ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Stop number one was with the Avoyelles Mustangs. Last year, they went 5-6 with a 4-1 home record. They're looking to lock down on the home front once again.
“I think a 4-1 record is doable this year, and we want to go 4-1 on the road,” said head coach Andy Boone.
This team is young but they all want to eat.
Running back Donnell Carter is known for toting the pill. This season, he's looking to be on a new level.
“It’s smash mouth football,” said Carter. “That's what we do. We're going to get the ball and run it down your throat every time. I got my team with me, and I trust in my line. With them, I can do anything.”
On the defense, they're led by Garrett Clark (who also plays tight end). He says that age is nothing but a number. He's looking to see this team shine.
“Everybody wants to say something about Avoyelles, but it's all about the way we play,” said Clark. “Smash mouth football. We're going to go in, do what we have to do, and leave everything on the field.”
They've moved down into District 4-2A, but they aren't looking for any handouts.
“People sleep on us all the time, but it's our time to show them,” said Carter.
“Whenever we get out there, that’s our field. We're just going to play as a team and play our hearts out,” said Clark.
“It's going to be a tough district but we're looking forward to it. Plus, I think we'll be pretty darn good,” said Boone.
About 20 minutes down the road, the Marksville Tigers are coming off of a year that is almost the reciprocal to the Mustangs.
They went 6-5 on the year, with a 4-1 road record. Coming into this year, they’re looking for balance.
“We lost some really close football games,” said head coach J.T. Dunbar. “Our guys battled to the end. We feel with the type of experience we have in those type of ball games, we'll be much better this year.”
One person that doesn't need any balancing is Daniel Miller. He's like a flatbed truck, having wheels for days. However, he wants to see the offense grow around him.
“We've got big-play potential everywhere,” said Miller.
On the defense, linebackers Javon Sampson and Gavin Laird lead the way. Last season, the team held every opponent under 20 points. Sampson had a little over 100 tackles on the year, while Laird wasn't too far behind with 88 and 4 sacks. They both feel that this defense can be the best in the area.
“With our three linebacker set, we’ll go out there and do our stuff,” said Sampson.
“As the coaches say, I hate to use the word potential because that's the ability to have it,” said Laird. “I think we have a great ability to do something great. We're not perfect, but we're going to give a perfect effort.”
The question remains: is this team as scary as anyone else in the area?
“Teams need to know that we're going to be physical. We're going to come out and hit you,” said Dunbar.
“Don't sleep on us because there's big-play opportunity everywhere,” said Miller. “Our defense has a lockdown secondary, and we have real tough players in the box. Don't sleep on us.”
“We're coming,” said Laird. “You either be ready or you're going to sleep.”
“Strap up the pads and you'll see,” said Sampson.
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