After a dismal 1-5 start, the Gents reeled off a 55-12 victory over South Beauregard last week to put themselves back into the playoff hunt and reignite the optimism they had after an opening-game victory over state-ranked Patterson.
“It’s a little different feeling coming into this week after a win,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot, whose team plays host to Jennings this evening (7). “With just a win, you’re excited and one (victory) like that gets you real excited because it was kind of a blowout win; it was a district win, and it was a road win.
“It was a lot of firsts for us there and it keeps things very much alive for us. There’s a lot still to play for.”
With last week’s victory, the Gents were the biggest movers in kenramsey.com’s unofficial power ratings as they moved up from No. 43 to 38.
But the Gents still have plenty of work ahead of them with only three games remaining.
And it all starts tonight with Jennings (4-3).
“They are going to be a mad Jennings team coming in,” said Fontenot, well aware of the fact that the Bulldogs have lost two straight.
“I would be willing to bet that it has been a long time since they have lost two games in a row. They’re looking to get back on track and we’re looking to keep it going. So you have two teams that are kind of fighting for our lives right now as far as postseason goes.”
To keep their postseason hopes alive, the Gents must contain a potent Jennings offense.
“Jennings is a split-back veer team, mainly,” said Fontenot. “They don’t have the powerful backs that they’ve had in the past though. Their backs are good, but they just don’t have those big power backs like they used to that could run the dive at you 20 times a game and they would just run through you.”
In fact, the Bulldogs lost their two featured running backs to graduation last year - Dylan Lavergne and Tre Richardson.
Filling the void for that duo that combined for over 2,300 yards is Lamontray Mouton and Jarquis Brown. Mouton posted 197 yards and three touchdowns earlier in the season against DeRidder and he had 11 carries for 75 yards against Notre Dame two weeks ago.
The Dogs do return one starter in the backfield in quarterback Jaylon Boutte. In 2011, Boutte threw for 780 yards and seven touchdowns. Last week, against Westlake, he hit wideout Malik Williams six times for 82 yards.
“They are having to do a little bit different stuff on offense this year,” said Fontenot. “They’re having to throw it a little more, use more of the sweep game and throw in a couple wrinkles here and there.
“Their offensive line is still very good, they have a very good receiver and their quarterback is extremely athletic.
“They’re not flashy, but you better strap it up because here they come and they’re not going to stop.”
Crowley will counter with an offense that last week had one of its best performances of the season. The Gents scored eight touchdowns and racked up 340 total yards (231 rushing, 109 passing) of offense against the Knights.
On the ground, Danny Malbrough rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries to lead the Gents. Quarterback Andre Mills added 43 yards and a touchdown on nine carries while also completing four passes for 95 yards and three touchdowns. Chanz Moore had three receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns and Damon Malbrough had one for 38 and a score.
“We threw the ball well last week,” said Fontenot. “We were 4-for-10. And when you look at it, that isn’t great but we threw for three touchdowns. I’ll take that every week.
“And we’re going to have to be similar to that this week. I have a feeling we’re going to have to throw it a little more this week because the run yards are going to be a little harder to come by. But we’re okay with that.”
Defensively, the Gents have gotten better each and every week and against the Knights, they were at it again. The Gents gave up just 203 total yards and nine first downs while also forcing three turnovers.
“We’ve got to stop the dive, that’s where it all starts,” said Fontenot. “And we’ve got to get them off the field. We can’t let them extend drives because we need as many offensive possessions as we can get this week to have the opportunity to put some points up.”
But all in all, Fontenot stresses that it all comes down to his squad’s execution.
“Last week was the first time since the first game of the season that everything came together,” said Fontenot. “You see what you are capable of doing when that happens.
“But it goes back to our theme of it not being about who you are playing, but about us and how we execute and approach games. We really have to focus on us and what we do. Last week was a game where we played together and played a complete game.”