Rivalry renewed as Sacred Heart hosts St. Ed’s tomorrow
VILLE PLATTE -- One of the most fiercest rivalries returns to the gridiron tomorrow night as the Sacred Heart Trojans will play host to the St. Edmund Blue Jays at Soileau-Landry Field. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
“This is a big rivalry for both teams, and, at times, it can get testy,” stated Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper. “I have a feeling this is going to be a old fashioned knock down, drag out battle to the end. We went there last year and came away with a win. I know that they are wanting to come here for some revenge.”
Sacred Heart is coming off of a knock out, drag out win of their own over the Ville Platte Bulldogs in Tee Cotton XV this past Friday night. Meanwhile the St. Ed’s Blue Jays blasted their way past Hanson Memorial in a 45-12 romp.
In its victory over the Bulldogs, Sacred Heart secured the game late in the fourth quarter by pounding the ball 61 yards down the field in only eight plays. The Trojans, utilizing the new split back veer scheme on offense, rushed the ball 47 times for just over 200 yards.
After that performance on the ground, it is safe to say that Sacred Heart has learned the patience of Job on the offensive side of the ball.
“This year we are content to get three and a half yards a carry and be as patient as possible until we can possibly bust one open for a big gain,” stated Josh Harper. “Against Ville Platte, we feel that we missed some checks at the line of scrimmage that would have given us some better plays, and we also missed some assignments up front.”
“Our goal is to try and be as physical up front as possible and get the second level of the defense,” Harper continued. “One thing that we are going to have to work on to be successful is the passing game. This year we are getting into our passes from under center instead of in shot gun. It’s going to take some time to get the swing of that.”
Case in point, the Trojans threw the ball four times against Ville Platte, completing zero passes.
Defensively, Sacred Heart did a great job of keeping Ville Platte out of the end zone. The Trojans surrendered a net total of 58 yards on the ground and 91 yards through the air.
“Against Ville Platte, we did give up some yards here and there,” said Harper. “But, I thought we shut down what they wanted to do. As a whole, I believe we looked good on defense.”
In the big game this past Friday night, the Sacred Heart special teams units came out and made a difference in the ball game. In the very first punt return of the year, senior Wesley Launey found an open space and sprint ed his way over 50 yards to the Bulldog seven-yard line. On top of that the kicking game put the Trojans in better situations on defense.
“We work hard on our special teams at practice,” commented Harper. “The last few years, we coached that aspect of the game by committee. This year, I turned over the special teams to Daniel Scully, and he has done a tremendous job getting them ready.”
To say that Sacred Heart faces a tough challenge tomorrow night would be a huge understatement. The Blue Jays come into the game returning eight players on offense and nine players on defense from a team that went 9-1 in the regular season and made it to the second round of the Division IV playoffs.
The Blue Jays are a run heavy team, rushing for 261 yards on 32 carries against Hanson. Leading the way was quarterback Brad Miller who racked up 93 yards on seven rushing attempts.
“St. Ed’s is a very solid, veteran ball club,” said Harper. “They have some great players, especially their quarterback. Everything on offense runs through him. They run their offense efficiently and don’t make many mistakes. Defensively, their line is probably their biggest strength. We have to be able to hold on to the ball and play assignment football. Every player has to know their reads and do their job if we want to have a chance to win.”