If you would have looked at the Basile High win/loss record after the first four games of the 2017 campaign, you might have said it was going to be a long season for the Bearcats as they stood 1-3 overall.
However, since that point, Basile has been on a roll, winning their last three games by a combined score of 100-47.
“We have been improving every week,” stated Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand. “Our philosophy has and will always be one week at a time. After every game we take a long hard look at ourselves and try to fix those mistakes that need to be fixed. One thing is for sure we have played some pretty good teams this year.”
There is no doubt that the Bearcats have had their hands full in terms of competition. Four of Basile’s seven opponents (Iota, Sacred Heart, St. Ed’s and Elton) have two loses or less and all four of those teams are ranked in the top 12 or high in their respective playoff rankings.
This past Friday the Bearcats took down the No. 7 ranked Elton Indians 28-26 in the “Battle of the Bayou. In that game, Basile rolled up a total of 401 yards, with the majority of those yards coming on the ground.
Still, the Bearcats have been able to produce an effective passing game, especially when needed. Bertrand knows that a balanced attack is vital to the continued success of his team.
“Our ability to pass the ball has given us a balanced offensive attack,” said Bertrand. “What we have been able to do the last few weeks is throw the ball in situations when the other teams are not expecting it, rather than when we have to. Our quarterback, Dawson Ashford, has really matured this year. He has also shown an ability to escape and use his legs when he has to.”
Another important part of the Bearcat win streak has been the improved play of the defensive unit. In the first four games, Basile gave up an average of 31 points per game. That average has dissipated to 16 points per game over the last three contests. Last week against a very talented Elton ball club, the Bearcats held the Indians to only 45 yards of rushing.
“Against Elton, we knew that we could not stop both their running game and their passing game,” commented Bertrand. “So, we focused on trying to force them to be one dimensional. They did hit us on some big pass plays, but for the most part our defensive unit did a tremendous job against them.”
This week, Basile will face another tough test, as they host the Oberlin Tigers tomorrow night. The Tigers come into the game with an overall record of 5-2 and a district record of 3-1. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
With Basile sporting an identical district record, and with both teams falling to league leading St. Ed’s, the winner of this game will be able to stay in the hunt for at least a share of the district title. On top of that, a Bearcat victory will most definitely move them up from their No. 8 position in the playoff power ratings.
“Our players know all of the implications that this game brings,” said Bertrand. “But, to us, every week is just as important as every other week,”
“They (Oberlin) have a really good football team,” he continued. “They are huge up front and their quarterback and running back are game changers. Our challenge this week is not to be the one’s getting blown off of the ball. Defensively, we will mix some things up to make sure that does not happen. Offensively, we need to be able to continue to have a balanced attack.”