U-High, Southern Lab series hits close to home for some _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall: “I think our guys are excited, this is one of those games that was already circled on our schedule.'

When there are several games to be played, the first district game usually isn’t a make-or-break situation. Don’t tell that Ascension Catholic and second-ranked Southern Lab.

The Bulldogs host Southern Lab in a District 6-1A opener set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Floyd Boutte Memorial Stadium in Donaldsonville.

It is the first significant matchup of teams that played in two Baton Rouge area districts for years.

ACHS (1-2) has lost two straight, including a game to seventh-ranked Central Catholic of Morgan City. By contrast, the Kittens (2-1) notched a 26-14 win over West St. John last week.

“It’s our first district game,so that should be motivation enough for our guys,” Ascension Catholic coach Drey Trosclair said of the matchup. “They are going to take this game very seriously, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The Bulldogs must get past last week’s 70-46 loss to CCMC. ACHS managed to outscore the Eagles 28-22 in the second half.

Trosclair said a positive from the defeat was his team’s resilience. The first-year coach also like the Bulldogs’ toughness.

“We don’t quit,” he said. “We fight to the very last whistle. We got a character group of guys. So I think we’re going to hold true to that (Thursday) night.”

One bright spot for the Bulldogs is the two-headed attack of running back Kaleb Winchester and quarterback Javon Yarbrough. Winchester ranks among area 2A-1A leaders in rushing and scoring with 340 yards on 26 carries, including seven touchdowns.

Despite the win last week, Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall said he wants to see a more consistent, reliable offense. For Randall, mistakes have been the team’s shortcoming — the difference between its one loss to University High and an undefeated season.

“We want to be able to go out and focus on some of the things that we haven’t done well this season like being able to establish drives and being able to score points early,” Randall said. “That’s two of the many things we haven’t been able to do due to a variety of different things.

“Bad snaps, not finishing drives and being able to put a complete game together. We’re going to ask the running backs to carry the ball and the quarterback to make those reads and throws.”

Senior running back Darbbeon Profit is tasked with carrying the load for the Kittens against ACHS. Demonte Lang is also expecting touches due to the injury of Pat Green.

Defensively, the Kittens look to build on their linebacker play, recently moving defensive end Chris Allen to middle linebacker versus the Rams.

“By this being our first district game, I think this is a great game for us,” Randall said. “This is a chance for us to go out and show and be able to get one step closer to our goal, and that’s to win district.”