KAPLAN — When Westminster Christian Academy hosts Kaplan High on Thursday night, the teams may not be putting on a thrilling offensive show.
Through two games, the Pirates and the Crusaders have combined for nine points. In fact, all nine points have come from WCA, but history shows Kaplan may get on the board Thursday.
In last year’s meeting, Kaplan routed the Crusaders 51-0. With lots of buzz around the Pirates after last season’s improbable quarterfinal playoff run, Kaplan coach Stephen Lotief said he’s hoping the Pirates put it together this week.
“This is not like a dam bursting that needs a Band-Aid or anything,” Lotief said. “The injury bug got us a bit, and maybe the lights got us a bit. We play well in practice, but can’t perform in the game. We are OK. We just need to play a complete football game.”
No injury for the Pirates has been bigger than starting quarterback Jade Herpin. The senior was hurt against Lafayette High in the season opener and missed last week’s game against Church Point. Lotief’s son Daniel, a sophomore, has been thrusted into the starting role.
“Daniel didn’t play bad against Church Point, but we didn’t have a lot of weapons last week,” Lotief said. “Our offensive line took some steps backwards. We might be pressing a little bit too much. It’s not one thing. We just have to play a little more composed.”
Lotief said the injuries have decimated the Pirates’ depth and said the mixing and matching will hopefully start to come together.
“We’re just trying to get it figured out,” Lotief said. “Even our older kids and our coaching staff have not done a good job. We just need to fix the mistakes.”
WCA has fallen from the years of being a state power. Lotief acknowledged WCA’s recent shortcomings but said the Crusaders struggles this season are not much different than Kaplan’s.
“Westminster is doing the same things as us,” Lotief said. “They aren’t a bad football team. They’re just finding ways to fall apart. They’re a good football team. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win the game.”
Lotief said he thinks his team will put it together Thursday and play WCA tough. Last season’s 51-point performance against Westminster is something Lotief said he hopes is a sign of things to come for the Kaplan offense.
“We are a good football team,” Lotief said. “We have some older kids and some veteran leaders. They just have to perform better than they have been. It’s not time to panic. It’s time to figure it out.”