Block faces tough challenge on the road in playoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

JONESVILLE — If you look at Block’s record on the field, it stands at a solid 7-3, with wins over 3A school’s Vidalia and Jena.

However, the Bears’ official record is a much less impressive 5-5 thanks to two victories being forfeited because of an ineligible player.

Because of that, the Bears enter the LHSAA Class 1A playoffs with a No. 22 seed and are forced to play on the road against No. 11 seed Southern Lab in the first round.

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“That’s a low seed for us,” Block coach Benny Vault Jr. said. “Had we not lost those two games (by forfeit) we would have been seeded tied for fifth.”

But Vault is just happy that the ineligible player was discovered early enough in the season so it didn’t prevent Block from missing the playoffs entirely.

“It gave us a tougher game in the first round, but I’m glad we caught it early and still got an opportunity to qualify for the top 32,” Vault said. “We’re happy to get in.”

After officially starting the season at 0-5, all non-district games, the Bears roared through District 3-1A play, winning all five of those games by an average score of 40-7.

Block’s reward is to head to Baton Rouge to play a Southern Lab team that is seeded No. 11 with a 7-3 record.

“Southern Lab is big and they are fast,” Vault said. “If I had to chose a team to play in the first round, I wouldn’t have chosen Southern Lab.”

Vault said Southern Lab runs a spread offense and can run and throw with equal success.

“They have got some speedy guys and will try to stretch the field out on you,” Vault said. “They’ve got some linemen that are 6’6, 290. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Vault said he hopes the Bears’ double wing offense gives them an advantage.

“They don’t play against the double wing a lot,” Vault said of the Southern Lab defense. “I don’t know if they ever see it down that way. We have to make sure we hold on to the ball and carry out our ball fakes.”

And Vault said just because Block hasn’t thrown the ball much this season doesn’t mean they can’t.

“We’ll try to throw it a little more than we have been,” Vault said. “I’m just stubborn and don’t like to throw the ball. We can also spread it out a little bit though. I’m sold on what we do, and until someone stops it, I’m reluctant to change. But if they start putting lots of people in the box, we’ll let our quarterback roll out and throw it a little bit.”

While Block would rather play at home in the first round of the playoffs, the road trip they are taking is an exciting one for the players.

The game will be played at Southern University’s A.W Mumford Stadium and will also be televised by Cox Television in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria and Shreveport areas.

“The kids are excited about going to play in a college stadium,” Vault said. “Southern Lab is a historic program in 1A and we are excited to play them.”

And Vault knows a victory over Southern Lab will give the Bears the respect they think they deserve.

“For some reason we don’t get much respect,” Vault said. “They say you’ve got to earn it. If we make a run in the playoffs, maybe people will start mentioning Block when you mention Southern Lab, Oak Grove and South Plaquemine as top schools in 1A. I feel like we’ve got as many great athletes, we’ve just got to go out and execute and do what we do well.”