Football scrutiny — particularly for a run-oriented team — can come fast and furious these days. But with a team that is 2-0 and ranked No. 10 in Class 1A, East Iberville coach Justin Joseph has no worries with his Wing-T offense.
“You know what they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said Joseph, in his first season at the St. Gabriel school. “Now if teams decide to pack it in to stop the run, we have a plan.
“But our strength is running behind our line. We have all those guys returning and we’re going to take advantage of that as much as we can.”
The Tigers, who travel to play Class 4A Belaire on Friday night, have had a different 200-yard rusher each week this season. In a Week 1 win over Varnado, running back Chris Boudreaux rushed for 254 yards on 11 carries with three touchdowns.
Quarterback Roderique Valentine picked up where Boudreaux left off. He ran for 246 yards on 22 carries and scored three TDs in a 34-32 win over Central Private that was a tale of two halves in more ways than one.
The Tigers raced out to a big lead last week. After an hour-long lightning delay Central Private charged back, something Valentine sees as a cautionary example.
“At halftime, I told everybody the game wasn’t over,” Valentine said. “And after the lightning delay (Central Private) came out ready and came right at us.
“Hopefully, now we understand that you can’t take anybody for granted. We have a lot of seniors and a lot of skill players. I think there are still things we can do to get better.”
Valentine is in his third year at EIHS after transferring from East Ascension. At first, he was not fond of the Wing-T options and longed to play in a spread offense. His opinion has changed.
Boudreaux, who transferred from Dutchtown, is a second-year starter who has excelled in the Tigers’ all-important wingback role for a team that has 18 seniors.
“Chris and I had a bet before the game last week. The goal was for me to get the same number of yards he had, and I just missed,” Valentine said. “Obviously, the goal is for both of us to get a lot of yards. You want balance.
“And like coach said, if the other team loads up for the run, we can throw the ball. We have guys who can catch. Because this is my second year at quarterback here, I feel more comfortable with whatever we do.”
But Joseph said does not want the Tigers to be too comfortable, noting that Belaire is coming off a win over a win over one of EIHS’ District 7-1A rivals, St. John.
“You have to remember one thing about winning … it can be contagious,” Joseph said. “Belaire got a taste of it last week and they want it again. We have to be ready for that.”