An old familiar feeling

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2003

Now the fun really begins.

After getting the non-district schedule out of the way, Louisiana’s three area schools get ready to slam hat-on-hat with old rivals tonight.

Block (2-3) paid the price for padding its position in the power ratings with a pair of games against Class 2A foes &045; a heartbreaking loss to Vidalia and a shutout victory over Ferriday &045; and a hat trick of 3A opponents &045; a collapsing defeat to Jena was followed by an easy win over Caldwell and an overtime loss to Buckeye.

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A preseason top 10 pick (No. 7) by the Louisiana Sportswriter’s Association, the Bears have tumbled out of the rankings, albeit dropping some close ball games to larger schools.

&uot;We scheduled the first five games with the idea to get better and experience things that will make us a better football team,&uot; Bears head coach Chad Harkins said. &uot;We came out on the short end (three) times, but I’d much rather play a better football club and lose, than play an inferior team and beat them by 40 (points).&uot;

Without the services of all-everythings Tyrrence Taylor and Brennan Smith, both lost to graduation, the Trojans (1-4) stumbled out of the starting gate, battling some inner strife all the while.

The Vikings (5-0) culminated the non-district schedule on a thrilling come-from-behind win over Jena, in which the Vikings ran their regular season win streak to 15 on the heels of 28 fourth quarter points in a 50-46 victory over the Giants.

Tallulah at Block

JONESVILLE, La. &045; The two-time district 4-1A Bears open the defense of their crown against a Trojan (0-5) team that is reeling.

Against a Tallulah defense, which surrendered 220 yards to back Jordan LaSuzzo in a 48-20 loss to St. Frederick last Friday, Block’s wing-T offense appears to be tailor-made for huge chunks of yards when things kickoff at 7 p.m. today.

&uot;We’ve been able to move the ball pretty successfully on teams this year,&uot; Harkins said. &uot;I hope our offense keeps on improving and peaks at the right time. But not right now. That’s toward the end of the season.&uot;

The second-year head coach feels even though his Bears took their lumps outside of district play, playing higher-grade opponents is a choice not many other 4-1A teams bothered with.

For instance, losing 28-27 to Buckeye in overtime last Friday was an invaluable lesson Block did not learn until the first round of the playoffs last season when it knocked off storied Haynesville.

&uot;It’s disappointing to be 2-3, and we’ve had our ups and downs,&uot; Harkins said. &uot;If you take away 2 1/2 quarters of the season we would be 5-0. You always say that type of stuff, though, when you’re 2-3.&uot;

Trojan quarterback Greg Smith threw two touchdowns in the loss last week, in which Tallulah actually held leads twice before the Warrior offense cranked it up a notch.

Harkins, unquestionably a throwback with his three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust philosophy, said he wants the younger guys to get some turf time to create depth, but that does not mean Tallulah should look for a walk in the park.

&uot;Anytime we get a good lead, I’m not going to look to slow down much,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re going to learn how to play four quarters at some time this season. We’re going to play and keep playing.

Crowville at Ferriday

FERRIDAY, La. &045; The Trojans are slap dab in the middle of their worst start to a season in 10 years.

What’s worst for head coach James McFarland is the opportunity to put the non-district nightmares behind his club come on homecoming night against Crowville today at 7 p.m.

&uot;I usually don’t like playing district games on homecoming,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;It’s mainly (the kids), but I don’t like it. Hopefully everybody will be focused because they know it’s important in order for us to get what we want accomplished.&uot;

The Bulldogs (2-3), which looked like it had a lot of growing pains to endure in two losses at the Vidalia Jamboree in late August, recovered from a narrow loss to Delhi with a 32-12 defeat of Bernice last Friday.

The Doyle tandem of Elisha, who rushed for a score and 115 yards and Chris, who tossed two touchdowns and 142 yards, set up a balanced attack for Crowville.

&uot;I can’t speak of another coach, but I’m sure they probably feel they have a good shot at beating us,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We respect everybody, but don’t ever count us out.&uot;

Ferriday was embarrassed at home a week ago in a 36-0 trouncing at the hands of Carroll. McFarland said Carroll simply won the war in the trenches by outmanning the Trojans.

The Carroll defense held running back Theotis Cummings, who ran for more than 200 yards the previous week, to just 51 yards on 15 carries.

&uot;We hoped to do a little bit better, but all is not lost,&uot; McFarland said of the early-season schedule. &uot;We’ve been preaching a district championship all season, and we haven’t lost focused of that yet. There have been some times when we’ve been down. It’s concerning, but we’re still focused on our goal. We’re going to go out there and play hard to not be beat.&uot;

Vidalia at Lake Providence

LAKE PROVIDENCE, La. &045; Expect a rude welcome back from the Vikings at 7 p.m. today, as Lake Providence rejoins Vidalia and Ferriday in the same district after several years a part.

The three teams, once of 3-2A fame, are now a part of 4-2A, which also includes Crowville and McCall.

Everyone in these parts know the shootout Vidalia had with Jena last Friday, but the Vikings must guard against a let down after the suspenseful affair.

The Panthers (0-5) conceded a trio of defensive touchdowns in a 42-12 drubbing to Newellton last Friday.

Lake Providence turned the ball over 10 times, while amassing just 71 total yards.