Block, Vidalia hit road for second-round playoff contests tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

JONESVILLE, La. &045; Louisiana prep football aficionados find out just how mature and accustomed No. 8 Block is to this postseason experience tonight.

The Bears, who escaped a near-death experience at home in a 14-6 bi-district playoff win over St. Mary’s last Friday, head to south Louisiana to take on Ascension Catholic in Donaldsonville at Floyd Boutte Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m. today.

A year ago, a week after a first round playoff victory over Haynesville, Block laid a second half egg against Kentwood in a 34-6 loss to be dismissed from the Class 1A playoffs.

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For Chad Harkins, that seems like eons ago.

&uot;Any time you go on the road in the playoffs it’s a challenge,&uot; said Harkins, in his second year as Block’s head coach. &uot;But in turn, I feel like we’re more seasoned. I feel like the guys want to go over there and come back with a win.&uot;

The 24th-seeded Bulldogs withstood a closing-seconds field goal attempt from Elton to upset the No. 9 Indians 16-14 last Friday.

ACHS head coach Kirk Delatte, whose team has pulled off five of its seven wins in the last minutes, said crunch time is nothing new with this bunch.

&uot;That’s something we’ve practiced since day one,&uot; Delatte said. &uot;We’ve put in plays specifically for pressure situations. Some teams don’t necessarily do that.&uot;

The Bulldogs are led by running back Cortland Dupard (6-0, 210), who has amassed 1,430 yards on 192 carries this season with 17 touchdowns, including both scores last week.

Delatte called Dupard his &uot;workhorse,&uot; and Harkins sees firsthand the mystery into stopping the bruising, physical back.

&uot;I haven’t seen a lot of teams tackle (Dupard) at first contact,&uot; he said. &uot;That’ll be big with us.&uot;

The Bears must also make up for mental mistakes, in particularly penalties.

Officials tossed 14 yellow hankies on the field against Block for 110 yards last Friday, while St. Mary’s was penalized six times for 40 yards.

Harkins, never the conspiracy theorist, said the game could have been much more one-sided if it had not been for the laundry.

&uot;We scored on the first and third possessions, but after that we’d start first and 20 with penalties,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m not complaining, but whether it was the officials or our fault, I feel like we could have scored one or two more touchdowns without the penalties.&uot;

In addition to being undersized, ACHS must also battle uphill with a sophomore under center.

Quarterback Warren Couch has played admirably this season since replacing starter B.J. Savoie early in the year, but Delatte has reason to worry.

&uot;(Couch) tends to make some sophomore mistakes,&uot; he said. &uot;But he’s matured each week as far his thought process and playmaking ability.&uot;

Block wing back Demetrius Duncan, who came into the season averaging more than 14 yards per carry, was held to under 100 yards last week (15-87), although he did score both of the Bears’ TDs.

Duncan is just one of many skill players, Delatte has been thoroughly impressed with in watching Block on film.

&uot;They execute so well in all factors of the game,&uot; he said. &uot;They get people where they need to be and let (Duncan) do the work.

&uot;On defense, they get 11 guys flying to the ball. It’s tough to reckon with a defense like that. A lot of their skill guys go both ways.&uot;

Vidalia at Redeemer-Seton

VIDALIA, La. &045; Coming off a 50-7 romp over Livonia the No. 3 Vikings head to New Orleans to face 19th-seeded Redeemer-Seton in the regional round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

The Rams stormed out to a 28-0 lead over No. 14 Oakdale last Friday, and went on to the 42-18 victory.

Vidalia quarterback Tony Hawkins, who threw for 266 yards on 13 of 17 passing and five touchdowns, hopes the Vikings will not have a second round let down like last year’s loss to Riverside Academy.

&uot;We’ve got to come out a more focused team,&uot; he said. &uot;It doesn’t get any easier from here on out … for us seniors we know this is our last shot.&uot;

Things should not be altogether unfamiliar for Vidalia, who faces a Ram offense that runs a similar Multiple-I offensive formation that Livonia ran last week.

Redeemer quarterback George Lewis accounted for all his team’s scores by throwing four and running for two more.

Lewis hooked up with both receivers Kenneth Kensey and Jahan Jones twice on touchdown passes in the first half.

&uot;This year we’re playing more like a team,&uot; said Vidalia fullback Chris Williams. &uot;It’s one big family. We don’t want to be second best. Everything we do it’s 110 percent.&uot;