Tors start district with clean slate

Sulphur is looking for a fresh start this week while Sam Houston is looking to continue its hot start when the teams meet tonight at Wayne Hooper Memorial Stadium to open District 3-5A play.

<p class="indent">Sulphur is the two-time defending district champion, along with Acadiana and Barbe, but is 1-2 for the first time since 2014. Head coach Jeff Wainwright said he’s not worried yet after a 16-13 loss to Byrd last week that handed Sulphur its first back-toback losses since 2015.

<p class="indent">Sulphur has lost two district games in the last two seasons.

<p class="indent">“One of the things that we have been looking at is that our team is still growing,” Wainwright said. “Of course the score didn’t show it. We felt like when we walked off that football field last week that we had played a good football game.

<p class="indent">“You always worry about a team shutting down on you, but at this point our team is excited about going into district.”

<p class="indent">Sam Houston is riding high after its first 3-0 start since starting the 2014 season 4-0. That run ended at the hands of the Tors, who own a 15-2 against the Broncos. But Sam Houston is not worried about the past.

<p class="indent">“That is something that we don’t look at,” Sam Houston head coach Chad Paulk said. “The team doesn’t look back at that.

<p class="indent">“It is 2018 and our opportunity to go 4-0 and beat Sulphur. The past is the past. We are moving in the right direction now. It is going to take four quarters of solid football. We are going to have to play our best game in order to compete against a team like Sulphur. But we definitely feel that we can compete with them. We feel like it is going to be a close game, a battle.”

<p class="indent">Sam Houston is looking to win the in the trenches. Its defensive line has allowed 83.7 rushing yards per game. Defensive end Jacob Humphery had 27 tackles and three tackles for a loss while tackle Matthew Lockhart has 15 tackles and four tackles for a loss.

<p class="indent">“Our defensively line has come up pretty strong the last few weeks,” Paulk said. “Hopefully we can continue to be tough in the trenches.

<p class="indent">“If you can get four guys into the backfield without sending anybody, you have the advantage. If you can win in the trenches you have the advantage and we feel like our guys can get back there. We want to get some pressure on him (Sulphur quarterback Morgan Clark) to where he doesn’t have time to throw the football.”

<p class="indent">After constant changes on the offensive line with the loss of center Caleb Johnson in Week 1 leading to three different players starting at center, and left guard Sam Willis missing last week’s game, Sulphur is hoping stability on the line this week will lead to a better a ground attack.

<p class="indent">Byrd held Sulphur to 56 yards. It was the fourth time in five seasons that the Tors were held under 100 rushing yards in a game.

<p class="indent">“The offensive line, in general, should be more settled down than last week,” Wainwright said. “We have to run the ball. Last week we were not able to run the ball.

<p class="indent">“If we can get our run and passing games going, that is when we are at our best. I don’t think we are very good when we run the ball all night and I don’t think we are very good when we pass the ball all night. In this system you have to be able to do both. We have to block and break tackles.”

<p class="indent"><span>Elsewhere</span>

<p class="indent">Barbe will hit the road to open district play at Lafayette. The Bucs shared the last two district titles with Acadiana and Sulphur.

<p class="indent">Barbe, 3-0 for the third consecutive season, has the top running back in the district in senior Zene Chretien (56 carries, 517 yds., 5 TDs), who rushed for a season-high 201 yards last week in a 51-14 win over St. Louis.

<p class="indent">Lafayette ended a 12-game losing streak last week with a 51-32 win over Patterson.

<p class="indent">LaGrange is looking for its first win and will host Comeaux. The Gators led Ferriday 14-0 early in last week’s game and led 20-13 in the third quarter. But turnovers proved costly, including one deep in their own territory that set up the Trojans’ go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth””<p><span>Branden Walker, left, and the Sulphur Tors will visit the Sam Houston Broncos in Moss Bluff tonight in the District 3-5A opener for both teams.</span></p>Kirk Meche

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