"We're improving every week," said Neal Lege, Iota Bulldogs head coach.
With back-to-back last minute, or in last week's case last second, defeats, some might expect Iota to be down. Lege says, however, his squad is hungrier than ever.
"We are still looking for that first one and we've come so close," he said. "So hopefully this week will be the one.
"I told them (after Friday's game) that I thought this was the best game we've played all year. The effort was there. We executed pretty well on offense. We had a couple of miscues and that's what we pointed out to the guys on film. We explained that and focused on the positive.
"We still have district ahead of us, so that's what we also are looking at and if we can cut down on the mistakes, we can definitely be competitive in district."
And after two weeks on the road, Iota is subscribing to the "There's No Place Like Home" philosophy with back-to-back home games beginning with the Bulldogs hosting the Oberlin Tigers (2-2).
Oberlin welcomed a new head coach this season in Ronnie Simmons, who took over the reins for retiring Pat Miller. Simmons was the offensive coordinator for the Tigers for six years before.
A new coach and new defensive scheme (the Tigers switched to 4-3 from 4-2-5 this season) has been aided this season, though, by the Tigers' depth.
Oberlin welcomed back several key players and has young players to rotate in to help the Tigers last all four quarters all season, and its biggest depth position – running back. Before the season, Simmons said that he believed the Tigers had seven or eight guys that can rotate in the backfield, a number that could make LSU jealous.
"They have a slew of kids that can run the ball," said Lege. "They just have really good backs and skill people.
While the number sounds daunting enough, Oberlin's bread and butter will fall on its returners in the backfield in first-team All-District athlete Lance Frank and second-team All-District running back Austin Darbonne, coupled with new senior fullback Jordan Wilson.
In last year's game, Frank scored one of Oberlin's three touchdowns on one of his nine carries for 55 yards.
Leading the offense is returning quarterback Mark Fontenot, who threw for 480 yards as a starter last season with 11 interceptions. In the 2011 game, both teams struggled to find consistency with miscues, mistakes and penalties, but Fontenot was the stabilizer, completing 100 percent of his passes (nine for nine) for 105 yards and a touchdown.
"Their quarterback does a really good job of running that offense," said Lege. "Their particular offense, is the type that they will run it at you, run it at you and run it at you then when they think they have you sleeping, they'll slip one guy out for a big passing play."
"Again this week, we will have our hands full, but I think we can match up with them well."
The offense has proved to be potent for the Tigers, scoring 26 points per game, 30 in its victories and 22 in its losses.
The Oberlin Tigers' defense features several returners and has been somewhat inconsistent allowing 32.25 points per game this season, 24 in its wins and 40.5 in its losses.
"They have a really good defensive scheme, especially at the linebacker and secondary spot," said Lege. "We're going to run it right at them, because on film we've seen people try to run it side to side against Oberlin and have problems with their speed so we're going to run it right at them to try to neutralize their speed."
But before Iota can focus on Oberlin, they must first continue to find more consistency and play smarter on offense, something Lege continues to stress.
"We're also putting in a few different wrinkles in for them this week and we're going from there," he said.
"They're practicing hard, and they're playing hard. It's like I told them, 'Keep your heads up and keep playing hard. Good things will happen if you keep playing hard'."
On the other side, minus two big plays--one against Vinton and another last week in the winding seconds against South Beauregard, Iota's defense continues to make strides and keep Iota in every contest, but with Oberlin's offensive game plan, Iota will have to be sound.
"The secondary is really going to have to be alert this week," said Lege.
Iota does have the chance to impose their will on Oberlin, as both lines are smaller than normal, averaging 208 pounds on the offensive line and 175 pounds on the defensive line.
"Their lines are smaller right now than in years past, so our offensive game plan works with that," said Lege. "We'll see what happens by running it right at them."
Iota will host Oberlin at Bulldog Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, and will all be ready to go.