OPELOUSAS — When the Loreauville Tigers travel to face the Westminster Crusaders today at 7 p.m., it won’t serve as a make or break game for either team’s season.
But it will have a huge impact on the playoffs.
Because it’s expected that both the Tigers and the Crusaders are going to win far more games than they’ll lose this season, whoever wins the matchup will receive a huge boost in the power rankings.
“This is a big game in terms of both teams being 2-0,” Tigers head coach Trent Delahoussaye said. “It’s also a big game because when you look at the schedule, Westminster should be favorite to win from here on out.
“So whoever wins this game, it will be great for them from a power rankings standpoint. The victory will play a major role in where the winning team is seeded in the playoffs.”
Crusaders head coach Tommy Badon agreed whole heartedly with Delahoussaye.
“In the whole scheme of things, you look at it and you say ‘well if you win it will be huge for you in terms of power points,'” Badon said. “You know that both teams are going to win a lot. But then if you lose the game, it’s not going to make or break your season.”
Delahoussaye believes if the Tigers are going to beat a team like Westminster, they are going to have to do a much better job on the defensive side of the ball.
“Offensively, we are making consistent improving,” Delahoussaye said. “I still believe that we can throw it a little bit better than we have so far, but defensively I haven’t seen that consistent improvement. Against Central Catholic we allowed 240 yards passing and then against St. Thomas Aquinas we allowed more than 400 yards of total offense. We have to do better than that.”
, because if we come out and play Westminster defensively the way we’ve played in the first two weeks then we’ll be in trouble.”
Although Delahoussaye sees a defense that needs to improve, Badon sees a defense that has been instrumental in the Tigers being ranked in the Top 10 in the state.
“When I see Loreauville’s defense on film, I see a team that is 2-0 and ranked No. 7 in the state,” Badon said. “Yeah they’ve allowed some yards and some plays, but they’ve won both games and look at the margin of victory. We give up yards also, but what matters is the end result. Their end result is that they’ve won both of their games and they’ve won both pretty handedly.”
Although the focus is on how much improvement the Tigers defense will make this week, the Crusaders will have their hands full on defense as they look to slow down Loreauville star running back Jermaine Antoine. In two games, Antoine has rushed for 360 yards and 6 touchdowns on 32 carries.
“We have to control the Antoine kid,” Badon said. “We have to limit his yardage and big plays as much as we can. But they have a bunch of players who are very good. Those guys are very talented and are really good in space. The key for us is going to be finding a way to control the line of scrimmage.”
In addition to limiting the number of big plays the Tigers have, Badon believes the Crusaders offensively must protect the football.
“We have to limit our turnovers,” Badon said. “We have to do a better job of taking care of the football. It wasn’t that much of an issue against Ville Platte, but last week we had eight fumbles. If we have eight or seven turnovers this week, Loreauville is going to beat us. I just don’t see any way that we can win with that many turnovers.”
Follow assistant sports editor Eric Narcisse on Twitter @tdanarcisse.