By Malcolm Butler
Jerrod Baugh knows he sounds like a broken record.
But the Bearcat Boss also knows he speaks the truth.
This week his Ruston High team will face its third Top 10 opponent in as many weeks when third-ranked (Arkansas Class 7A) Cabot comes to Hoss Garrett Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff tonight.
“They are really good,” said Baugh. “They have beaten two really good football teams so far. They made a run in the playoffs last year. I know everybody thinks I’m a broken record when I say this is another really good football team, but that’s really the truth. But once you get into the playoffs that’s how it is. You play good teams over and over and over.”
Seventh-ranked Ruston (1-1) fell 25-19 in overtime to Warren Eastern in Week 1 and then held on late to defeat Jesuit 28-23 in Week 2. Baugh said he knows his team is improving by facing this type of stiff competition early in the year.
“That’s another reason you play these types of ball games,” said Baugh. “If you are really good you may go several games into the season without playing top-notch competition And you don’t get into four quarter shape. Right now we played an overtime game and a full four quarter game.
“We are getting into playing shape. Being in those pressure situations and figuring out how to deal with that I think is a big bonus for us. It’s making kids have to grow up a little bit faster than what they might.”
Baugh also knows finding a way to win against JEsuit last week was a huge confidence boost.
“I think it was big,” said Baugh. “Just because I really felt about that ball game as I did Week 1 against Warren Easton. If something goes wrong at the end and Jesuit wins the ballgame at the end, nothing has changed as far as what might have happened during the game and what we still need to go back and work and improve on. Finding a way to win that ball game like that was something we need to learn to do. So it was a learning experience for us.”
Baugh said the Cabot series is a two-game contract and the Bearcats will return the game next season.
“It will be a rough road trip next year,” said Baugh. “Warren Easton will come back here next year but we will go to Jesuit and then we will turn around and go to Cabot. Those will be two tough road trips. I try to stagger those (tough games), but I couldn’t make that happen this year. That will be something we have to deal with. That could be something you have to deal with in the playoffs, making a road trip and then turning around and making another tough road trip.”
Kyle Roberts and Nick Brown will provide the radio call of tonight’s game on 107.5 FM with the pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be streamed lived on BearcatNationNetwork.com.