Hwy. 13 showdown
In terms of rivalries, Mamou and Pine Prairie have only been at it for as long as the Panthers have fielded a football team. Despite that, the two schools have brought that rivalry to high, albeit friendly, level over the past 10 years.
Thursday night the rivalry renews itself in a most important way, as both clubs need a win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Demon field.
“Pine Prairie always comes ready to play when we face them,” said Mamou head coach Brian Brumfield. “It is a great game to be a part of. We love playing them every year because it brings out the best in both teams. This is a big game for us if we hope to have a chance at the playoffs. Our players are anxious to get a win over them because we have beaten them in a while.”
“No doubt, Mamou will be fired up Thursday night,” stated Pine Prairie head coach Yves Prince. “Every time we meet on the field it is a toss-up as to who will come out on top. This game has become a tradition over the past several years and both teams will want to play as hard as possible. We need this win to stay in the top 32 and get a playoff spot. We are trying to send a message that we belong in the post-season.”
The Mamou Demons come into the game with an overall record of 1-4 and a district record of 1-1. The Demons are hoping that a win tomorrow night will erase the disaster that occurred in their 54-12 loss to Iota last week. In that game, Mamou turned the ball over six times in the first quarter and fell behind 40-0 in the first half.
“To say that the turnovers killed us is an understatement,” commented Brumfield. “After the first quarter, it was like we lost life inside of us. It was like we could never regroup. They definitely came out more excited than us. It is hard to put a finger on why, because we had such a great week of practice. We cannot have that kind of start this week.”
The Pine Prairie Panthers are 2-3 on the year and 1-1 in district play. The Panthers picked up a huge 29-8 win over Port Barre this past week. In that game, Pine Prairie moved some personnel around and put their best athletes at the running back position, as Darrien Hayes and JJ Sims shared the rushing duties.
“By putting Darrien and JJ together as running backs, it gives us a one-two punch that is hard to defense,” stated Prince. “If our offensive linemen can give either one of them a chance to reach the next level, they both have the speed to take it the distance. We moved BJ (Ardoin) back to quarterback and he is getting better each week. We just have to get off to a better start than we did last week.”
The two coaches know the difficulty they will face in game planning this week, as both have the utmost respect for their counterparts in the contest tomorrow night.
“Pine Prairie is going to want to play smash mouth football,” commented Brumfield. “They are very physical up front and have some good size. For us to have a chance, we will have to find a way to stop their run game. Coach Prince always has his team well prepared and ready to play. Our key is to play as mistake free as possible and not give their offense a chance to possess the ball.”
“Mamou has a number of athletes that can hurt you at any point in the game,” said Prince. “It will be important that we play assignment football and not let their players run free. Their coaching staff has really brought them a long way this season. They are playing with a lot more confidence. We need to control the ball and keep it away from them as much as possible.”
One thing is for sure, in a rivalry game like this one the records can be tossed out. This game will be just as much about emotion as it will be play on the field.