The main problem with Jeanerette Senior High football over the first three weeks of the season was on display Saturday afternoon with the Tigers took on Grand Lake in a non-district football game at New Iberia Senior High.
Simply put, Jeanerette’s defense has been on the field too long in games because of the Tigers’ struggles with offense.
“That’s the issue,” Jeanerette coach C.C. Paul said. “Our defense can stop just about anybody but because we can’t sustain drives on offense, our defense is on the field too long and gets tired.”
Saturday afternoon, Grand Lake ran 74 offensive snaps to Jeanerette’s 37 — exactly half as many as the visiting Hornets and the result was a 37-0 shut out win that dropped Jeanerette to 0-3 on the season while Grand Lake improved to 3-0.
“You can’t win like that,” Paul said. “Our defense played light’s out. I’m very proud of how they played today but on offense, we’re starting four freshmen in key positions, including quarterback. They are growing in confidence and getting better each day but they’re still freshmen and make freshmen mistakes because they don’t have the experience at the varsity level.”
Case in point, Jeanerette forced Grand Lake to turn the ball over on downs to open the game but two plays later, Jeanerette quarterback Zyon Colar throws an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Another example, Grand Lake had first and goal at the 7-yard line on one drive and Jeanerette’s defense stiffened and had a goal line stand to deny the Hornets a touchdown. On the next play, the Tigers were tackled in the end zone for a safety.
As a third example, Jeanerette again stopped the Hornets on a fourth down and forced a turnover on down. Two plays later, Jeanerette fumbled the ball and Grand Lake turned the miscue into a touchdown.
“We have a lot of kids going both ways to start with, but the biggest problem on offense is that we don’t have a running back,” Paul said. “Our offense begins with us being able to run the ball and right now we don’t have a running back.
“We have inexperienced freshmen at running back and a freshman at quarterback and you can’t put all the pressure on him to throw the ball. We have to find a running back and we just don’t have one. And that’s the big issue.”
It showed against Grand Lake as Jeanerette rushed for less than 50 yards.
And now the Tigers open District 7-2A play Thursday at home against Ascension Episcopal, one of the favorites to win the district. The Blue Gators have opened the season with a 2-1 record with the loss to Class 5A Lafayette High by 7 points.
“All we can do is go back to the drawing board and try to find some way to get some offense going,” Paul said. “That’s all we can do.”