ERATH — As the Erath Bobcats continue to mature and progress in learning first-year head coach Doug Dotson’s system, the EHS coaching staff is making sure not to let the team put too much stock in wins or be too disheartened by losses.
Their chore this week will be to keep the Bobcats on an even keel after the team had its way with a good Church Point team Friday, romping to more than 400 yards on offense and limiting the Bearcats to under 150 total yards in a 57-21 homecoming night win at Robert J. Segura Sr. Memorial Stadium.
“Our mantra is this,” said Dotson. “We can be happy but we can never be satisfied. As soon as you get satisfied you stop getting better. We have to get better every week, win or lose. We lost games, we talked about getting better. We win games, we talk about getting better, and that’s every week.”
The Bobcats rushed for nearly 300 yards — two Victory Formation kneels by backup QB Ross Granger on the last two plays of the game dropped the total to 295 — and got 140 yards and a TD through the air.
Five players scored touchdowns for Erath, with running back Coy Clostio scoring on a run and a pass reception, Shay Primeaux scoring on a 77-yard run after picking up a dropped handoff and returning a punt 72 yards for another TD, Wayne Scalisi returning an interception 55 yards for a touchdown and Ty Bares scoring twice on quarterback keepers. Granger also scored on a keeper in mop-up duty in the final minutes.
“We’re still certainly not where we need to be, as far as (being) a polished football team,” said Dotson. “We’re certainly happy with a 57-21 victory on homecoming, but we know what we face as we get on into the rest of the season. We’ve got to play better football to get where we want to go.”
Clostio paced the ’Cats with 78 yards on 11 rushes. Primeaux had 77 yards on his only run, Bares ran for 51 yards on 16 totes and Granger finished with 67 yards on four runs, including his 37-yard TD with 1:08 to go.
Bares, who completed seven of 14 pass attempts with a couple of interceptions, said the team’s success was a result of a very good week of practice.
“That’s what happens on Friday nights when you work hard,” Bares said.
In losses to Catholic High and Vermilion Catholic — a pair of ranked squads — the Bobcats went into the games a little too full of themselves, said the junior signal-caller.
“We didn’t respect our opponents,” he said. “We thought we were big dogs, and when we went into the games it was a different story. We have to remember to respect our opponents. It’s anybody’s game on Friday nights.”
The defense, meanwhile, stifled the Bearcats’ ground attack until the junior varsity was inserted late. Church Point (3-2) had negative rushing yardage in the first quarter, two yards on the ground at halftime and 34 heading into the final quarter before a 60-yard run by Deion Monroe with 1:08 remaining. Monroe finished with 88 yards on seven carries thanks to the final run.
“Wayne Scalisi and Austin Domingues, our strong safeties, had a big job to do tonight, and they came up big,” said Dotson. “This team, you know, they’re a lot of buck sweep and speed sweep, and we felt like if we could shut them down on the outside they would have to run it inside, and that’s the teeth of our defense right there. Hunter Darby did a tremendous job inside as well as our two D ends, and our linebackers did a great job.
“Again, if you stop them and you force them to run inside the G and the trap, that’s running into the strength of what we do, and I thought we had a tremendous night up front. Our front seven did the job tonight, without a doubt.”
The final touchdown came with the junior varsity on the field. And only nine players, at that, Dotson admitted.
“Oh yeah,” he said with a bit of a chuckle. “That was a mistake on our part.”
For the most part, it took mistakes on the Bobcats’ part to let the Bearcats score. The first TD came after an interception was returned to the Erath 6-yard line on the final play of the first quarter. Erath answered with a four-play scoring drive, featuring a 67-yard pass bubble screen from Bares to Primeaux that set up a six-yard TD run by Bares. That pushed the Erath lead to 29-7.
Scalisi’s pick six came with 9.5 seconds to go in the first half, making it a 36-7 game, and the Bobcats recovered a sky kick to start the second half at the Church Point 33. Three plays later, Clostio barreled in untouched from 22 yards away for a 43-7 lead. The Bearcats struggled with their return game all night, fumbling away a punt to set up Erath’s first scoring drive, allowing Domingues to recover an onside kick in the second quarter, and fumbling away a kickoff at the 34 after Erath had taken a 50-7 lead.
Church Point lost all four of its fumbles and muffed kicks, while Erath’s biggest problem on the night was its four turnovers and 84 yards in penalties.
But those are issues that can be polished, and the Bobcats (3-2 overall, 1-0 district) look to do that as they resume District 9-3A play at Abbeville this Friday.
Bares said Erath needs to “just keep doing what we did this week. Just keep executing, hard practices, respect the opponents. Don’t ever underestimate anybody.”