Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette says negativity within the community is damaging to the football team as well as the school.

Minutes after a 17-12 loss to Neville in Thursday night's regular season finale, Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette voiced his concern about the possibility of a carryover affect. Monday's practice for Friday night's first round playoff game against McDonogh #35 did little to ease his anxiety.

"We cannot allow Neville to beat us twice," said Burnette, whose 9th-seeded Rams (7-2) host the No. 24 Roneagles (5-5) of New Orleans in the Class 4A playoffs.

Burnette challenged the fans to get behind — rather than abandon — the Rams.

"The way to help in this situation is to rally behind these kids, the coaches and the program," Burnette said. "This is an amazing group of kids who have done everything they can to succeed. We can't allow one loss to undermine our entire season."

Besides the disappointing loss, Burnette is concerned that negativity within the community contributed to the lethargic practice.

"We were 5-0 at one point with the same coaches, the same kids, the same program, then we went down to New Orleans and some things went against us at the end," Burnette said, referring to a 28-25 Week 6 loss to Brother Martin. "This is the same team that was 7-1 and prepared to play for the district championship on Foresythe. These are the same kids you packed the stands for at Neville. Let's stay together and not let one game, maybe one decision, tear the whole season apart. This place should be packed Friday night."

Burnette says any negativity surrounding the football program spreads to the entire school.

"Rain, sleet or snow, win, lose or draw — I have the same pride in my community," said Burnette, a former All-State Bastrop wide receiver, who played for Tulane and went to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. "That's what we need to be thinking about. (The negativity) leaks into the school. I firmly believe that academics and athletics go hand-in-hand. I'm afraid we are getting away from that as a community."

"One of the first things you read in the handbook is that one of the most important parts of a school year is football season," continued Burnette, who is pursuing an administrative degree in hopes of possibly landing a principal's position down the road. "The better the football program goes, the better the year goes. A good football team builds camaraderie, pride and discipline. If you get 60 kids pulling in the same direction, it makes the entire school run smoother.

"When you get a Quaterius Hawkins and a Christian Smith in class, and they say, 'keep quiet, we're here to do our work,' the rest of the class follows suit. When one of the cool kids is doing his work, it filters down to everybody else.

"That's why I work so hard with (BHS Principal) Mr. (Chris) Broussard, so I can find out what his priorities are, and we can be on the same page."

Burnette says community support should not be limited to Friday night's during football season.

"The parking lots should be full on parent-teachers conference nights, too," Burnette said. "Let's support the entire program — that's everything dealing with Bastrop High School."