Senior running back Kyrese Lawrence is keeping the Bastrop Rams' 3-0 start in perspective.
Senior running back Kyrese Lawrence is keeping the Bastrop Rams' 3-0 start in perspective. Winning three straight games doesn't compare to winning three straight state titles a little over a decade ago.
"We can't say that Bastrop High football is back until we hit the 'Dome," Lawrence said. "That's when we can say it's back. We have to accomplish what those teams did."
Lawrence recalls making the trip to New Orleans for the Rams' 2006 state championship game against Archbishop Shaw, though he needed a little help remembering the opponent.
"I went in '06 when they played the (Shaw) Eagles," Lawrence said. "My cousin, Reginald Leopold, playing during that time. He was an offensive lineman."
The second state championship game of the Rams' trifecta was the only game Lawrence attended during the run. Growing up, he rarely even watched football on TV.
"I didn't even know they had won three straight state championships until I heard about it in middle school," Lawrence said. "I just wasn't into football them. I didn't start watching football until later on. Then I started watching The Bus (Jerome Bettis) and Troy Palamalu when they played for the Steelers."
Lawrence didn't spend a lot of time playing football as a youth, either.
"I didn't start playing until I was in the sixth grade at Morehouse Junior High," Lawrence recalled. "I skipped Pee Wee football."
Lawrence was immediately placed in the backfield, and has never played another position.
"I have always been a running back," Lawrence said. "I really didn't know what football was until I hit sixth grade. I didn't even know what the positions were called when I started to play. Running back was just where I ended up."
One of Rams' main objectives over the offseason was to become more balanced offensively. Bastrop had big-play capabilities, but lacked the ability to sustain drives consistently.
Coming off of a promising junior campaign, Lawrence has played a major role in establishing the running game.
"It's a testament to Kyrese that we have been more successful running the ball this season," Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette said. "It took a little while for him to get comfortable with the offense. Now that he has grown more comfortable and gained a better understanding of the offense, it makes us that much better."
Lawrence says the Rams' upgraded rushing attack is the result of a much-improved offensive line.
"Our offensive line is bigger this year," Lawrence said. "We've been so small of the offensive line in the past. Our offensive line is way better than they were last year."
Cartavious Allen's emergence has given the Rams an additional threat out of the backfield.
"We have more backs this year," Lawrence said. "We all know what to do, and have the ability to do it. Being able to run the ball consistently makes us better offensively."
Though Lawrence missed the Rams' season-opening 20-19 victory over New Orleans Carver with an injury, Allen took up the slack.
"Cartavious Allen surprised me in the first game," Lawrence said. "Last year, he had turf toe and was our for like the whole season. I had never seen him run like that."
Lawrence says the Rams have a healthy competition at running back.
"We push each other and compete against each other every day in practice," Lawrence said.
Burnette says Lawrence and Allen bring two different types of skill sets to the table.
"We were more run-oriented against Carver," Burnette said. "There are going to be times in a ballgame again that we are going to be more run-oriented, and Kyrese gives us that opportunity. Kyrese and Cartavious Allen complement each other. Cartavious is more of a slasher whereas Kyrese is more of a power type, downhill runner.
"Coach (Cedric) Sherrod has done a great job of toughening up our offensive line and making them more run-oriented. Kyrese has been a big part of that transition."
When football practice is over, Lawrence's day has just begun. He often goes straight to work at Johnny's Pizza.
"I work weekends, and sometimes during the week except for Thursday and Friday," Lawrence said.
His main task is cutting pizzas, though he occasionally works the counter.
Lawrence has learned that dealing with hostile customers is part of the pizza business.
"I had (an irate customer) not too long ago," Lawrence laughed. "I picked up some chicken out of the oven, and he said I took the tongs out of the trash can. He started cussing me and trying to fight me over the counter."
As for football, Lawrence hopes to play beyond high school.
"I want to play college football," Lawrence said. "I'll just see what happens. I'm just going game-by-game, and doing my best."
Now that the Rams have become more balanced, Lawrence's best may be yet to come.