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|'I think our guys are getting the message'|
Ouachita coach says team needs consistency, fewer penalties
Playing smarter football was the focus this week in practice for the Ouachita Lions as they prepared for the Natchitoches Central Chiefs.
Despite a 50-7 rout of Pineville in District 1-5A last week, Lions coach John Carr said his team is still making too many mistakes.
"There are some things we are just not consistent with such as penalties and we're making too many mental errors. We're making a lot of pre-snap penalties and we're putting the ball on the ground. We just can't make those mistakes. The scary thing is we're still doing that and we've got to address it with our kids," Carr said.
"But, I think our guys are getting the message," Carr added.
The Lions had 10 penalties Friday against the Pineville Rebels. So far this season Ouachita has averaged roughly 10 penalties each game.
Compared to last year, it was not until week seven that the Lions accumulated 10 penalties, Carr said.
"It's hard to overcome that," Carr said.
Regarding the pre-snap fumbles, Carr said his team is recovering the ball, but the negative plays will only hurt the Lions' chances of winning, especially down the road in a tough district.
"We mostly run out of the shot gun and we've had some bobbled snaps and we're putting the ball on the ground way too much. We've got to get that cleaned up in practice," Carr said.
"This is a young and inexperienced team and we're not taking care of the ball. We've got a tough schedule and we're in a tough district, so we can't continue to make those mistakes."
The Lions lost 35 seniors from last year's team and runs mostly with sophomores and juniors this season.
Despite their youth and inexperience, Carr said there are many things his team is doing right.
"Defensively, our linebacker play is one of the bright spots," Carr said.
Senior Andy Roberts and junior Teron Bell started for the Lions last year as linebackers and they've stepped up their game this year, Carr said.
"They really are the backbone of this defense," Carr said.
Offensively, Carr has been pleased with the play of receivers Justin Ginyard and Tim McNeil, as well as tailback Ricky McCarthy.
"Justin and Tim have played very well and both have made some tough catches. Ricky is starting to progress and run a little tougher. So, we've got several guys w ho are stepping up and starting to play well," Carr said. "We're just mishandling the football. That has been our Achilles heel."
McCarthy rushed for three touchdowns last week against Pineville and ended the night with 77 rushing yards on 11 touches.
Ginyard caught three balls for 98 yards against Pineville while McNeil had a touchdown on one of his two catches.
Carr is also pleased with kicker T.J. Kijak who he says has "kicked really well" all season.
"He's a confident kid who's made some good kicks for us during some clutch games," Carr said.
Regarding the upcoming game against Natchitoches Central Friday at home, Carr said his team had better be ready because the 0-4 Chiefs are hungry for a win.
"They're playing good football right now, but they're just doing a lot of the same things we're doing and that's turning the ball over," Carr said.
Kickoff at Ouachita High School is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. The game will be broadcast on Rock 106.1 FM with the pre-game show beginning at 6:30 p.m.