Panthers kick off district play against Erath

By: SCOTT JOINER
District football arrives tonight as Berwick travels to Erath for the first game of District 9-3A play.

Berwick is 0-3 so far this season and Erath is 1-2.

The clean slate coming into district has both teams likely thinking they can make some noise in the district.

Patterson is the front runner at 2-0, while the other six teams in the group have a combined four wins with no team having more than one win.

With seven teams in the district, the Panthers get started earlier than most schools in the area, but Berwick coach Craig Brodie wasn’t worried by the early start.

“I’ve been in districts where we start in week two,” Brodie said. “It is what it is. But our district opponents, nobody is doing great — except Patterson. None of them have two wins and only a couple have one win. Just looking at that it looks like it will be pretty much up for grabs.”

Erath works out of a triple option formation with Cole Clostio the leading runner so far with 239 yards on 38 carries with two touchdowns. Cole Bourque has also racked up impressive numbers with 195 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown.

“They run what Franklin runs, the triple option,” Brodie said. “It’s the Navy, Air Force triple option. We’ve got to be disciplined in our reads. It’s a very simple offense. They run three or four plays and don’t throw the ball very much. They’re not real complicated or tricky. They try to hit you in the mouth with the veer and if you stop that, they run a sweep out of the option. You just have to play assignment football.”

Erath coach Destin Dietrich had a chance to look at film of the Panthers and knows they are better than the final scores have indicated in their three losses.

“They’re pretty talented,” said Dieterich. “They just need to stop shooting themselves in the foot. All three games (that they’ve played) they’re down 21-0 before they can blink an eye. That’s from turnovers and silly mistakes that a young team and a young coaching staff will make.”

The Bobcats won the first game of the season but have dropped two in a row since then with a case of youthful mistakes, similar to Berwick, tripping them up.

Erath is the second ranked offense in the district with 745 yards but the defense has allowed a district high 1,126 yards due to missed assignments and issues with tackling.

“We’re still making youthful mistakes,” said Dietrich, “And we’ve got to get over that. We’ve got to grow out of our growing pains really quickly or it’s going to be the same tune.”

Berwick has played a tough schedule with highly ranked Central Catholic last week and Chalmette was able to overwhelm the Panthers in the season opener and the early mistakes were costly in a winnable game against Morgan City.

“We’ve worked hard this week at practice, so I think we’re feeling pretty good about (the start of district),” BHS senior Tim Billiot said. “Everybody is working hard and since we started out slow we’ve been stepping it up and I think we’re pretty confident going into this week.”

District play should give the Panthers a gauge of how far they’ve come this season, and the field is wide open after the favorites down Hwy. 182 — the Lumberjacks.

“We’re 0-3 right now and we played some pretty good football teams with a combined record of 8-1,” Brodie said. “We’re excited. We’re looking at the other teams in our district and I think we can be very competitive.”

Kick off is set for 7 p.m.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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