Old rivals: DeRidder, Leesville in another edition of Hooper Trophy

Published 8:14 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Hooper Trophy series doesn’t need any added hype, but this year’s edition features both teams entering in good form.

DeRidder (4-2, 0-0 District 3-4A) and host Leesville (4-2, 1-0) enter on two-game winning streaks. DeRidder is coming off a 34-0 nondistrict win over Buckeye, while Leesville opened district play with a 42-6 win over Bolton.

The Dragons have allowed seven points over the past two weeks. Leesville has scored 123 over the past three weeks.

“We’ve been trying to put everything together and the past few weeks we have played really good on the defensive side of the ball,” DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said. “Offensively, we have taken a few steps to be more balanced. The running game has done a great job of setting things up for us.”

Ronnie Crosby has run for 431 yards and scored three touchdowns over the past two weeks to lead the DeRidder offense.

“He’s a complete back,” Parmley said of Crosby. “He has good speed, does a good job of making people miss in the hole. The offensive line has done a great job of opening up some holes for him. As a whole, the offense has progressed nicely throughout the season.”

Parmley said he’s leary of the Wamus Cats offense, led by running back Caleb Gallashaw (757 yds., 7 TDs)

“They are very talented at the skill positions,” he said. “They are well coached. The running back does a great job of creating explosive plays. In the passing game, they have a couple of vertical threats that can take it to the house at any point. It is going to be a big challenge for us to keep them bottled up.”

Leesville head coach Robert Causey said the Wampus Cats have to focus on fundamentals.

“We have to control the line of scrimmage, protect the football,” he said. “The kids have been playing with great effort; it has taken four quarters each game. We don’t have a perfect team. We have to play almost perfect to give ourselves a chance to compete with opposing teams on our schedule. It’s not getting easier. Until we are through playing, every week is a playoff-type atmosphere, against a team that is going to be in the playoffs. Our focus is trying to get better at what we do.”

Causey said the Dragons make no secret of what they want to do but are difficult to stop.

“DeRidder, whenever you play a Parmley team, they are going to be physical, aggressive on defense and they are going to punch you in the mouth,” Causey said. “He does a good job there and this team is indicative of what he is about. They are going to get after us and it is going to be a four-quarter ballgame. Either team could come out ahead. It might come down to whoever has the ball last.”