without facing a a single third down. Kevin Heard did most of the damage, carrying four times for 37 yards to help set up Christian Doaty's 20-yard touchdown pass to Devin Brown.
Clay Winnon's PAT gave the Rams a 7-6 lead with 13:43 to play.
Bastrop's offense was back on the field moments later, complements of a heads-up play by Kentreylus Hill-Pates. With Hill-Pates stripping the ball away on the ensuing kickoff return, Mardarius Thompson emerged from the pile with the fumble recovery for the Rams.
"KP's just a football player," Bachman said of Hill-Pates. "There are things we try to teach him, but he does things you can't teach. He just has the 'it' factor."
Capitalizing on the short field, the Rams needed just two plays to cover 28 yards.
Brown's 10-yard reception moved the chains to the 18 and Heard blasted up the middle from there to put the Rams up 13-6.
Chad Rawls then dropped Quin Wilson for a loss of four on the kickoff return, forcing the Lions to start from their own 16.
Two plays later, on second-and-15, Charles Wright hooked up with tight end Carlos Robinson for 21 yards and a first down at the 32.
After an incomplete pass, Juwuan Norris shut down a running play for no gain and Hill-Pates broke up a third down pass, bringing on the punting unit.
Starting from its own 32, Bastrop was back in the red zone just one snap later as Jamari Payne was wrestled down at the 7 following a 61-yard reception.
Three carries by Heard netted five yards, bringing up fourth-and-goal from the 2. Looking to his left, Doaty spotted Payne in the endzone for the score and a 19-6 Bastrop lead.
Ouachita generated two first downs on its next series, advancing to its own 49 on Cam Davis' 10-yard pickup.
Norris then disrupted a first down running play for a loss of one and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Two more incomplete passes later, the Rams took over on downs at the Lions' 48.
Landing the knockout punch on the first snap of the series, the Rams stretched the spread to 25-6 on Doaty's 48-yard pass to Isaiah Graham.
"We finally started to get the pace established (in the second half)," Bachman said. "Our conditioning is going to be very important in the second half. We're going to try to play at a fast pace and try to wear everybody down."
Ouachita began its next offensive sequence from its own 38. Davis broke off a 22-yard run on first down, sparking a four-play, 52-yard drive and leading to his own 6-yard TD jaunt. Davis' second touchdown of the evening drew the Lions within 25-12 with 6:08 left to play.
Both teams went three plays and out on their next possession. Pressure from Quantavious Caldwell and Martin on fourth down forced an incomplete pass, enabling Bastrop to take over on downs at the Ouachita 39.
Bastrop moved to the 10, before Jalen Tolliver's interception at the 1 thwarted the threat with just over a minute to play.
Early on, neither team was able to muster much offensively.
Bastrop moved into Ouachita territory on its third series of the game when Payne's 24-yard grab was good for a first down at the 44. However, a botched handoff on the next snap resulted in a turnover with Tommy James making the recovery for the Lions.
Twelve plays later, Davis powered into the endzone from eight yards away, staking the visitors to a 6-0 lead with 1:10 remaining in the half.