Tarpons, Yellow Jackets set for District 7-5A clash

South Lafourche running back Jake Williams (23) tries to break tackles during a preseason scrimmage against Belle Chasse in August. (Photo by File)

Tempo is going to be a key when South Lafourche and New Iberia hook up to settle first place in District 7-5A.

Kickoff for Friday's game is slated for 7 p.m. at Lloyd G. Porter Stadium in New Iberia.

Both South Lafourche and New Iberia's offenses like to stay on the line of scrimmage and play a pace that keeps opposing defenses on their heels.

However, both offenses like to attack defenses in different ways.

New Iberia will use its screen game to set up defenses before attacking over the top with quarterback Jason Jones and a bevy of receivers.

South Lafourche wants to set up its passing game, with a rushing attack that features Jake Williams and several perimeter players on speed sweeps.

While both offensive schemes are different, both teams want to play at a pace that opposing defenses can't keep up with.

South Lafourche coach Dennis Skains said that New Iberia's formations are very similar to what the Tarpons use, but the scheme is different.

"They are well coached and they are very sound in every phase of the game. Formation-wise we maybe similar, but they are a completely different offense. It isn't something that we see every day in practice," Skains said. "They have three or four talented receivers. (Andrew Ricks) is a talented receiver and probably one of the more talented ones we will see this year. Their quarterback is accurate and he is protected by a good offensive line.

"They also protect the quarterback with their screen game. They screen so much that teams are afraid to blitz them. It is a well-designed offense with a great scheme."

New Iberia coach Rick Hutson also believes the teams are similar, but he said that South Lafourche (5-0 overall, 2-0 in district) is more of a multiple offense with a physical running game.

"I think there are a lot of similarities between the two teams. They are probably more multiple on offense, where we are pretty much a spread team all the time," Hutson said. "They have the ability to get into different formations and run the ball right at you. It could be a lot of plays called in the game. They are a little more up-tempo than we are. I am just amazed at how sharp they look with it being (Skains) first year there. They look like they have been running his system for years."

Both the Tarpons and the Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-0) have shown the ability to score a ton of points.

New Iberia point-scoring ability was on display in last week's 55-12 win over H.L. Bourgeois, while South Lafourche got a hard-fought 24-7 victory over Westgate.

Skains said to slow down the New Iberia's offense, his defense will have tackle well and run to the football.

"Tackling is important and we stressed that. If you are going to be a great defense, we are not there yet, you have to tackle well," Skains said. "We want to run to the ball, but you have to fit on certain things. To play well on defense we have to find the right fit against their screens. They do run four or five different screens and that means it is a different fit for each. We have to recognize their screens and their screen fakes when they want to go down field."

Helping South Lafourche earn its win against Westgate was its special teams.

The Tarpons recovered a pooched kick and blocked a punt in the first quarter that led to an early lead.

Hutson said that he is concerned with the Tarpons special teams and with two evenly matched teams, special teams could make a difference.

"We preached (special teams) all the time. If you think being on the punt team isn't important, get a blocked punt and then see how important it is," Hutson said. "(The game) will come down to a couple of plays that will make a difference and you never know if it will be on special teams. You have to be ready in all three phases."

One thing that New Iberia may have to get ready for is the return of South Lafourche starting quarterback Colby Callais.

Callais missed the Westgate game to an injured ankle and a staph infection.

Skains said that he is hopeful that Callais will play, but if not, his team has overcome adversity all season and he expects the team to do the same against New Iberia.

"We are hoping he can play," Skains said. "It is one of those things where he had some bad luck with the staph infection and ankle. It is a big game, but it isn't the deciding game of our season. We are hoping he can go, but we are not going to jeopardize the rest of the season for it."



New Iberia is ranked No. 8 in the latest LHSAA Class 5A Top 10 poll, while South Lafourche is receiving votes ... The last time South Lafourche started a season 6-0 was in 1993 ... Williams leads South Lafourche with 605 rushing yards on 84 carries and six touchdowns ... The Tarpons held Westgate to 58 total yards last week ... New Iberia racked up 432 total yards against H.L. Bourgeois ... The game can be heard on KLRZ 100.3-FM and KLEB 1600-AM.