Last Modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:25 AM
The last two years Basile has had high playoff expectations derailed by one of Class 1A’s powers, Kentwood.
Even with the memories of those losses with them and the resignation of their head coach to focus on his administrative duties, the Bearcats are looking to get over the hump and join the state’s elite teams this season.
They have good reason to be optimistic. The Bearcats return 16 starters — eight on both offense and defense — from a 12-1 team that made the quarterfinals last season, including returning all-state kick returner Kendrick Ceaser (5-8, 160) and quarterback Mark Ivory (5-8, 175).
First-year head coach Kevin Bertrand, brother of former head coach Tony Bertrand, said he believes his team will take the heartbreak of the past two seasons and use it toward taking the next step.
“Playing Kentwood the last two years, that’s pretty tough for anybody,” he said. “Especially with a young team. Our kids saw last year that they could play with them. It’s a matter of mentally preparing ourselves to play at that level.
“We’ve seen the level we can get to. We think we can get over that hump.”
Basile’s plans begin with Ceaser. He ran for 1,875 yards and 20 touchdowns in his junior season.
It didn’t stop there. He averaged 9.4 yards-per carry, had 718 receiving yards and six touchdowns and two games with more than 500 all-purpose yards.
“Kendrick knows he’s going to be the focal point of our offense,” Bertrand said. “He’s ready to accept that challenge and take more touches to be able to lead us.”
Ceaser has an experienced hand at quarterback in Ivory, a senior.
“I just want him to continue growing as a quarterback and be a leader on the team,” Bertrand said. “He makes very good decisions with when and where he throws the ball. I’m expecting him to help lead our offense.”
Bertrand sees the linebackers of his 4-2-5 scheme, Roger Spell (5-8, 170) and Blaise Hebert (6-0, 190), and defensive lineman Ty Walker (6-0, 190) as keys to his team’s defensive success.
“Those guys are going to be a big part of being able to stop people,” he said of Spell and Hebert. “They do such a good job of stopping the run and getting into pass coverage.”
Sept. 5 — at Sacred Heart 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 — vs. Ville Platte 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 — at St. Edmund 7 p.m.
*Sept. 26 — vs. Merryville 7 p.m.
*Oct. 3 — at Hamilton Christian 7 p.m.
*Oct. 10 — vs. South Cameron 7 p.m.
*Oct. 17 — at Grand Lake 7 p.m.
*Oct. 24 — at East Beauregard 7 p.m.
*Oct. 31 — vs. Elton 7 p.m.
*Nov. 7 — vs. Oberlin 7 p.m.