Bogalusa plays its home opener tonight

Published 1:24 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Bogalusa plays its home opener tonight, as the Lumberjacks host St. James at Lewis V. Murray Jr. Stadium in a battle of 0-1 teams.
Bogalusa enters this week looking to bounce back from a 35-0 loss to Southern Lab, which enters this week as the No. 1 team in Class 1A in the Louisiana Sportswriters Association poll.
Despite the final score, Bogalusa hung tough. The Lumberjacks trailed just 7-0 at halftime.
“On film, I don’t think you can help but be impressed by their size and athleticism,” St. James third-year coach Dwain Jenkins said about Bogalusa. “When you watch their game against Southern Lab, and Southern Lab is one of the toughest teams in the state, it was 7-0 at halftime.
“That can’t help but get your attention. Bogalusa struggled at times against Southern Lab, but Southern Lab had something to do with that. The game kind of turned on a special teams touchdown and interception for a touchdown.”
Bogalusa and St. James met last season, with St. James winning, 19-12.
Lumberjacks first-year coach David Roberts said offensively his quarterback Tym Toussaint and running back Sean Forbes are running the ball well.
Defensively, he said the defensive backs are playing well.
Roberts said his team needs to keep turnovers down and play for four quarters.
St. James begins the second week, following a 12-6 loss to West St. John. West St. John is receiving votes in the Class 2A poll by the LSWA.
The Wildcats are having to play without two key players with injuries. Junior quarterback Lowell Narcisse and junior wide receiver Dontaze Costly are both out.
Narcisse, an Auburn commitment, tore his ACL in the spring game and is out for the season.
“He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the country,” Jenkins said. “He committed to Auburn this summer. He led us to back-to-back quarterfinals as a freshman and a sophomore. Last year, he had 4,500 yards of total offense. He passed for 3,000 and ran for 1,400. Obviously, going into the spring and coming off last spring, there were a lot of expectations. Right now, we’re trying to find out way without our best player.”
Sophomore Demarcus Williams takes over at quarterback.
Last week, he ran for 47 yards on 20 carries while throwing for 128 yards with two interceptions on 9-of-26 passing.
Roberts said Williams is an extremely fast player.
“We’ve got to stop that quarterback from running,” Roberts said. “He’s fast. He likes to get out of the pocket. I think if we keep him in the pocket, we’ll be fine. If he escapes, we could be in trouble.”
Costly had more than 1,000 receiving yards last season, with 15 touchdowns.
The other two receivers for St. James are senior Aaron McKenney and junior Curtlan Johnson.
Jenkins said McKenney, a Nichols State commitment, is a tall, rangy receiver who had more than 500 yards last year. Johnson was also over the 500-yard mark in receiving yards. McKenney had five catches for 90 yards last week while Johnson caught two passes for 19 yards. Also, Rashod Pierce posted two receptions for 90 yards.
The running backs are Aquindas Steib and Dantez Sterling. Steib is an all-state linebacker, who is getting carries. Last week, he had seven carries for 10 yards. Sterling, a freshman, ran for 7 yards on six carries in his first live varsity action last week.
Defensively, St. James primarily uses the 4-3 formation. Jenkins said Steib is the leader of the unit. Outside linebacker/safety Jai Lewis accounted for St. James’ scoring last week when he ran an interception back for a touchdown. Jenkins said he makes a lot of “splash plays.”