Tara’s dilemma was simple in their 39-18 loss to Opelousas (4-1) at Belaire on Friday. The Trojans simply spent too much time going the wrong way.
While the visitors concentrated on stopping Tara’s dangerous Chris Avery, they rolled out an imposing ground game of their own, putting together 63 and 69- yard scoring drives to take a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the meantime, Tara (3-2) was suffering through five bad snaps, a sack and a fumble in the backfield on its way to nine total yards in the first half, with a minus-26 yards rushing.
“We could never get ourselves in a rhythm in the first half,” Tara coach Terry Washington said. “Opelousas came out ready to play, and we didn’t. We kept getting ourselves in a hole.
“At the start of the second half, we got down there (first and goal on the OHS 12) and we had another bad snap and more mistakes. It was just a bad game overall.”
The second half started more positively for the Trojans when Avery broke off a 53-yard run to the Opelousas 12. Disaster struck again in the form of two holding penalties and another bad snap and they ended up punting the ball back to the Tigers.
After a Nick Scott punt to the five, Opelousas marched 95 yards in 10 plays and Tara never came close again.
It was definitely a good game for Opelousas’ top three rushers. Ja’Quin Nelson carried nine times for 119 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Frazier had 105 yards on nine carries and a touchdown and workhorse Marvion Young scored three touchdowns and picked up 96 yards on 16 carries.
Avery, who went into the game with 837 rushing yards, overcame a rough first half (-4 yards) to finish with 146 yards, including runs of 53 and 42 yards. Avery scored twice, and Jadarius Givens had the other Tara touchdown on an 18-yard run.
The win was especially pleasing to Frazier, who was wearing number 81 for the game.
“It’s for Dashaun Foster,” he explained. “He was going to be a senior this year, and it was his number. He passed away in a tragic accident over the summer, so we play for him every day. Every time we practice, every time we play we just work for him. We do a different player every week (to wear the number) and I’m the first junior to get to wear it.”
Though the score and the statistics favored the Tigers and coach Doug Guillory had praise for his team’s effort in running the ball and slowing down Tara’s speedy backs, he wasn’t totally pleased with their performance.
“We gave up twelve easy points at the end because we slacked off,” he said. “We’ve got to learn to finish a game.
“The first 40 minutes, we took away the outside and forced them inside. I think some of their turnovers were because of our defense. We had a good game plan, and our offense did pretty good, too.”