Defense wins championships: Grand Lake learns fast after Oberlin loss

Rodrick Anderson

Oct. 22 was a wake-up call for Grand Lake’s defense.

The Hornets gave up a season-high 272 rushing yards to Oberlin and lost 28-14. But the Hornets haven’t lost since, and find themselves a win away from a state championship.

“With not having spring and not having a true fall camp, I think it took a little bit,” Grand Lake head coach Jeff Wainwright said. “When we looked at the Oberlin loss, you have to play a good team and get exposed to figure out how you are going to fix it.

“Oberlin identified some of our problems that we were getting away with earlier in the year, and the coaches and players did a good job of humbly accepting that, and things started getting better.”

The Hornets haven’t allowed more than 200 yards rushing since the Oberlin game and have held opponents to fewer than eight points in four consecutive games.

Pete Picou, who was Perry Laland’s defensive coordinator in the 1990s at South Cameron, has helped mold the Hornets defense over the last two seasons as a volunteer coach, Wainwright said.

“Coach Picou has done a really good job,” Wainwright said. “He is a close family friend.

“When I came to Grand Lake, he told me he would come help me. He is fighting with those boys every day. I hope I can do that when I am his age. His love of the game and love of defense has really spurred these boys and how they play. Everything just takes off from there.”

The Hornets’ strength is the five-man front in nose guard Bryant Williams, tackles Cole Castille and Coleman McCready and ends Kobe Taylor and Bryson Aguillard, plus linebackers Grant Trahan and Cole Matt.

“I think when you look at the whole box — the inside group — they are really tough from defensive ends to the linebackers,” Wainwright said “It is tough to run the ball right at them. What happens is the ball ends up bouncing, the speed ends up catching up to the opponent, and we are able to chase it down. The big three and the linebackers take care of all the inside gaps and eat them up.”

In the secondary is cornerbacks Levi Murrell and Kyler Little and safeties Kent Zaunbrecher and Nathaniel Murrell.

“Their ball skills are really good,” Wainwright said. “A lot of times when people throw the ball up, we catch it, or we are knocking it down. It just makes it hard for people to throw routes at them.”Grand Lake has upped its game in the playoffs. The Hornets have not allowed a playoff opponent to reach double-digits, allowing 6.7 points per game after surrendering an average of 19.2 in the regular season.

Rick Hickman / American Press

SportsPlus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Constitution plan resurrected

high-school Sports

New concession stand added to plans for football stadium

life

Community rallies to support 3-year-old with brain tumor

Business

Jeff Davis School Board agrees to ITEP for solar facility project

Local News

Police Jury considers increases to grass ordinance fees

Local News

Qualifying ends, ballots set for November election

Local News

American Press winner of eight Louisiana Press Association awards

Local News

Allen Parish flood maps available for review

Local News

Ten Commandments won’t go in Louisiana classrooms until at least November as lawsuit plays out

Local News

Airlines, businesses hit by global technology disruption

McNeese Sports

Long road to McNeese

Business

Appeals court sends Commonwealth LNG decision back to FERC

Crime

Trooper arrested following off-duty DWI crash

Crime

Police: Attempted rapist broke into woman’s apartment through bathroom window

Local News

Daily showers, thunderstorms expected over next week

Crime

BREAKING: Police investigating early morning homicide

Local News

Council defers vote on potential Ernest and W. Claude development

life

Somber moment in community as Sacred Heart High School Gym demolished

Local News

Comedian Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and telephone monologues, dies at 94

Local News

Trump has given no official info about his medical care for days since an assassination attempt

Local News

Lake Charles Police Department to host free National Night Out community event

life

Cajun Music and Food Festival introduces inaugural accordion contest

Crime

7/18: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

BREAKING: Smoke from Calcasieu Refinery blamed on flare