Heading into the high school football playoffs, the DeRidder wants to get its offense back on track .
A month ago the Dragons were 2-1 and in contention for a top-five seed. But, after back-toback losses, the Dragons enter the playoffs as the No. 16 seed and will host No. 17 Lakeshore tonight in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs.
DeRidder (2-3) scored six points — a pair of 40-plus yard field goals by Jose Mijares — in losses to No. 3 Tioga (6-1) and No. 11 Cecilia (7-1).
Before the recent hard-luck streak the Dragons were averaging 23.3 points a game while three other games were canceled due to COVID-19-related issues.
“We just have to be more consistent across the board,” DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said. “It is never one thing that is going to stick out glaringly on film.
“We are just now starting to get into a routine.”
One hold up for the Dragons has been turnovers with eight in their last three games.
“Turnovers have hurt us the last two weeks, and that is something we have to get better at,” Parmley said.
Lakeshore has been one of the top teams in Class 4A over the last few seasons, reaching the semifinals last season, quarterfinals in 2018 and the state final in 2017.
“They are a 4A powerhouse,” Parmley said. “It is going to be a huge challenge for us. Our community is looking forward to a home game.”
The Titans are a spread team, something the Dragons have faced a few times this season, led by sophomore quarterback Samuel Willie. Lakeshore averaged 47 points over its last three games.
“We have played three spread teams in a row,” Parmley said. “Tioga and Cecilia were pretty dynamic on offense. We have faced some spread teams that are very similar, but (Lakeshore) creates some unique challenges.
“They are a good offensive football team. Their receivers are very skilled. The quarterback does a good job getting the ball to them in space. Their offense does a good job on run and pass blocking, so we are going to have to defend the whole field.”
Parmley said he is looking for balance from the offense. Running back Isaiah Roberson is averaging nearly 100 yards a game while quarterback Kenneth Gooden has 155 yards on the ground and 300 through the air.
“The goal is always balance,” Parmley said. “You want to keep the defense on their toes and respect the passing game and run the football at the time.”
St. Louis Catholic at Parkview Baptist
In Division II, No. 10 St. Louis Catholic looks to continue its recent playoff success.
The Saints (2-5) reached the semifinals last year before losing to eventual state champion St. Thomas More and reached the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2017.
“Now is the time to start playing well. Last year we started playing well a little earlier,” St. Louis head coach Chad Lavergne said. “You have plenty of examples every year. Jennings peaked when they got in the playoffs (last year) and made that long run.”
St. Louis will travel to Baton Rouge to play No. 7 Parkview Baptist (6-2) today The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.
“Parkview is going to be a challenge,” Lavergne said. “They have a couple of weapons on offense, and they are big on the offensive and defensive line. They play disciplined on defense.”
Lavergne said the Saints look to return to their runfirst game plan after back Evan Joubert (772 yards, 13 TDs) was held to a season-low 35 yards last week in a 32-7 loss at Iowa.
“We are just going to have to get back to establishing the run game to set up the pass,” Lavergne said. “We are working to find some consistency. We don’t want to be forced to pass.”