The Lions graduated powerful quarterback Terrance Broadway and powerful running back Frankie Jackson but retained a ton of talent and size. They have one of the best offensive linemen in the country in Corey White. The LSU signee is amazing at the tackle position. He stands at 6’3” and tips the scale of 325 pounds. The Lions run behind him over 75 percent of the time. Don’t look for things to change tomorrow night.
White is the largest on the line, but he has partners that are not small by a long-shot. Offensive guard Charles Paul tips the scale at 270 pounds and stands at 6’4”. Fellow guard Albert Hill stands at just 6’1” but weighs over 300 pounds. White’s bookend partner, Kendrick Williams measures out at 6’4” but weighs nearly 275 pounds.
First-year starting quarterback Trevan Jones is only a sophomore. This will be his first trip into the playoffs as the starting signal caller. Jones is joined in the backfield by returning senior fullback Nicholas Crittney (6’0” 200). Jackson’s replacement has pretty much been run by committee this year. Look for several running backs to come in and out of the game tomorrow night for the Lions.
The Lions don’t throw the ball as much as they did last year because of the absence of Broadway, but they do throw it when they have to. Their receiving core is led by junior Jonathan Banks. The 6’2” receiver has good hands and excellent speed. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
Capitol, like Ville Platte, scores lots of points. The Lions score an average of 32 points per game. Their ability to do that has a lot to do with the size of their offensive line. They wear down the opposing defenses in the beginning of the game and then score quickly as the game moves on.
The Lions line up in multiple fronts on defense. Only six returners are back from last year’s semi-final team. The front four is stacked with powerful defensive tackles Carl Carney and Kendrick Parker. Carney is one of the bright young stars who several universities have shown interest in. While he is only 6’2” 215 pounds, he has been starting since his freshman year and turning heads. Creeshon Odell is the anchor of the defensive linemen. The defensive end stands at 6’3” and weighs 315 pounds. Odell, just a freshman, has already gotten several coaches from around the NCAA interested.
The linebacker core is completely back from last year’s squad. Senior captain Dorseay Bindon leads the defensive unit. The 6’2” 224 pound athlete will be a force the Bulldogs will have to reckon with and account for at all times. Bindon leads the team in tackles and has the ability to blitz from different sides of the line.
The defensive secondary is completely brand new and that could play right into the hands of the Bulldogs. Only Davlin Mullens is back from last year’s squad and his playing time was limited last year. The other defensive backs are brothers Devin and Darius Stampley for the Lions.
Ville Platte will have their work cut out for them, but the mission is in no way impossible. The Lions give up nearly 30 points per game and the Bulldogs can score that in one quarter. Junior quarterback Cody Jones threw for 209 yards last week against a secondary that was very similar to the one he will face tomorrow night. Jones also rushed for over 140 yards, which will force the Lions to account for him as another running back. The key for Ville Platte will be to score early and provide protection for Jones. Last week, the SHHS defensive line gave the interior of the VPHS offensive line fits. The o-line will have to block better tomorrow night for the Bulldogs to have a chance. If the line does a good job and gives Jones a chance to do something, it could be a long night for the Lions.
Jones’ support staff has come a long way this year and it will take a total team effort to get the Bulldogs out of Baton Rouge with a victory. Senior Vanshanski Nelson had a great catch on the run last week as he bolted for a touchdown. Nelson’s ability to break loose in coverage will be big against the slower and less experienced defensive backs of CHA. Nelson could be the x-factor in game for VPHS. Another weapon the Dogs will need to is junior Darius Poullard. The versatile athlete has had some big games this year. Poullard can run out of the backfield or break loose in coverage as a receiver. Either way, his talents will be needed tomorrow night.
The question of the game for the purple and white is defense. Can they stop the Lions from scoring? Whether it be a “bend but don’t break” approach or a dominating performance, it won’t matter. The Bulldogs have to get the ball in the hands of Jones and company as often as possible. The Lions will be able to control the clock and field position with their offensive line as long as they have the ball. They can’t be allowed to stand there and wear out VPHS. The Bulldogs D-unit will have to step up more than ever before. They have the talent and the ability; it’s a matter of getting the job done.
“We got a chance to do our thing tomorrow night,” VPHS Head Coach Roy Serie said. “If we can score some points early and then our defense step up, we got a chance. They (CHA) are good, but not better than what we’ve seen. I think we will be ready. The kids are excited about this challenge.”
Tomorrow night the game will take place at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Stadium is located right off of I-10 near the state capital. The team is scheduled to leave Ville Platte tomorrow some time around noon according to Serie. Kickoff time is set for 7 p.m.