Morgan City preps for Vandebilt

By GEOFF STOUTE

gstoute@daily-review.com

They just need to play better.

That was the message Morgan City High School coach Brandon Nowlin said often when he discussed his squad’s upcoming game with Vandebilt Catholic (7-1 overall, 2-0 in District 8-4A) Friday.

The Tigers (4-3, 0-2), currently trying to break a three-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0, need to improve in all aspects, Nowlin said.

That improvement certainly will be needed in the next two weeks when Morgan City faces District 8-4A top two teams, Vandebilt Friday and Assumption next week.

“We’ve done some good things, but we got to try to go out there and play a little bit better, play a little bit cleaner and try to win a game,” Nowlin said.

Most recently in the Tigers’ slide, Morgan City suffered a 42-27 loss to South Terrebonne at home Friday.

In the loss, the Tigers’ first at home, Morgan City had no answer for South Terrebonne’s run game, which totaled 395 yards on an impressive 60 carries. While Morgan City’s offense came alive in the second half as quarterback Hoang Nguyen tossed two touchdown passes and running back Eric Walker scored another, the Tigers could not overcome

the 21-7 halftime deficit.

Because Morgan City has been hampered by the injury bug, the Tigers will be counting on both a mixture of younger guys as well as some older ones to help the squad try to salvage what started out as a very promising season.

Morgan City will need its best effort to stop a Vandebilt Catholic team that is riding a seven-game winning streak.

Vandebilt’s lone loss of the season was in its opener, a 27-15 setback to E.D. White.

Since then, the Terriers have been unbeatable.

However, Vandebilt has had its challenges, most recently last week when it took three overtimes for the Terriers to dispatch Assumption, 44-42.

Vandebilt Catholic quarterback Elijah McGuire, who entered last week’s contest as the state’s top rusher with 1,346 yards on 105 carries and 16 touchdowns, continued his dominance on the field with 268 more yards on 25 more carries and four touchdowns.

“The quarterback makes it go,” Nowlin said of Vandebilt’s option attack offense. “He’s … the difference maker on offense.”

However, Nowlin said McGuire isn’t all the Tigers will have to contend with as Vandebilt has a capable running back as well as weapons at slot back and receiver.

Vandebilt’s offense can put points on the board in bunches, too, as it has put more than 30 points on the board in five contests this year and more than 40 on the scoreboard in three straight games.

On defense, Nowlin said the Terriers will come with pressure and are physical at the line of scrimmage.

He said the Terriers give multiple looks and pressures and are good at mixing coverages.

At times this year, though, Vandebilt’s defense has given up points in bunches.

Besides last week, the Terriers have given up more than 30 points in a win against defending Class 3A state champion St. Charles Catholic and in a win against Plaquemine.

While the Tigers will need good line play as well, Nowlin said that his squad’s offensive success against Vandebilt also lies in winning the matchups at skill positions.

“You just got to try and win individual matchups and try to mix it up as much as you can” on offense to keep a defense guessing, Nowlin said.

Nowlin took time during his pregame remarks to note the progress of his younger guys this year. Among those were sophomore Jalen Jones, who has been an offensive spark for the Tigers all year and freshman Jacolbi Francois, who led the Tigers in rushing last week. He also had good things to say about juniors Malcolm Wakins and Tirye Oloney.

He said going forward, the Tigers just have to keep a positive frame of mind and continue to compete.

Friday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Information from Houmatoday.com was used in this story.

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