Basile, Oberlin knock heads for the District 4-1A championship
Everything is on the line tomorrow night when the Basile Bearcats travel up Highway 26 to knock heads with the No. 2 ranked Oberlin Tigers.
First and foremost, the winner of this epic showdown will take home the title of District 4-1A champions. Secondly, playoff positioning is on the line for both teams, as the two squads get ready for the post-season that begins on November 15.
Along with the title and the trophy that accompanies the district championship, Basile is still in the mix to have a first round bye in the playoffs and a home game come the second round of the post-season.
The Bearcats (6-3, 5-1) are currently ranked No. 8 in the latest LHSAA power ranking that came out Tuesday. If Basile can stay in that No. 8 position, the Bearcats will earn a first round bye in the 2019 playoffs.
A loss can knock the Bearcats back down to a spot where they would have to host a game in the initial round of the post-season. However, a win will cement their bye and give Basile some much needed rest before the playoffs begin in earnest.
“Having a first round bye would allow us to heal even more and would give the players some time to catch their breath,” stated Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand. “That is also valuable time that we as a team can use to go back to teaching the fundamentals that we cannot emphasize throughout the season. So it would be very nice for us to be able to earn that bye.”
The Bearcats stated the season slow, going 2-3 in their first five games. Since then, Basile has reeled off four straight wins, mostly because of their play on the offensive side of the ball.
During their win streak, the Bearcats have averaged 37.8 points per game and close to 400 yards per game, with most of those yards coming via the rushing game. Still, Bertrand knows that in order for his team to have a chance at upending the Tigers, the passing game must produce some valuable yardage.
“I have confidence in our running game,” said Bertrand. “But, if we want to have a shot this week and into the playoffs, we are going to have to get our passing game going. One thing I know is that we have been able to be successful airing it out because of our run game. When you can effectively push the ball on the ground, the passing game will open up for you. We are definitely shoring up that part of our offense this week.”
Defensively, Basile has been a team that has followed the old adage of bend but don’t break. Even though the Bearcats have given up yards and points at time, their defensive unit comes up with big stops when needed.
Two weeks ago, the Bearcats twice stuffed the Gueydan Bears deep inside their own territory, including a goal line stand early in the first quarter. Over the last four games, Basile has surrendered 76 total points, with most of those coming late in the game when the contest was already determined.
“Our defense has played tough all season long,” commented Bertrand. “I am extremely proud at the way these guys have taken care to come up with the big plays when we have needed them to. We will definitely need them this week, especially our guys up front.”
Oberlin brings a perfect record to the game, as the Tigers are 9-0 on the season and 6-0 in district play. Oberlin averages 38.1 points per game on offense and have scored 30 or more points in eight of their nine games, including four performances of 40 points or more.
The Tigers are a Wing-T based team that can mix the run and the pass effectively. One big advantage for Oberlin on the offensive side of the ball is that they can rotate in six players to tote the football around the field.
“They are the No. 2 team in the state for a reason,” stated Bertrand. “They have a solid football team from top to bottom. Depth is definitely in their favor. Even though they run the ball most of the time, their passing game is very efficient.”
“We are going to have to play mistake free football,” Bertrand continued. “We cannot give them short fields to work with and we definitely have to stay away from penalties that can kill our drives or keep their drives alive.”