What’s the secret to preparing for a game against the top-ranked team in the state?
Stick to the routine.
Port Allen is gearing up for its biggest test of the season, a Friday night matchup in District 7-3A against No. 1 St. Charles Catholic.
Handling expectations can go a long way in deciding a big game. To do so, Pelicans coach Guy Blanchard wants his team to approach the Week 7 showdown between 6-0 teams like any other game on the schedule.
“You have to prepare for every opponent the exact same way, and our kids are maturing in how they prepare for every opponent,” Blanchard said. “When you’re doing that, you’re turning into a good football team.”
Six weeks into the season, the Pelicans have been very good. Port Allen has won six straight games by an average margin of 21 points to surpass its 5-4 record in 2010.
Port Allen’s got its biggest scare last week in the district opener against St. James. Four Pelican turnovers fueled a 21-point second quarter for the Wildcats before the Port Allen defense pitched a second-half shutout in a 26-21 triumph.
“Our defense has played extremely well, and that’s something we hang our hats on,” Blanchard said. “The kids learned we can come back from being down; we learned the kids will never quit and they will never think they’re out of it.”
But he also said St. Charles Catholic will provide the Pelicans with a new test.
The Comets enter the game averaging nearly 47 points per contest, and they have reached the 40-point mark in all but one game.
The defense has held every opponent under 10 points and has allowed only three touchdowns this season.
“They’re extremely disciplined and well-coached, so when you combine those things together, along with a very tough team with talented football players, it makes them extremely dangerous,” Blanchard said.
Much of Port Allen’s defensive game plan will be reserved for Comets senior running backs Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson.
Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound Tulane commitment, has scored 10 touchdowns in his last three games while averaging nearly 13 yards per carry. Thompson led the Comets last week with 114 rushing yards and four touchdowns in their 49-8 win against Donaldsonville.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst? That’s never been a part of Blanchard’s outlook.
“If you try to contain, he’s still going to get something and it might just be enough to beat you,” Blanchard said of Thompson. “So we’re going to go in with the attitude that we need to stop him.”