East Iberville, Tara square off in unusual nondistrict game; Dunham-Port Allen open 7-2A

Friday, 22 September 2017, 12:56:22 AM. East Iberville is off to its best start in recent memory, but Tigers coach Ron LeJeune isn’t taking it easy any time soon.

East Iberville is off to its best start in recent memory, but Tigers coach Ron LeJeune isn’t taking it easy any time soon.

“The teams are about to start getting a little tougher,” LeJeune said. 

LeJeune is right. After playing three Class 1A teams, East Iberville (3-0) takes on Class 4A Tara (2-1) Thursday night at Belaire High School. The nondistrict game is one of three varsity contests. The Dunham School (2-1) travels to Port Allen (1-2) for a District 7-2A opener. False River Academy (1-2) hosts unbeaten Sacred Heart-Ville Platte (3-0) in a 5-1A opener. All games start at 7 p.m.

Playing a school three classifications higher is often a daunting task, but LeJeune said the Tigers employed their usual practice plan — focus on fundamentals and keep things fun — to prepare for the Trojans.

“As long as you prepare every day and practice hard and you’re doing all the little things right during the week, if you get beat by a team that has more talent than you, you’re still a winner,” said LeJeune, who has directed EIHS to three wins this season after the Tigers finished 1-9 a season ago.

Tara coach Terry Washington said East Iberville’s speed on offense, led by senior quarterback Lyndell Joseph, will challenge the Trojans. Joseph has 158 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground, along with 183 yards passing and one touchdown pass.

“We’ve told our kids all week, be mindful that this team is 3-0,” Washington said. “We’re 2-1. It should be a pretty good game.”

East Iberville must find a way to slow down the Tara ground game led by running back Chris Avery, who has collected back-to-back 200-yard games. After getting shut out in its season opener, Tara has scored 51 and 55 points in wins over 3A Glen Oaks and 1A Slaughter Community Charter.

“Chris Avery has done a tremendous job thus far running behind a big, physical offensive line,” Washington said. “He’s picking his holes. He’s being patient. As long as he’s being patient running behind the offensive line, he’s doing pretty good.”

DUNHAM AT PORT ALLEN: Starting district play might be a bit of a reprieve for Dunham and Port Allen, who have started their seasons against nothing but higher classification opponents.

The Tigers have beaten 3A Baker and 4A St. Michael the Archangel after falling to 5A Central to start the season. Meanwhile, Port Allen beat 3A Brusly and then lost to 4A Plaquemine and 3A Donaldsonville.

Powered by quarterback Mike Williams, running back Treylan Mouton and wide receiver Derek Stingley, Dunham is averaging 41 points per game. Port Allen, led by quarterback Harold Jones, is averaging 17 points per game.

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