Crusaders upended in opener, 14-6

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2009


The Tri-Parish Bayou Crusaders opened their season with a tough matchup last Friday — a date with the Baton Rouge Riverboat Bandits, the defending champions of the Southern American Football League.

The Crusader defense kept its team in the game, but the Bandits were even stingier in claiming a 14-6 win in Baton Rouge.

“It’s a tough loss,” said Crusaders coach Roman Batiste. “Champs or not, we played them to their max. We know they weren’t better than we were.”

Baton Rouge (1-0) scored two first half touchdowns to take control of the game.

“We made some mental errors in the secondary,” Batiste said. “The two touchdowns were the result of us being out of position. But by the second half, we adjusted and shut them out.”

But the offense couldn’t get on track. The Crusaders (0-1) wouldn’t score until there were less than two minutes left in the second half, when quarterback Encoh Kenard scored on a 1-yard run.

It was too late to rally, though.

“We couldn’t really get anything going offensively,” said Batiste. “By the time we got on track, we just didn’t have enough time.”

Defensively, linebackers Alvin Bartholomew and Carlos Scott and defensive tackle Delwayne Davis stood out. Bartholomew had eight solo tackles and three assists in only a half of action — he missed the second half of the game with injury. Scott had five solo tackles, two assists and a sack. Davis made three solo tackles and recorded a sack.

“They were making plays all night in the backfield,” said Batiste. “They disrupted their timing.”

Batiste also had praise for running back Jeffrey Johnson, who was able to move the chains for his team in limited action, carrying six times for 43 yards.

“We’re real deep at tailback,” Batiste said. “Each time we gave him the ball, he got five yards or better it seemed like. I was trying to get everyone time, but he really stood out — maybe he should have had more carries.”