Gators want to eliminate big plays against Central

Aanifa LeBlanc
St. Amant quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc rushed for 20 yards on 14 carries last week against Lutcher and completed four passes for 31 yards and one touchdown. LeBlanc and the Gators host Central Friday night at The Pit.

ST. AMANT - St. Amant is happy to return to normalcy this week against a traditional rival, Central, in its home opener at The Pit Friday.

“It is great to have a normal game week and to have a Friday night game,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said.

The Wildcats have won four out of the last six in the series, including a, 16-7 victory last season in Central City.

“Central has a nice club,” Oliver said. “We thought they did a nice job last year adjusting in Baton Rouge to beat us. It is going to be a strong test for us, but we are prepared for them and we got a couple of wrinkles on both sides of the ball, so we feel like we have a great chance on Friday night.”

St. Amant (0-1) is adjusting to changes in its offensive scheme from multiple to the triple option. The Gators fell to Lutcher last Wednesday, 28-14,  in what was its season opener after its Week 1 game against Parkview Baptist was canceled.

“The key is going to be protecting the football and eliminating their big plays,” Oliver said. “Those are the things that we are looking to improve on. protect the football and convert third down situations. We were poor doing that against Lutcher.  We have to be good on third down to extend drives and continue to move the ball forward and score.”

Lutcher held the Gators to under 30 yards rushing in the first half. St. Amant did finish with 140 yards rushing as fullback Adrian Bourgeois had 75 yards on eight carries, all coming in the second half. Quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc gained 20 yards on 14 carries and was 4 for 11 passing for 31 yards and one touchtown, sitting out the last series of the first half with a bruised elbow. Both are expected to be 100 percent Friday night.

“Everyone has a few nicks and bruises right now, but we are pretty healthy and I think those kids will be ready to go on Friday night with no limitations,” Oliver said.

St. Amant’s defense gave up 246 yards rushing against Lutcher including touchdowns runs of 76, 53 and 47 yards.

“Defensively, we just have to focus and eliminate those big plays that we gave up last week,” Oliver said.

Central is coming off a 28-12 victory over Zachary after its Week 1 game against Live Oak was cancelled. Wildcat quarterback Will Briscoe threw for 296 yards in that game completing 23 of 36 passes including two touchdowns, while also running for two more scores.

“We got a couple of games on them that we traded and it seems like the kid has digested a new offense pretty well and is throwing the ball well,” Oliver said.  “It is going to be a nice challenge for our defense and secondary in particular with the way they throw the ball around now. We are going to have to get some pass rush up front to try and stop him from feeling comfortable in the pocket. We have always felt good about our secondary. We have got a lot of seniors and a lot of experience back there, so if we can generate a pass rush, we feel like those kids will be able to make a play for us back there.”

Central running back Antonio Dunn is expected to be more of a clog for the Wildcats this week after only seeing 10 snaps a week ago due to a broken hand. Dunn finished with 148 yards on 32 carries last season. Shedrick Davis caught 10 passes for 184 yards and one score against Zachary.

The Wildcats are coming off a 8-3 campaign as Sid Edwards enters is second season at the school. Central’s multiple offense returns six starters while their 4-2-5 defense has three returning starters, led by defensive backs Josh Johns and Josh Veals.