(Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:05 PM
There isn’t much separating the football programs of Kinder and Oberlin.
Both are small-school programs built on power football. On top of that, they’re separated by a mere 12-mile stretch of U.S. 165.
Both had recent success — Kinder made the Class 2A playoffs the last three seasons, including a quarterfinal appearance in 2011, and Oberlin has won four consecutive district titles in Class 1A and got as far as the semifinals in 2010.
It even goes as far as bedding in newer coaches. Oberlin head coach Ronald Simmons is in his second season and Kinder’s Bret Fusilier is in his first year replacing Jeff Wainwright, who left the Yellow Jackets to take the job at Sulphur High.
Let’s just say it — they’re nearly identical.
That’s part of what makes tonight’s rematch from the Allen Parish jamboree interesting.
“The two teams kind of mirror each other,” Fusilier said. “They like to run the football (and) we like to run the football. I’m expecting it’ll be a physical game, much like the jamboree.”
However, Oberlin (1-0) offered little resistance in that matchup. Kinder (1-0) beat the Tigers 19-0 with Jordan Vickers putting the bow on the dress rehearsal with a 52-yard touchdown run.
Vickers carried his jamboree form into last week’s 34-6 win over Elton, running for 131 of Kinder’s 353 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“(Vickers) is doing a real good job running this offense from his position,” Fusilier said. “The offensive line did a good job last week of coming off the ball and staying with their blocks. He was able to break a couple good runs for us.”
However, Vickers won’t be the only talented back on the field. Oberlin’s Austin Darbonne, a third-year starter, led the Tigers with 173 yards on 10 carries in last week’s 22-12 win over Iota while showing a game-breaking ability with two touchdown runs longer than 50 yards.
“He runs really, really hard,” Simmons said. “He knows the offense. But on the other hand, when he makes those really long runs a lot of the key blocks are the other running backs.
“Last week, Tanner Hebert did an excellent job blocking. Both key runs (Darbonne) had (Hebert) made the key block. They run hard and blocking is a big part of our offense for our running backs.”
Darbonne may be the feature back, but Fusilier said he is far from Oberlin’s sole threat.
“He (Darbonne) is quick, but he’s also a physical back,” he said. “He’s hard to bring down. One thing we have to be careful of is last week it was Darbonne but in that offense it could be any one of those backs any week. They do a good job of spreading the ball around.”
As does Kinder. On top of Vickers’ performance, Welles Cooley added 67 yards and quarterback Austin Pickle ran for another two scores.
Yet another parallel between local rivals. It’s a rivalry where both towns circle the date on their calenders.
“It’s a big game for our community,” Simmons said. “We’re looking forward to it and we’re excited.”
Not surprisingly, Fusilier echoes that statement.
“All the kids know each other,” he said. “So, it’s something a little extra for this game for the kids. It’s going to be an exciting ballgame.”
It’s almost like they meant it that way.