March 21, 2023

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The Ruston Bearcats and the Alexandria Trojans Square Off In District 2-5A Opener

The Ruston Bearcats will travel on the road to take on the Alexandria Trojans in a district opening matchup between two of the heavy favorites not only for district, but also two teams that are expected to make two deep playoff runs in November.

Ruston Bearcats (4-1)

The 4-1 Bearcats will have to travel to a hostile environment at Butch Stoker Stadium, but Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh believes that his team is ready to take on the challenge, especially playing one of the toughest non-district schedules in the state, which includes the likes of Warren Easton, Jesuit, Cabot (AR), LCA, and Neville.

“I think that should help us. Anytime that you play that level of competition early in the year, it should prepare you for a rough district schedule and that’s exactly what we got. Starting off with ASH, it is going to be a tough assignment with the first district ball game out of the gate after playing five tough ball games in non-district. I think it should have us prepared, have us ready to play, and knowing what to expect, but it has been a tough road up to this point and hopefully our kids have done enough in order to get prepared and getting ready to play another good football team.”

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh

It also helps Coach Baugh having a really good coaching staff around him including two big time names roaming the sidelines in former Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs and former Buffalo Bills six time Pro Bowl defensive tackle selection Kyle Williams.

“Having that many guys at so many different levels of football has been great. Adding those two to the already great coaching staff that we have is great. Most of these coaches have been around the high school level for such a long period of time. It just bring a lot of different aspects and a lot of different variety to what they have been exposed to. You can ask somebody in the staff meeting about what you did about this and what you did about that. They have a variety of ways to do different things. That’s what you see in how they prepare for practice, what the workouts look like during the summer, and it’s bringing a lot of different levels of football here altogether from high school, college, and the NFL.

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh

After losing the first game of the season to Warren Easton, the Bearcats have rolled on four straight wins despite the difficult non-district schedule. A lot of the team’s success has to deal with the play of senior quarterback Jaden Osborne and running back Dyson Fields. Add in the recent success of wide receiver Aaron Jackson after a three touchdown performance against Neville, the Bearcats’ offense enters this game with a lot of confidence.

“I think those guys for sure with the experience that they bring. That’s who we depended on early in the year to kind of pull along while some of the other guys were getting experience. I think Aaron Jackson at the receiver spot had a big ball game last week and has been a great addition, and he’s got a lot of experience. He’s played a lot for us as a sophomore and played a lot for us as a junior. I think our offensive line is coming along really well. Zy Scott at tight end has really helped us. He didn’t play football last year and is a big basketball player. He decided to come back out and play. Just having those guys with experience has been good for us early in the year.”

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh

As good as the offense has been, the defense has been really good giving up no more than 25 points in every game this season against great competition.

“I think the whole squad has stepped up. They were very inexperienced last year and we gained a bunch of those guys back. We challenged those guys after the season last year that we were going to lean on them heavily at the beginning of the year. Like I talked about Jaden and Dyson on offense, we knew defensively that we should be pretty good with all of the guys that we were bringing back. We challenged them with that and I think they have accepted that challenge. We’ve played well defensively up to this point against some great football teams. I just hope that they continue to grow, continue to work at it, continue to get better, and be that group that we can stop somebody when we need them to get a stop.”

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh

Going up against a really good Alexandria team, the Bearcats will once again be challenged, but Coach Baugh wants his team to respect the opponent and continue to be laser focus just like they have been doing on this four game winning streak.

“They (Alexandria) have always stuck out to me. Coach Bachman has done a great job coaching. Anytime you play those guys, you know that they are going to be really well prepared. Then, you stack on top of that, he has really good players that are coached up. I think he does a phenomenal job with his quarterbacks. They are able to do some RPO stuff. They always have great receivers, really good running backs, and the past few years, they really made it a point to establish a running game. You add all that stuff in and put that together offensively, they are a really good team offensively. Then, on the other side of the ball, they’ve done a good job of slowing down our running game. That’s what we always start at with us offensively because we want to be able to run the football and run some play action passes off of that. I think he understands that. He knows that. We will have our work cut out for us. We know that they are a great football team. They are well coached and we will need to play well.”

“It’s always the little things. We have to do the little things correctly. They’ve made some big plays against the teams they played earlier in the year so hopefully, we can make them at least line back up and even if they make the big plays, if we can have somebody make the tackle and force them to do it again, your odds of scoring the football are way less. Hopefully, we can do that, and for the best way to prevent them to score is to have our offense out there. We have to be able to sustain some drives offensively to keep their offense off the field.”

Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh
Ruston High School running back Dyson Fields is the bellcow of the Bearcats offense.

Alexandria Trojans (3-2):

After dropping the first two games of the season against Carencro and St. Thomas More, the Alexandria Trojans led by their head coach enter the big district matchup on a winning streak as well. In their three game winning streak, it is the Trojans offense that has come to life averaging an incredible 53 points per game.

“We’re improving. We were a couple of plays away from being right there to win those first two football games. We are playing to win. There’s no doubt. We came up short against two great teams with a lot of talent and speed. We felt fine coming out of the first two games and we just knew if we can make a few more plays in some crucial situations, we will be fine. We started putting everything together in the last couple of weeks and there is still a lot of season in front of us. We are just trying to make progress and taking steps forward.”

Alexandria Head Coach Thomas Bachman

Coach Bachman loves how the offense has been playing and it is all led by their senior quarterback Joe Bordelon, who has thrown for 1,088 yards and 11 touchdown passes. Bordelon has a lot of good weapons that he is utilizing including his top target Jaylin Johnson, who has 20 catches for 496 yards and six touchdowns, and also the explosive Amyrion Mingo is a touchdown waiting to happen. The Trojans can also run the football too with Datlan Cunningham as he has run for over 100 yards every game this season. Finally, there is James Herrington at fullback to make this balanced offense go. With all of that being said, this offense is coming into their own.

“We got a lot of new starters on offense. We got eight new starters with a lot of sophomores and juniors. Some of them are getting their first start. I just see an improvement. I like the progress, the understanding, and the defensive recognition from the guys in how they are being defended. The knowledge of the game is just improving from week to week so they are growing in their roles.”

“Anytime that you have a senior quarterback, it helps to have somebody leading the offense that has played a lot of football. Joe Bordelon has been in a lot of football games against a lot of these great teams, but we are improving around him too. That’s a huge part of it and a lot of the inexperience that we started the year with is starting to gain some experience and that is always a good thing.”

Alexandria Head Coach Thomas Bachman

The young offense is continuing to grow as the season progresses. Like Coach Bachman mentioned, it is good to have a veteran quarterback leading the way, and he has just as much comfort in his defense to be carrying a lot of the load with a lot of experienced players on that side of the football.

“I’ve been pleased with them. Jeremiah Wright and Bryce Rushing up front are our two anchors. We feel good about them. That secondary with Chris Clark and Josh Marie, John Parrish, and Tay Frazier has played a lot of football for us. That gives you confidence that they are not wide eyed when they are out there. That obviously makes you feel good as a coach that they have that experience.”

Alexandria Head Coach Thomas Bachman

Riding the confidence wave in front of the home fans helps when welcoming in a tough district opponent. Getting a win against Ruston will only give this team even more confidence moving forward.

“They are very tough. They play really hard. Their schemes are really sound and the way they attack offensively, puts some stress on you. They got a receiver on the edge that can win one on ones. They are really good and look as good as they have always looked under Coach Baugh. They’re big in the box on defense. They’re athletic in the back half. They run really hard and play with a lot of confidence.”

“Field position, takeaways, and big plays. We need to make them and we can’t give them up. That’s boring coach speak, but it’s true in order for us to try and get a win against a great team.”

Alexandria Head Coach Thomas Bachman
Alexandria QB Joe Bordelon is a senior leader at quarterback and his experience playing in big games will help him tonight against Ruston.

The Trojans will be looking for only its second win in the last ten meetings between these two Class 5A powers. Their last victory in this rivalry came in 2017. To watch this matchup, click below as 446 Sports, who are proud partners of Gridiron Football, will be streaming the game. Also, make sure to come back right here as I will give a game recap of this game with some photos taken by our photographer Jason Saucier! Game will start at 7:00!—week-6-v6x6jjgssrgys7nd0noi

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