DUTCHTOWN — The Eastside Raiders “A Team” played like two-time Super Bowl champions Sunday in a Southeast Louisiana Football League season-opener against the Dutchtown Mighty Griffins.
“A Team” coach Leonard Wyatt said his 30 players, all 12-years old and younger, have been playing together for four years and have won the last two league titles in their age divisions.
“We’ve got a nice little group,” he said of his players.
Raiders quarterback Cornelius Washington raced both down the sidelines and up the middle, gaining yards and three touchdowns during Sunday’s afternoon game.
Griffins coach Elmo LeBeouf, clipboard in hand, watched as his players tried to move down the field on their first offensive series.
LeBeouf whistled in an attempt to gain his quarterback’s attention so he could change the next play.
After Griffins quarterback Cedric Smith’s pass was incomplete, LeBeouf patted him on the back and told him to get some water.
“That’s all you can do, they’ve got a good defense,” LeBeouf.
That “good defense” shut down the Griffins running and passing game in the first half, while the Raiders offense racked up points.
At halftime, LeBeouf stressed fundamentals and asked his players to “do what y’all did in practice all week … hit hard and hit low.”
“Guys, y’all got to play tough,” he said during his halftime speech. “You’ve got to want it.”
Across the field, Wyatt praised his players.
“That’s the way to hit,” he said as his defense stopped the Griffins.
In the fourth quarter, Wyatt shifted the roster and put in some of the less-experienced players.
In the end, the “A Team” won, 33-0, with Washington scoring three touchdowns, Cameron Simon earning one and Gace Ester also scoring, Wyatt said.
The Raiders “B Team” won, 20-0 and the “C Team” beat the Mighty Griffins, 13-6.
Sunday’s games were played at Dutchtown High School’s Griffin Stadium.
The wins gave Eastside cheerleaders a lot to cheer about to the crowd on hand for the games.
Shileta Bullard, an assistant coach with the Raiders cheerleading squad, shouted out cheers with the squad.
A majority of the unit’s 22 cheerleaders “are first-timers, but they came up pretty good,” Bullard said,
The girls were wearing black- and-white shorts, hair bows and black tank tops. The temporary uniforms will be used until the squad’s new uniforms arrive, coaches said.
Griffins cheer coach Adrienne Abreo said her Griffin squad were also ready for the first game of the season.
The Mighty Griffins have four sideline cheer teams and one competition squad, a total of 70 members, Abreo said.
Abreo, who never cheered in high school, said the experience has been interesting and “a great learning experience for me.”
The Mighty Griffins will play the St. John Wildcats on Saturday at East St. John High School in Laplace and the Eastside Raiders will play the Hammond Jr. Tors at Spartan Stadium in Gonzales.