Clipping Eagle wings?
For the fourth time in the last seven years, and the fifth time since 2005, the Sacred Heart Trojans will take on the Ouachita Christian Eagles for the right to move on in the LHSAA playoffs.
The first round post-season match-up will be on the road in Monroe Friday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
In all of the previous meetings between the two clubs, it has been Ouachita Christian that has dominated the series. The Eagles have defeated the Trojans by an average margin of 24.5 points.
The last time the two schools met on the gridiron was in 2017 when Ouachita Christian defeated Sacred Heart 42-23.
The Trojans come into the contest as the No. 12 seed in Division IV and hold an overall record of 5-5. The Eagles enter as the No. 5 overall seed and finished the regular season with a record of 9-1.
Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper knows that it will be a tough task for his team to go into Eagle territory and come away with a win.
“Ouachita Christian has had and continues to have an outstanding program,” stated Harper. “Once again they have a really good football team. Two years ago when we played them they were a sophomore heavy club. Now those guys are seniors and it shows. They were a pre-season pick to win it all. It will definitely be an uphill battle for us, but I know we will go in there and give every effort to come home with a win.”
Sacred Heart’s season has been a roller coaster ride. After falling to Ville Platte and Oberlin in their first two games of the season, the Trojans responded with a three game win streak, which included victories over playoff teams Basile and Rosepine.
Sacred Heart then split their first two games in district with a loss to Catholic of Pointe Coupee and a win over Westminster. Losses to St. Ed’s and Opelousas Catholic was followed by a resounding victory over North Central.
Coming into this game, the Trojans are averaging 16.6 points per game on offense. Defensively, Sacred Heart surrenders an average of 18.3 points per game.
On the flip side, Ouachita Christian, the District 2-1A champion, has only lost to Sterlington, the defending Class 3A state runner-up. Seven of the nine opponents the Eagles have defeated are in the playoffs for 2019.
Ouachita Christian puts up points on a regular basis. The Eagles average 43.2 points per game and have scored 40 points or more in all but one game this year.
“Offensively, they are big and physical,” said Harper. “They want to run the ball first, but they can throw it around just as efficiently. There quarterback is really good. He is about 6’3” and can run it if necessary. We are going to have to find ways to try and slow them down.”
Ouachita Christian averages 211 yards per game on the ground and have three players with 400 or more yards gained on the season. The leading rusher is Dillon Dougan who has collected 692 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Hunter Herring has thrown for 1,159 yards on 73 pass attempts.
Defensively, Ouachita Christian has given up points at times, allowing two touchdowns or more in five of there games this season. However, the Eagles have also pitched three shutouts and have held the other five opponents to six points or less.
“They are very aggressive on the defensive side of the ball,” commented Harper. “We have been working hard all week on not only perfecting the things that we do well, but also adding some wrinkles into the offense to try and keep them off balance.”
Sacred Heart will rely on their ground game again this week to try and keep the ball away from the vaunted Eagle offense. The biggest key for the Trojans will be depth. The last couple of weeks, Sacred Heart has dressed less than 25 players.
“We are just going to have to put on our big boy pants and get after them.”