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|Lions, Tigers ready to roar|
Following a 31-0 jamboree win over the West Ouachita Chiefs last week, the next test is a big one in the season opener for the Ouachita Lions.
One of the oldest and biggest rivalries in Northeast Louisiana football resumes Friday night as the Neville Tigers play host to the Ouachita Lions.
Neville, one of the top contenders in Class 4A this season, will present a challenge for the Lions as they continue to get some of their young players ready for district battles later this season. The Tigers bring back 35 seniors this year.
"Neville is a real fine football team," Ouachita head coach John Carr said. "We are young in a lot of areas and have a lot of work to do."
Ouachita got off to a fast start last week against West Ouachita and has found solid hands at both quarterback and running back.
Beau Jones impressed at quarterback for the Lions in the jamboree as he continues to improve each week.
"I thought Beau Jones had a great night at quarterback," Carr said. "We have work to do but he did some good things. At running back Ricky McCarthy made some good runs for us."
McCarthy leads a young, but plentiful stable of running backs that will be making plays for the Ouachita offense this year.
One thing Ouachita coaches wanted to see was the defense play up to their potential while the new look offense had a chance to catch up. That plan certainly seemed to go well in the jamboree with the team pitching a shutout against the Chiefs. Ouachita hopes to avenge a 36-25 home loss to Neville last season.
Quarterback Taylor Burch, a Louisiana Tech commitment, will be the daunting road block for the Ouachita defense this week. Burch has returned from a 2008 knee injury to the form that made him a star to begin his junior season.
He looked sharp in his return to game action in the 2009 Bayou Jamb versus Bastrop.
"The knee felt fine," Burch said. "We have some work to do but I thought we did real good."
Neville beat Bastrop 13-6 with Burch throwing to Corey Sampognaro for the first touchdown. Running back Rico Pollard got in from seven yards out in the second half to give the Tigers the decisive score.
Even with a great win that excites the Neville faithful, coaches will still be working hard to correct mistakes and make the Tigers even more improved this week.
"We gave great effort," Neville head coach Mickey McCarty said. "We have to tackle better and improve our offensive line play. I would like to see our quarterback play continue to get better."