Building a winner, Grand Lake community steps up to aid playoff push

Rodrick Anderson

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Grand Lake Hornets.

Many families in the Cameron Parish community are continuing to rebuild from Hurricanes Laura and Delta, but the Hornets continue to push deeper into the playoffs.

No. 3 Grand Lake (6-1) will look to take the next step in their historic season tonight when it travels to play No. 11 Centerville (7-3) in the class 1A quarterfinals.

Like the Hornets, Centerville is in the midst of its most successful season in program history. Centerville started its program in 2015 with a 13-12 home win over Grand Lake. Both teams will make their first quarterfinal appearance.

“They are a real good team,” said Grand Lake head coach Jeff Wainwright. “Coach (Mark) Miller has been there five or six years. They run a real organized wing-T. They run a 50 defense that they are really good at. When you look at their team they have a couple of outstanding athletes that carry the ball and turn around and play defense. He just has some exceptional athletes.”

Wainwright said the community has rallied around the Hornets and quickly stepped up to help the team financially while rebuilding their own homes.

With their own stadium in need of repairs, the Hornets have been playing their home games at Jennings’ Jerry Simmons Memorial Stadium in Jefferson Davis Parish, about 50 miles away.

“The playoff game cost us quite a bit to rent the stadium and we have lost a lot of revenue,” Wainwright said. “We asked for some game sponsors, and we had 17 people step up as soon as we put it out on our Hornet football page.

“It helped pay for our stadium rental, all the expenses, the security, team meals, the buses and that kind of stuff. We are traveling over an hour for home games. That is tough too. It wears on you. It has been an overwhelming season to see the support we have had. These were local, young businessmen. It was hard to even take some of their money. But they said ‘We want you to have this.’ It was a community effort. With their support, these trips will not cost us anything.”

Stopping the Bulldogs’ run game will be the Hornets’ top priority. Led by nose guard Bryant Williams and linebackers Grant Trahan and Cole Matt, the Hornets have fared well against the run as of late.

“It is not necessarily going to be the 3 yards, it is going to be the half yard,” Wainwright said. “Are we going to drive them back the half yard or gain that half yard?

“Our defense has been improving. Earlier in the year we were out of alignment. Everyone has really learned their job well. It is not taking more than a day to get our game plan installed.

“After the Hamilton (Christian) game (Oct. 30), things started clearing up for them. Hamilton is a real physical team. It has been real hard for people to run inside. They are a power run team, so our defense is going to have to play real good.”Quarterback Connor Guillotte will try to guide Grand Lake past Centerville and into the semifinals.

Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press

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