Last Modified: Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:54 PM
While Barbe will be testing its status among the state elite against perennial power Evangel Christian, a pair of neighbors will do battle in the Bluff when Sam Houston hosts neighbor Westlake.
Barbe (2-0) is ranked second in Class 5A, while Evangel (2-0) is ranked second in Class 2A. The Eagles have won the previous three games in the serious, including a 31-16 win in Shreveport last season.
Bucs head coach Mike Cutrera said this is the kind of game his team looks forward to.
“It is good competition,” Cutrera said. “To play a team like this is very good for us. It is fun to play a team that you know is capable of winning a state championship.”
Evangel is renowned for high-scoring, pass-happy spread offenses. The Eagles have outscored their two opponents — Huntington and Texas High of Texarkana — 115-7.
In last week’s win over Texas High, Evangel quarterback Dakota Duron was 20 of 24 for 317 yards and five touchdowns.
Cutrera said the secret to Evangel’s success lies in the execution, not just the scheme.
“The difficulty comes from the level they run the offense,” he said. “They do a great job and it will be a challenge for our defense. They can run the ball, too.”
Cutrera said the Eagles defense is also formidable.
“They have quite a few kids that play both ways,” he said. “They are very athletic in the secondary. The front is good and they have good linebackers that are fast and physical.”
Cutrera said he likes what he has seen from his team, which beat Washington-Marion 47-14 last week.
“I think we are improving every week, which is what you want to see early in the season,” Cutrera said.
In Moss Bluff, the Broncos (1-1) and Rams (1-0) are both coming off wins in advance of the Battle of the West Fork.
Sam Houston found a way to finish drives last week in a 24-7 win over Leesville.
“We held on to the ball a little better, did not turn it over,” said Broncos head coach Vaughn Eggleston. “We had more consistency on offense. Defensively we had better pursuit to the ball and better gang tackling.”
Running back Jason Stracner provided a boost, rushing for 98 yards.
“He executed our game plan, he carried the ball well and took advantage of some good opportunities,” Eggleston said.
Westlake played its first game last week, beating Abbeville 20-13 behind a balanced offense led by quarterback Tim Hamilton (166 yards passing), running back Latrell Martin (100 yds. rushing) and receiver Tyler Johnson (4 rec., 93 yds.).
“Westlake has tradition, good coaching and talent,” Eggleston said. “Their passing game is a concern. They are talented all over the field, not in one area, which makes it difficult to game plan for.”
First-year Westlake head coach Shawn Demeritt will get his first taste of the rivalry.
“It is big for the community; a lot of our kids’ parents and grandparents have played in it,” he said. We have not won since 2008. It is going to be fun.”
Demeritt said he liked what he saw from his defense in Week 1.
“Our defense was outstanding, had several goal-line stands,” Demeritt. “We had some turnovers that put them on a short field, but they were outstanding. Nick LaTour had a game-changing play before the half, picking off a pass and returning it to the 1.”