Oak Grove playing in third straight title game, back to defend crown

Rodrick Anderson

While Grand Lake is set to make its first-ever championship game appearance, lined up across from the Hornets will be one of the historically strongest teams in Class 1A.

The No. 1 Oak Grove Tigers are the defending champs and making their third consecutive championship game appearance. The Tigers bring back plenty of experience from last year’s title run.

“We lost some key names from last year’s team, but we have 10 of our 12 seniors that played last year,” Oak Grove head coach Ryan Gregory said. “We have a lot of experience from those games.

“We always think we have a chance, and we have a lot of three-year starters back. These guys are looking to do something special (repeat as champions).”

Oak Grove has won five of 10 state championship games it has played.

The Tigers have four four-year starters in quarterback Duece Clement, tight end/linebacker Dalton Allen, fullback Ron Craten, the MVP of last year’s 1A state championship game, and offensive guard Kade Klink.

Klink and left tackle E.J. Anderson (6-0, 245 pounds) lead the Tigers’ physical run game. Craten, Clement and receiver Bud Holloway have combined for nearly 2,600 yards and 37 touchdowns. The Tigers are averaging 44.5 points a game.

“Those guys (offensive line) have had an outstanding year,” Gregory said. “Our offense goes as they go.

“We have some explosive players, but it is all a moot point without them. I think our strength is how physical we are. Our guys play physical on both sides of the football. They are smart football players. They know their assignments and know what is expected of them every week. We are not quite as big as we were last year, we usually are bigger. It is genetics up here. We have some bigger guys.”

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Allen, who recently decommitted from Southern Mississippi, anchors the Tigers’ defense at linebacker with 55 tackles.

Gregory said the defensive line was his greatest concern going into the season with the loss of two Division I players Kenean Caldwell (Kansas) and Bert Hale (Louisiana Tech). But returning nose guard Bryson Baker (38 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 tackles for loss) along with Reid Milligan (37 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 TFL) and Montarius Freeman (33 tackles, 2 sacks) have picked up the slack on a defense that has allowed 11.3 points a game.

“I just couldn’t be more pleased with those guys,” Gregory said. “The biggest question we had was replacing the front, but they have been so impressive.

“Early in the season, offensively, it took us a little while to start clicking. We played a really tough Sterlington team out of the gate. We just were not clicking on offense, but our defense was lights out. To see the defense play the way they did through those weeks was impressive.”Grand Lake-Oak Grove 1A finals

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local Business News

Few things please Chloun more than delighting diners with authentic Middle Eastern cuisine

Local News

Nicholas expected to weaken to a depression overnight

Local News

Nicholas weakening as it moves toward SW La.

Local News

Update: Today’s weather-related closures and cancellations

Local News

Nicholas expected to stall over SW La. Wednesday

Local News

Nicholas upgraded to category 1 hurricane

Local News

Weather-related Tuesday closures, cancellations

Crime

Nine arrested in what authorities describe as ‘gang shooting’

Local News

Calcasieu leadership: Tropical Storm Nicholas should not be taken lightly

Local News

LC city offices closed, trash service canceled Tuesday

Local News

Temporary closure of FEMA’s LC Recovery Service Center

Local News

COVID testing, vaccine sites closed Tuesday-Wednesday

Local News

Allen schools will be virtual Tuesday

Local News

Nicholas could turn into a hurricane before making landfall

Local News

Clearing debris from drainage laterals massive, costly