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Pickering running back Daveon Banks. (Special to the American Press)

Pickering running back Daveon Banks. (Special to the American Press)

Banks, Red Devils take on Lions in battle of unbeatens

Last Modified: Thursday, October 03, 2013 10:34 PM

By Rhett Manuel / American Press

It’s been a while since Pickering has had much to brag about.

The last time the school saw the playoffs in Class 2A was in 2006, when it lost as a No. 12 seed in the opening round.

Senior running back Daveon Banks and first-year head coach Johnny Cryer are giving the Pickering faithful something to talk about, rolling to a 4-0 start heading into the meat of its schedule.

The Red Devils will learn about themselves tonight when they host Vinton in a battle of unbeatens.

Banks has been the workhorse for the Red Devils, accumulating 86 carries for 780 yards and 11 touchdowns — a 9.1 average per carry. Those numbers have been good enough to make him the No. 6 rusher in the state.

“(Daveon) is not a real big back, (but) he’s very strong and works hard in the weight room,” Cryer said. “I had the feeling when I came here that he would be our go-to guy, and we’ve worked extremely hard on trying to get him the football as many ways as we can. He’s just a great athlete.”

Cryer, who had spent his previous 14 years heading Rosepine’s program, has brought an attitude change to the Red Devils’ program. They debuted in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association prep polls this week as the No. 9-ranked team in Class 2A.

“It’s like he’s told us since he first got here, it all starts with discipline,” Banks said of Cryer. “I feel like we’ve gained a lot of discipline and with discipline comes a lot of responsibility. Everybody is willing to fight to keep that responsibility and keep that respect (and) keep going.”

However, the change has been helped by the 170-pound senior back. A player who, Cryer said, isn’t afraid to go the extra mile.

“He’s a big-time competitor,” he said. “He runs like a 205-pound running back and he’s only 170 pounds. He’s very durable and strong.

“The yards after contact is tremendous for him. He runs hard (and) he’s hard to bring down. He’s got 4.5-speed in the 40 (-yard dash) and he carries his pad level extremely well. … After practice, he runs hills and does extra things that other kids don’t do. He’s told us several times that he wants to be in the playoffs his senior year. They’ve never been to the playoffs and he wants to change that. He’s put the team on his back.”

Banks has his own colorful way of describing his running style.

“Whenever I grab the ball, it feels like I’m on top of the world,” he said. “It feels like it’s supposed to be in my hand. It feels like if anybody tries to take it from me they’re going to get demolished, ran over no matter what my size is. I’ve got to lower my shoulder and get as many yards as I can and led my team to a victory, taking it one week at a time.”

His success has been a vital part in revitalizing what had been a struggling program.

“It feels good to know that we are bringing the program back to where it’s supposed to be,” Banks said. “It really means a lot to know that our names will hold up in school history.”

With it all on the line, Pickering is willing to bet on Banks leading it back to the postseason.

Posted By: TOMMY GUILLORY On: 10/7/2013

Title: JOKE!!!

PRESS,,,,YOUR A JOKE!! Give our town and kids credit they deserve! Also, these are bad reviews that hurt you, so i would revamp your sports editing!! GO DALEN ('NUMBER 15') WITH THE VINTON LIONS!!

Posted By: JR On: 10/4/2013

Title: O RLY?

Posted By: Sports department On: 10/4/2013

Title: We have noticed.

Good people of Vinton. We at the press have noticed your record, that's why we did a feature on your school, including art, after the second week of the season. We will be at tonight's game with both a writer and photographer. Remember, we have 29 schools we cover and have so far done features on over half. You can still read that story on line if you missed it the first time.

Posted By: Thomas S. On: 10/4/2013

Title: Vinton story

I'm not from Vinton or Pickering and honestly couldn't care who wins. But I'm almost positive that the American Press published a story on Vinton like 2 or 3 weeks ago and this is the first I've heard of Pickering all year.

Posted By: Johnny Foitball On: 10/4/2013

Title: Unbiased Reporting

Ever heard of it? If Vinton does it's job they'll make
The next headline.

Posted By: Jeannie Allen Brockj On: 10/4/2013

Title: What about Vinton?!

Saw the headlines and was expecting some discussion of how good Vinton is playing now. Wow, was I disappointed. Shame on LC American Press. Why do you refuse to give equal coverage, especially to a local team.

Posted By: Kayla Foreman On: 10/4/2013

Title: Pickering / Vinton game

Why is the press not interviewing the Vinton Lions ? Well I thought Vinton was in Calcasieu Parish , not Pickering.we are from Vinton have nephew playing and several cousins I look forward to right ups on the games but this year haven't seen to many wether it's on a win or lose we are in Washington. Pa. Working . You are how I see what is going on at home , please do your jobs a dedicated Lions fan and a proud Calcasieu Parish resident

Posted By: Kayla Foreman On: 10/4/2013

Title: Vinton Lions

I thought The Lake Charles suppose to be a local paper ? I know Vinton is in Calcasieu Parish so where is the interview of the Vinton Lions ? Why do you not respect our team ? How can you as a paper call your fair ? Our ball paper should get preys from you they or 4 / 0 too. I feel it very unprofessional of you to not respect the teams from our Parish shame on all of you.

Posted By: Debbie Turpin Harvey On: 10/4/2013

Title: One Sided

There are two teams playing this evening. How about a little mention about the fact that the LIONS are unbeaten.

Posted By: Rhonda Guidry On: 10/4/2013

Title: WOW!!

Are you kidding me???!!!! Vinton is how many miles from Lake Charles AND this is the article for tonight's game??? I do not understand this and it saddens me. Week after week I have watched a "small" but oh so feisty team those VINTON LIONS come out and give it all they've got on the field and this is how "our" paper shows up for them?? You guys have never respected us but once, just once, you could give up this attitude and if nothing else be fair. Our kids deserve no less. One of these days you will eat that crow that you are so willing to dish out at the expense of our kids and all I've got left to say is shame on the Good Old Home town paper the American Press...

Posted By: Lisa Aldrich-Guidry On: 10/4/2013

Title: Wow...unbelievable!

Biased much?!? There are TWO teams playing tonight guys. It's been no secret how the American Press feels about Vinton high School atheltics (at least how it has been portrayed though the articles writte, or lack there of). I can assure you I will not purchase your paper, and my grandmother is cancelling her subscription. I am hoping many others will follow suit. I am not one to be negative or not support a business, but ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Our athletes and student body/town in general deserves the recognition these other towns receive. Our kids work hard! Here's what I know - WE (our Vinton hometown community) LOVE OUR KIDS!! With that being said, whether they win or lose according to that scoreboard or the article you wil or won't write tomorrow, they are WINNERS for fighting so hard to get to where they are now. Thank you, and GO MIGHTY LIONS!!!! Lisa Aldrich Guidry

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