The Lakeview Gators open District 3-2A football competition at home tonight, hosting a Menard Eagles squad that is also hoping to bounce back from a painful loss last week.
While the Gators fell 32-6 at home to Rayville, Menard lost on its own field, getting overwhelmed after halftime in a 31-17 defeat at the hands of St. Mary’s. The Eagles are winless in three games.
Lakeview coach Brandon Helms knows his team has the goods to open district play successfully. He’s seen plenty in each of the Gators’ three games to indicate that – and it all came together two weeks ago in a 40-0 romp at Beekman Charter, after a 22-6 defeat at Tensas a week earlier.
Winning will require some basic strides by Lakeview (1-2), he said, in the 7 p.m. contest at Lakeview.
“We need to see consistency on both sides of the ball,” said Helms. “The big thing offensively is doing a better job of winning first down. We put ourselves behind the chains with pre-snap penalties and various mistakes too often. We need to stay in positive yardage situations to sustain drives. We’ve had too many drives dry up in the red zone. We’ve had so many opportunities, which shows we can do it, but more often than not, we’ve left points out there by not finishing drives.
“Defensively we need better tackling. We were in position to make plays against Rayville, but just missed too many tackles. We need to do better at gang tackling, getting 11 hats to the ball. If we can improve in those areas, we’ll see the change on the scoreboard.
“We’re working on those things and expecting a better performance this week. We’re not that far away,” said Helms.
The Gators have been led by junior quarterback and safety Dillon Pikes and sophomore running back Kaleb Collins.
“Dillon Pikes has been a steady, steady player on both sides of the ball. Kalen Collins has run the ball tough. He needs to get his pad level down a bit, but that’s just being a young running back. They have been bright spots,” said Helms.
Tonight’s contest is the first of six district games for the Gators. Since Menard squared off last week against St. Mary’s, that matchup gave the Gators coaching staff a lot of insight that could be beneficial.
“Their kids are in the right place. They don’t get out of position. They just didn’t make some plays against St. Mary’s, and St. Mary’s did make the plays,” said Helms. “You have to give credit to the Tigers. Menard is looking for the same thing we are, and that’s consistency. The more consistent team will have the upper hand.”
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