ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - While you may have never heard of the Mid-South Elite Football League (MEFL), one of their developmental teams has some of Cenla’s most passionate athletes. The Alexandria Bayou Bengals will compete in the MEFL Championship game this weekend as they try to go undefeated for a second straight season.
"It's been a real good season. We're 11-0,” says Bayou Bengals head coach James Crockett. “We've got guys that come from all over the state. It's been fun bringing some kind of recognition to the community. It's been fun. It's been real exciting and we're looking forward to continuing doing that type of thing."
The Bayou Bengals are on a 21-game winning streak dating back to their 10-0 season in 2016 in which they won the Southern Developmental Football League championship. Their key to such success, having the best defense in the country that's allowing just over half a point per game.
"This season we've only allowed six points and with both seasons combined I think it's somewhere around, between two seasons, somewhere around 18 points,” adds Crockett. “Not bad for 21 games. Twenty-one games, 18 points - I'll take it. On any level."
What types of players are on this dominant team? Not only are there 20 local athletes, but about 15 guys make the drive from Shreveport and Baton Rouge to play for the Alexandria Bayou Bengals as well.
"You've got your local law enforcement officers, police officers, firemen. Everybody coming together. Some kids that have just graduated. Maybe haven't actually qualified for college yet,” describes Crockett. “So, we've got a whole combination of everything. It shows that when you bring all of that together, you've got something special."
The Bayou Bengals have been around since 2009 offering men 18 and older another chance to play football, whether it be in college or professionally in the arena league or just because they have a love for the game.
"Straight to college may not be for everyone,” says Crockett. “So, giving an opportunity for a young man to continue doing something he wants to do while he's actually working you provide that opportunity. Just because you don't go right to college doesn't mean it's over. I think that sometimes we do that too much. We'll put that responsibility on kids and they feel like, 'Oh, I didn't get immediately a scholarship, so I ain't that good.' That's not true."
The Alexandria Bayou Bengals (11-0) will face the Central Mississippi Owls (10-1) Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in the MEFL Championship game at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. The Bayou Bengals shut out the Owls in Week 1 this season, 20-0.