Wildcats find offense, Central Lafourche next

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013


LAPLACE — The mood hasn’t changed at East St. John following its exciting 35-34 victory at South Lafourche, the Wildcats’ first win of the season.
Though East St. John headed into last week’s contest with a record of 0-3 and not 3-0, the team’s attitude reflected the kind of blue-collar professionalism that he wants to see as coach. The same was true this week following a win.
But perceptions may be changing outside the Wildcats’ camp after Friday night’s shootout, a contest that saw an ESJ squad that mustered just 14 points in three games — albeit against very strong competition — put up 35 points behind a devastating rushing attack led by Nigel Anderson and Xavier Lewis.
“Well, we ran the ball the previous week as well,” said Banko, speaking of his team’s loss at John Curtis in Week 3. “We rushed for over 200 yards there. But it’s exciting. We feel like we’ve got some playmakers and it’s starting to show up on the scoreboard.”
The biggest change Friday was a quarterback rotation between Anderson and Lewis. In three previous games, Anderson played tailback and Lewis quarterback. Anderson’s first night as a passer went well — he connected with Lewis for the game-winning touchdown with four seconds left while tallying 184 total yards and three total touchdowns. Lewis tallied 182 yards and two scores.
ESJ (1-3) also had a punt return called back by penalty and two prospective long touchdown runs just missed due to a foot out of bounds.
“(Nigel) can throw the ball, obviously,” said Banko. “He’s a threat to score every time he has the ball. So the more guys like that you can get out on the field and threaten a defense in different ways with, the better off you’re gonna be.”
Central Lafourche (3-1) went 3-6 overall last season but have already equaled that win total under first year coach Keith Menard. It hosted and defeated H.L. Bourgeois last week, 19-14, and holds a 17-15 win over Franklin and a 48-14 win over Clark this season. It’s lone loss came by a lopsided margin to Mandeville, 56-0.
Tailback Thomas Wesley rushed for 103 yards on 20 carries in Central Lafourche’s win last week. Quarterback Brader Dufrene completed 10 of 13 pass attempts and tossed two scores
The Trojans led 16-0 in the fourth quarter of that game but had to hold off a late H.L. Bourgeois charge.
“I don’t know what they were last year, but I know they’re 3-1 now,” said Banko. “They average 260 up front. Their quarterback’s a good senior and their running backs are speedy guys. They’re gonna spread you out, run the ball and set up play action off of that. So that’s what we’ve got to stop.”
Banko said that for the Wildcats to limit a Trojans offense averaging 26 points per game, it’ll begin with stopping the running game.
“We’ve got to make them throw the ball,” said Banko. “They want to establish the run first and foremost. Then we’ve got to create two turnovers. I think if we can do those things defensively, we’ll be in very good position.”