SCOTT — After suffering a season-ending knee injury that cut short his junior campaign, Acadiana High’s Shane Francis was determined to do whatever it took during rehab to get back onto the field and finish his career with the Rams in successful fashion.
Through six games this season, Francis, who had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee in Week 8 against Carencro last year, has looked as good if not better than he did before the injury when running with the football.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Francis said. “In the beginning, the rehab was hard, but as time went on it became easier and easier. My knee has continued to get stronger. I was going to do whatever I needed to do to get back on the field and help us have a good season this year.”
The 5-7 Francis has been instrumental in the Rams’ rushing attack this season as he’s carried the football 103 times for 720 yards and seven touchdowns en route to helping lead Acadiana to a 4-2 overall record and 2-1 in District 3-5A.
“I like the way that I’ve been playing so far this season,” Francis said. “I like the way that I’m running with the football. I feel 100 percent back to normal and I really don’t see any difference in myself from last year before I got hurt to now.”
If there is anything that is different about Francis following his injury it’s his new found appreciation for being able to play the game he loves on a daily basis.
“I really do cherish football a lot more than I did before getting hurt,” Francis said. “I know now that at any moment, something can happen and I can no longer be able to play.”
Iota wins again
IOTA — Two weeks ago, the Iota Bulldogs were in the midst of a four-game losing streak but they weren’t searching for answers as to how to end the skid because they already knew what ailed them.
Several self-inflicted wounds such as turnovers and penalties were key to their struggles, but over the last two weeks they have minimized those problems and as a result have won back-to-back games.
“The first few games of the season, we were beating ourselves,” Bulldogs head coach Neal Lege said. “Offensively, we’ve been putting our defense in a bind with turnovers and penalties. Our defense has played well all year and that’s why I told our kids until we stop beating ourselves we didn’t have to worry about our opponent.”
The Bulldogs, who are now 2-4 on the year after back-to-back wins over Oberlin and Bunkie, have been led offensively by running backs Brandon Fantroy and Thomas Murrell.
“Brandon had some trouble early in the season trying to find holes because there weren’t any,” Lege said. “He has a lot of speed and I feel like he has run the ball well all year. Thomas is our big physical back who does a lot of his running in between the tackles and he helps give us our 1-2 punch in the backfield.”
Now that they’ve won consecutive games for the first time this season, Lege hopes his Bulldogs remain humble.
“We have to be humble,” Lege said. “A lot of hard work and patience went into getting us to this point, so we cannot forget how hard we had to work.”
Pirates not surprised
KAPLAN — Entering the season, just about everyone predicted that the Patterson Lumberjacks would win the District 9-3A championship with easy and that the rest of the teams were for the most part playing for second.
But the Kaplan Pirates apparently were as impressed as not only did they defeat the Lumberjacks 28-27 last week, but they expected to beat them.
“We felt like going in we would win the game,” Pirates head coach Stephen Lotief said. “We thought we were better than them. They have good athletes, but we thought we were the better team.”
The win over the Lumberjacks not only propelled the Pirates (4-2, 2-0) ahead of Patterson in the district standings, but it also extended Kaplan’s win streak to three games.
“Things are clicking a little better with our team right now,” Lotief said. We’ve settled on a couple of positions and I find that we are getting better every day.”
Lotief attributed the Pirates’ recent success to having more and more people stepping up in key situations.
“No one person has been the key for us,” Lotief said. “Every week it is someone different that steps up. We have had some injuries to our starters and guys from our second and third string teams have stepped up a lot. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and that’s working hard. We don’t need to do anything magical to keep this thing going.”
Polk records pick-six
NEW IBERIA — New Iberia’s Jacob Polk, the senior linebacker who missed the last two football seasons after being injured in a car-accident as a freshman, made his presence felt in the Yellow Jackets’ 55-12 win over H.L. Bourgeois.
Polk, who missed a couple of games with a broken knuckle, intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown for the Yellow Jackets’ final score of the game.
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