The Acadiana Wreckin' Rams suffered their first loss in over a year last week. So defensive coordinator Kyle Seibold pushed his unit to come out with a chip on their shoulder Friday night against Lafayette High.
The Wreckin' Rams' defense answered the call, especially the defensive line, shutting down the Mighty Lions' offense to take a 34-12 victory and the District 3-5A title.
The Mighty Lions entered this contest undefeated and with hopes of taking over the district, but the Wreckin' Rams' dominant defensive front proved superior.
"A point of emphasis for us this week was having a chip on your shoulder and playing that way," Seibold said. "I told them this afternoon during film was you've got to play the game a little bit mad and with a chip on your shoulder, and I think we did tonight. The plan was to try and get them behind the chains because I felt like we had an advantage in the secondary as well.
"Once we were able to get them behind the chains, we were able to get some blitzes on, and the big thing was to keep Xan (Saunier) in the pocket. Even when we blitzed, we had to be real good with integrity as far as just keeping him inside, and I thought we did a really good job of that. We were able to get them behind the chains and then really come get them and let our guys in the back end just cover."
The Wreckin' Rams had four sacks on the night, generating a ferocious pass rush led by senior defensive end Cameron George and junior Walter Bob.
"They're the two monsters, but then Trey Bossier does a really good job of reading gaps, and then Kaden Anderson has a really high motor, so we were able to just use our quickness and our speed up front when we did a lot of that movement," Seibold said.
"Cam and Walter were phenomenal tonight as far as just really getting in the backfield, creating havoc and getting after the quarterback."
George, a UL commitment, delivered three sacks on the night, and he and Bob made life difficult for Mighty Lions' quarterback Xan Saunier.
"He (George) is explosive as heck," Seibold said. "When you get anybody against us in pass mode, Cam is so explosive off the edge. He does a really good job of using his hands, and he can bend. He can beat guys off the line of scrimmage with speed, but he does a really good job of bending and turning that edge, so when other teams are in pass mode, and we can really just turn Cam loose, he causes problems for people.
"Most high school offensive tackles aren't going to be able to have the speed, agility and footwork to match up with his explosiveness."
George's key to success was maintaining his high motor throughout the night and being explosive off the edge.
"We had a hard week of preparation," George said. "Just watching a lot of film and studying our keys. We were going against a great team that's well-coached, but we just had to play our technique and do what we had to do. Just trying to have a motor and be as explosive as I can, maintain my gap, and really just try and open up opportunities for my teammates, that's just really key for me.
"It was about us maintaining our rush gaps and definitely had to key on him (Saunier). He's a great player and he's a guy that can make things happen with his legs as well as his arm, so it was definitely a thing that we had to take note of and prepare for throughout the week."
Bob shifted over to the interior of the line and excelled in that role, and that switch could become more common down the stretch due to Kaden Anderson's versatility.
"We moved him (Bob) inside a little because we thought we had a real mismatch in there with just his length and his agility," Seibold said. "That's probably going to be something that's going to hold, but it's going to depend on opponent and what other people do. Kaden Anderson is a really versatile guy too. We were able to put him at end at move Walter inside, and that created some problems for them. That's going to be something we'll continue to play with."
Bossier, the Rams' main run-stuffer, held strong throughout the night, but wasn't tested much as the game went on since the Mighty Lions abandoned the run after falling behind.
"They (Lafayette High) were in pass mode so much and in '10' personnel most of the night," Seibold said. "We played a lot of three-man front against them just to get some more speed and athleticism on the field, but Trey typically does a pretty good job eating gaps and all that inside. All-in-all, the defensive line did a great job tonight."
The Wreckin' Rams finish the regular season 6-1 and appear stronger than ever heading into the playoffs as they look to get back to the Dome.
"We're definitely practicing a lot harder after last week and being more of a unit, which is great," George said. "It's perfect timing with the playoffs coming next week. We just try and always just play our hardest no matter the opponent. We have to be physical and play our technique (to get back to the Dome). We just have to continue to play hard, be a unit, play our technique and just keep working."