Basile believes in ball control, will play keep-away from Logansport

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 26, 2021

The Basile Bearcats have overcome a few challenges this football season.

They had no preseason scrimmage or jamboree game and had to forfeit their Week 1 game to Lake Arthur due to COVID-19 issues.

Then Basile had to engineer a winning drive in the closing seconds in Week 4 to beat Hamilton Christian 27-26 for its first win.

There was a 13-6 setback to Grand Lake the following week, but since then Basile has reeled off seven consecutive wins to return to the Class 1A quarterfinals for the eighth time in 10 seasons.

“It was really a weird time and weird way to start the season,” Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand said. “Once we got into real football mode and settled in, I think everything picked up from there.”

The next challenge is finding a way to stop No. 1 Logansport (7-4), which also has a seven-game win streak. No. 9 Basile hosts the Tigers at 7 p.m. today, looking for its first quarterfinals win since 1996.

“You think back eight weeks, no one would have thought we would still be here,” Bertrand said. “It is a credit to (the players). They never got their heads down. They believed in themselves. Then here we are. We know it is a challenge this week. That is one thing about this team is that they never shied away from a challenge.”

Bertrand said the Bearcats (8-4) turnaround can’t be traced to one thing.

“I think it is all three phases,” he said. “We have got better as the season went on. We had different guys step up in different games. It has been a team effort. The credit goes to the players.”

Logansport boasts a rich playoff history, like the Bearcats, with seven consecutive quarterfinal appearances and won the 1A state title in 2016.

Logansport is led by quarterback Kameron Boykins, who has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. But the Tigers can move the ball on the ground as well. Boykins, Ja’caleb Robinson and Jace Thompson have combined for more than 1,200 yards, making the Bearcats’ defensive plan difficult.

“You have to try to limit them because nobody has stopped them,” Bertrand said. “You have to get in the right position to make the plays, and when you get that opportunity, you have to make that play. We have to limit the big plays. We can’t just give up the long pass or the long run. We are going to have to force them to take a lot of time off the clock if they are going to score.”

Basile has averaged 39.7 points over its last seven games, relying on the split-back veer and backs Ethan Bazinet, Horace Edwards and Ashton Deaville, who have combined for 2,120 yards and 31 touchdowns. Bertrand said he wants long, sustained drives.

“I think that, offensively, we have to be able to consistently move the ball,” he said. “It is just one of those things where we can’t have three-and-outs.

“(The Tigers) start slow, but they score in bunches, so we have to make sure when we have the ball we are running the ball effectively and being able to put points on the board.”