The New Iberia Senior High School Yellow Jackets are still learning the wing-T offense that new coach Curt Ware brought with him this year, but Ware found some encouraging things despite his young defensive backfield giving up several big plays in a 27-6 loss to Breaux Bridge to open the 2019 football season Friday.
NISH fell behind 20-0 in the first half but stormed out of the locker room to score their first points of Ware’s tenure on their third play of the third quarter.
That was indicative of a better half of football to come from NISH, which compiled 106 yards on the ground in the second half that included a 48-yard scoring run by Markel Linzer.
“We played much harder the second half — our effort was much better,” said Ware, who spent 14 seasons at Rayne High before being hired at NISH in the spring. “I didn’t think our effort was very good the first half. I don’t know what it really was. We didn’t play with the effort we need to beat good football teams.”
Ware said the coaches didn’t do anything special to get the effort out of the Jackets in the second half.
“Basically we just talked to them about playing with effort,” he said.
“There’s not a lot of X’s and O’s that need to be changed. It’s not so much it was a scheme thing it was about they were physically whipping us. We’ve got to play better.”
Other positives included outgaining the visiting Tigers 164-106 on the ground and only turning the ball over once while also forcing a turnover.
But there are things to work on. The Jackets were torched for 219 yards on 11-for-15 passing by Breaux Bridge quarterback Gavan Courville, including a 7-for-10 first half for 149 yards and three touchdowns, two of them for 20-plus yards.
“When you (let the opponent) complete seven for 10 for almost 200 yards in a half, you’re not going to win a lot of games like that,” Ware said.
Receiver Dartravien Girod had seven catches for 181 yards with a 55-yard TD catch, a 36-yard catch that set up his own eight-yard scoring reception (the shortest catch by Girod all night), a 33-yard reception, and three other catches for 15 or more yards.
“We’ve got to get better, for sure. But all the guys in the secondary are new starters. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact,” Ware said.
“No. 5 (Girod) is a good receiver, but still, you’ve got to at least make them earn it.”
Kyser Patt added three catches for 35 yards with a 23-yard scoring reception mixed in.
And the Yellow Jackets struggled throwing the ball, completing two of six attempts for 10 yards with the pickoff, which seemed to come after a little confusion by one of the offensive players.
“As anybody can see, there’s a lot of moving parts to a wing-T, so we’re getting there,” Ware said. “I think we’re going to end up being OK, but we’re not quite there yet.
“Sometimes we had some pretty good plays, and sometimes we had some bad plays. Sometimes the hole is there and the back’s missing the hole.
“It’s not just like, well, we didn’t block it right. We’ve just got to get better, just keep working and fix those little things like that.”
NISH started off well, stringing together eight plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Breaux Bridge 41, just one yard shy of a first down.
The Tigers took advantage with an eight-play scoring drive, scoring on a first-and-21 following a penalty from the 23-yard line for the 7-0 lead after the PAT by Jacob Landry for the 7-0 lead that held up through one quarter.
BBHS went up 14-0 on a 55-yard pass play from Courville to Girod, with Girod catching the ball near the NISH 43 on a slant before cutting back outside and racing untouched for the score.
The Tigers made it a three-score halftime edge with a 10-play scoring drive late in the second period. Courville’s eight-yard toss to Girod capped the drive.
New Iberia got on the scoreboard after stopping Breaux Bridge’s first drive of the third quarter.
After the punt by Courville to New Iberia’s 39, Tyce Fusilier gained seven and six yards on consecutive carries.
Linzer then showed a nice burst with a sweep to the right side, outrunning the defense to the sideline and then all the way to the end zone for a 48-yard gain.
The attempt for 2 failed but NISH had cut the lead to 20-6 with 7:52 left in the third quarter.
Fusilier led all ballcarriers with 70 yards on nine carries. Fusilier added 57 yards on 12 runs and fullback Alvin George III had 26 yards.
NISH forced a turnover on Breaux Bridge’s next series when the defense stacked up Kavion Martin, then knocked the ball loose on a fourth-down carry from the NISh 11. After a scramble, Kylend Lee came up with the ball for the Jackets.
New Iberia gave it back on an interception after moving the chains twice, and after a six-minute Breaux Bridge scoring drive capped by Martin’s one-yard scoring run, the Yellow Jackets had only one possession left before turning the ball over on downs at the Tigers’ 30.
New Iberia travels to Carencro this Friday for another non-district game.
“I always say this anyway, regardless if you win or lose on Friday, your practice on Monday shouldn’t be any different,” Ware said.
“Just because you win on Friday, doesn’t entitle you to anything the next week. Just because you lose, you still watch film tomorrow, look at your mistakes and move forward.”