The fast-paced action of a basketball game doesn’t always translate into success on the football field, but its something that has worked well for White Castle quarterback Javier Batiste.
Batiste, a senior point guard for the Bulldogs basketball team, has been a part of two Class 1A state championships as well as a run to the quarterfinals on the hardcourt. He uses his skills differently on the gridiron, but he has found success running the Bulldogs offense.
With an emphasis on having a balanced attack, the White Castle offense has thrived with Batiste passing for 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 1,023 yards and 13 more scores.
Batiste’s leadership has helped White Castle to a 6-3 record, 3-1 in District 7-1A.
“It's been going good,” Batiste said of the season. “We’ve been working hard trying to distribute the ball to the outside guys. Once they get going, we hand it off to our running backs.”
The outside guys include wide receivers Keith Landry (20 receptions for 435 yards and five TDs) and Alex Brown (18 catches for 304 yards and two TDs). Running back Marcus Williams has 110 carries for 1,039 yards and 13 TDs and has also caught 19 passes for 272 yards and four scores.
“(The offense) got like that this year,” Batiste said. “I feel like me and coach (Aaron Meyer) have a better connection this year.”
That connection will get a rest this week. White Castle completed its regular season last week with a 70-0 win over St. John. Currently rated third in the Class 1A power rankings, the Bulldogs have already qualified for the LHSAA playoffs and a likely home game in the first round.
White Castle hasn’t had a regular-season bye since 2009, when it was open in Week 4. Taking Week 10 off with a chance to heal up before the playoffs begin is an appealing scenario for Meyer.
“It's really good (to have the week off), and to know we did what we needed to do in the first nine weeks,” Meyer said. “We know we’re going to have time to get kids healthy, go to the doctor if they need to, get all of that taken care of this week, and then next week get ready to play a ballgame.”
Getting ready will involve the Bulldogs defense, which has relied on many of the players that are offensive stars.
Williams has been particularly disruptive on defense, where he plays linebacker. He has made 48 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and six sacks. Defensive end Marquel Carter has eight sacks, and Landry has three interceptions from his cornerback spot.
One player who doesn’t go both ways is Batiste, whose worth to the team has been invaluable on the field and in the locker room.
“He understands what it takes to win in the quarters and the semifinals of the playoffs,” Meyer said. “Just going down to Lake Charles and pulling that off, winning two championships, its been a big help having his leadership ability.”