Demons heading to Leesville

Published 3:42 pm Friday, November 10, 2017

Franklinton takes to the road tonight, as the Demons travel to Leesville to face the Wampus Cats in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The 27th-seeded Demons faced a tough schedule and posted a 3-7 regular-season record this year. Two of the losses were by one point, and another was by five points.
“We played the toughest schedule in the state outside of 5A schools,” Franklinton coach Stephen Burris said. “We came out on the short end of the stick, but everybody’s got the same record now. Everybody’s 0-0 at this point. It’s 32 teams and it’s win and move on. Records don’t matter much right now.”
Franklinton faced nine opponents, as the Demons played Salmen twice, and eight of them made the playoffs. Franklinton’s opponents combined for a 69-29 record (.704 winning percentage). That record includes both games against Salmen.
The winner will play either No. 11 Rayne (7-2) or 22nd-seeded Helen Cox (5-5).
Lamount Harris leads the Demons with 115 tackles, including 10.5 for a loss, and 5.5 sacks.
“Lamount is a good player, but Lamount does what you can’t teach,” Burris said. “Lamount plays with maximum effort on every play and he’s a really good athlete. He can run. He can jump and he has great instincts to finding the ball. He always ends up around the ball.
“He might read wrong or be in the wrong place sometimes, but it is going to be maximum effort. If you had 11 Lamount Harrises on your team, nobody would be able to move the ball.”
KeAndre Martin has five interceptions to lead the Demons.
Offensively, Tahj Magee has thrown for 1,157 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions and he has run for 962 yards and 10 scores.
TreQuan Charles enters with 672 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He has also caught 17 passes for 121 yards. Charles also has 147 passing yards and a touchdown.
Rakerian Conerly starts the week with 38 catches for 548 yards and six touchdowns, along with 272 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Lagarian Bell opens the week with 42 catches for 463 yards and three touchdowns.
Shayland Allen has caught 15 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown.
Burris talked about the key to winning the contest.
“If we don’t turn it over and give up home runs and long passes, they can’t beat us,” Burris said. “That’s how they score. I think we’re better than them up front on both sides of the ball. We have to stop number 28 (Andrew Croker) and 10 (McKenzie Jackson). (They) are pretty good players.”
Burris said that Leesville throws deep about 15 to 20 times a game.
Sixth-seeded Leesville, which is about 45 minutes west of Alexandria, tallied a 9-1 record in the regular season.
Robert Causey is in his second year as Leesville’s head coach.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Causey said. “The ball’s bounced our way a few times this year. Our kids have bought into the program we’ve put in. It’s not focusing on winning and losing, it’s about putting forth relentless effort in everything you do. It’s something we’ve put in our offseason.
“It’s about caring about your teammates, putting them first and respecting your opponents. At the end of the day, the chips may fall where they may, but it’s about going home, being able to look yourself in the mirror, and knowing you gave a great effort.”
Causey credited Franklinton on the schedule they played and how competitive the Demons were against some of their opponents.
Leesville has been balanced on offense this season. The Wampus Cats have thrown for 2,102 yards and run for 2,099.
Quarterback Chris Vargas enters with 1,899 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to go with 70 ground yards and three scores.
Croker leads the team in rushing with 766 yards and five touchdowns. He is also the leading receiver with 36 catches for 651 yards and eight touchdowns. D’ante Gallashaw has 600 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Jackson has 505 receiving yards on 29 receptions and four scores. Duwon Tolbert begins with 26 catches for 497 yards and six scores.
Matthew Pajinag is the team’s leading tackler with 89. He and Steven Thomas have made 10 stops behind the line and Derek Hurt, who has 59 tackles, has eight for a loss.