When Cedar Creek and St. Frederick square off Friday night in a District 2-A showdown at Cougar Stadium, two familiar faces will be standing on each sideline.
Creek head coach Matt Middleton and St. Fred head coach Andy Robinson have known each other for a long time. Middleton was a graduate assistant for Jack Bicknell at Louisiana Tech in 2001 when Robinson was a senior quarterback on the Bulldogs squad.
Fast forward 20 years and now the two will lead their respective teams into the Friday night showdown in Ruston. It will mark the season opener for the Cougars who saw last week’s game against Liberty Magnet canceled due to the affects of Hurricane Ida in Baton Rouge.
Middleton said his team is more than ready to play a game.
“It’s been a really good week of practice this week,” said Middleton. “I think the kids are chomping at the bit to play. Obviously, St. Frederick has a game under their belt and probably a little more of playing shape than we are. It’s hard at the level we are at to get into football shape until you actually play. We have kids playing both ways. It’s been a really good week of preparation and I think they are excited and I know I am at the chance of being able to play Friday.”
While Cedar Creek was idle due to the cancellation, St. Frederick defeated Holy Savior Menard 35-10. Thus the Warriors may have the edge of having a game under their belt.
“Yeah they have played,” said Middleton. “I am anxious to see where we are at as a football team. They are really solid on defense. Their defensive coordinator has done a great job. He’s a guy that coached me in high school. And Andy Robinson has done a really good job with that program. We are going to have our hands full.
“The biggest thing for us is to limit the turnovers and hopefully have some explosive plays and get into a rhythm. For us running our offense the way we do and throwing it around a little bit we got to find a rhythm and complete some balls. Hopefully start fast. That is the biggest thing and not just dip our toe in the water but jump. I think if we can do that we can have some success.”
Although Robinson has the advantage of having played a game, he also knows that not having a good look at Cedar Creek can be challenging entering the match-up.
“That is the key thing. We have been limited to put eyes on them as a team with them not playing last week,” said Robinson. “There is a new scheme on offense with Matt coaching there. They are still attacking in a lot of different ways. They will be really efficient with the way they throw the ball, and the things they will do in the run game.
“With Coach (Mark) Ware staying there on the defensive side, they are just solid. Very sound. Very fundamental. They are a pretty solid football team. This is my fourth year at St. Frederick and we have played those guys each year. And we haven’t won over (at Cedar Creek) in a very long time.”
Middleton knows his team is in for a test.
“They have a tailback that rushed for over 200 yards last week,” said Middleton. “They have a young quarterback that I think is a little operator. And he has done a good job of getting the ball to his play-makers in space. They have some weapons. Any time you face that it’s a little scary. They are really sound. That’s the biggest thing. They are not going to beat themselves.
“We play really aggressive defensively. (Coach) Ware has done a great job with the defensive plan. The kids have executed it well. I think one of our biggest strengths is we fly to the football. Obviously, St. Frederick had a good week last week and had a lot of yards rushing. We are going to have to be physical up front and fly around.”
The contest can be heard on 101.9 FM with Kevin Bayles and David Cole providing the call of the action. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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Photo: Darrell James
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