LAFAYETTE — Although Evangel Christian Academy has endured some injuries and lineup changes during the first few weeks of the season, St. Thomas More coach Jim Hightower knows some things remain the same.
“They (the Eagles) like to throw the ball and they have a great scheme of how they want to do things,” Hightower said.
The STM coach and his team will get a close-up view of that offensive scheme when the Cougars (3-0 and top-ranked in Class 4A) host Evangel (1-2) in a televised by CST (Cox Cable channel 37) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cougar Stadium.
Evangel, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, is coming off a 31-16 win over Barbe in which Trey Taylor filled in at quarterback for injured starter Dakota Duron. Duron is out with a wrist fracture.
Taylor passed for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns and had 90 yards rushing.
Preparation has been squeezed into a couple of days because of the short work schedule that comes with a Thursday game.
“We had to combine some things on Monday and Tuesday,” Hightower said. “It presents a problem when you are going against a versatile team like Evangel.”
St. Thomas More has shown its own versatility on offense. Quarterback Brandon Bergeron has thrown for 606 yards and four touchdowns. Andrew Stevenson had 144 yards receiving, including two TD catches, in last week’s win over Westgate. Matt Flores has also chipped in four touchdowns as a running back and receiver.
“I am really pleased with the job done by our signal-callers and running backs,” Hightower said. “We have to make improvements on the line.”
Evangel and St. Thomas More combined for 817 yards in offense during last week’s victories.
“We want to keep from giving up big plays and force a couple of turnovers,” Hightower said. “We have to make good use of the ball when we have it. We have played them two years and have had two good ball games. I’m hoping for the same.”
Faulk has Eagles soaring
In his first season as a head coach, former LSU linebacker Trev Faulk has Abbeville-based Vermilion Catholic undefeated at 3-0 and ranked No. 10 in Class 1A. For the first-year head coach, who previously served as an assistant at Northside, a group of seniors has helped cement that fast start.
Within Vermilion Catholic’s 39-player squad, senior quarterback Aaron David has led the charge by completing 43-of-68 passes for 720 yards and nine touchdowns.
“The seniors have helped speed up the learning process and learning curve,” Faulk said. “We have a good senior group of kids. They have been receptive and have worked hard.”
Faulk’s growth process as a head coach has included wins over North Vermilion, Northlake Christian and Erath. The Eagles will host Oberlin on Thursday night.
“It has been a fun thing for me to go through with 39 kids,” Faulk said. “It has been different. It’s an adjustment going through the offseason program and sharing athletes with other sports. That was a consideration. It presents a challenge with practice.”
While the Screaming Eagles have averaged 41 points, Faulk’s experience as a linebacker has given him a good visual idea of the needs he had on the defensive side.
“We (the coaches) are trying to create opportunities for our kids to make plays,” Faulk said.
“My philosophy is to get them as strong as we can. We have made great gains. No matter what size you are, you have to be a good tackling team. With all the spread (offenses) and fancy stuff, it still comes down to blocking and tackling. We stress that every day.”