KANGAROOS BACK IN THE HIGHLIFE
Could this be the year?
Fifth-seed Kentwood has won eight straight games, dominating opponents to the tune of 317-62 in points scored. In his 24th year as head coach, David Currier has fashioned a brilliant 237-78 record (75%), winning back-to-back state championships in 1997 and 1998. While Kentwood has a storied program with seven state titles to its credit, the 14-year drought weighs on the team from "under the tank."
The Kangaroos (10-1) hit the road for another of those dreaded rematch games to take on 13th-seed Basile Friday night at 7 p.m. in the 1A quarterfinals.
In 2011, the Kangaroos dismissed the Bearcats 40-6 in the bi-district round of the playoffs. This one figures to be tougher.
Junior quarterback Tavarious Battiste runs the Kentwood offense. Battiste has completed 73-of-146 passes for 1,099 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. Battiste has rushed for 420 yards on 75 carries with eight touchdowns. Junior Leslie Collins is the 'Roos leading rusher with 72 carries for 698 yards and 12 scores and has 20 receptions for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Talented freshman Shyheim Carter has 43 carries for 454 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior Robert Trout has 20 receptions for 337 yards and three touchdowns and junior Thomas Route has 19 catches for 253 yards and three scores. Kentwood averages 36.8 points per game.
The Kentwood defense is outstanding. The 'Roos have pitched three shutouts and held opponents to an average of just 11.5 points per game.
Defensively, junior linebacker Jordan Taylor (6'0, 210) is the leading tackler with 97 stops while senior linebacker Rodney Williams has 81 tackles. Collins leads the team with four interceptions while sophomore defensive back Ryan Walker has three for the Kangaroos.
At 11-1, Basile has playoff wins over 5-1A rival Elton (17-16) and Louisiana New Tech-Plain Dealing (25-14). Tony Bertrand's Bearcats have a talented sophomore running back in Kendrick Ceaser, who rushed for 230 yards and all four touchdowns in the win over Plain Dealing. Ceaser has rushed 182 times for 2,151 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season. Basile passed for just 30 yards against the Lions but Trenton Pelloquin is a good leader. The Bearcats had to beat Elton for the second time in as many weeks to advance. Basile averages 27.8 points per game.
Defensively, Pelloquin had an interception from his safety position in the win over Plain Dealing while cornerback Mason Deshotel has been outstanding. The Bearcats give up just 10.1 points per game.
After reaching the regional round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, Basile is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996. They are at home this time around. This one figures to more competitive though the Kangaroos are the clear favorite in their quest to get back to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.