Carencro is currently ranked No. 48 in the nation by Scout.com, and head coach Brent Indest gave us his midseason take on the Bears' progress.
"It's been fun at the school," said Indest, who has made a habit of winning at every stop (Kaplan, Crowley, etc.). "The pep rallies have been different than in the past. It's homecoming week, and it's crazy. Before the season, we probably sold 60% of our season tickets and now we're sold out. It's nice. The kids are working hard and reaping the benefits."
Indest's double-wing offense is directed by senior QB Jalen Nixon, who is a physically-impressive specimen at 6-foot-2 and 220-to-230 pounds. During the off-season, Nixon had surgery on his ankle and the dual-threat signal-caller appears to be a picture of perfect health this fall.
"I'm probably holding Jalen back some," said Indest. "He's 100% with the ankle and we could be using him more with the running game, but we haven't had to. For us to make any kind of run in the playoffs, he's going to have to be healthy. Jalen is doing what we ask. He completed 10-of-13 passes against Lafayette when we decided to open up the offense, and that was with two drops. He made a 25 on his ACT and is a B student. Colleges have probably held off because of his ankle, but by Christmas time I expect him to have several offers."
Senior RB Alex Johnson has been the state's leading rusher for the vast majority of the season. Through five games, Johnson has approximately 1,200 yards on the ground, including a 346-yard effort vs. Calvary Baptist. Last Friday, he averaged more than 20 yards a pop (7 attempts, 219 yards, 4 TDs) vs. Sam Houston.
"Alex has done everything we've asked of him and more," said Indest. "And, he attributes all of his success to his offensive line. He's done a great job. He gets into the secondary and makes people miss, and runs through and around people. He's showing more speed than last year. He's a God-gifted athlete and combines that with being a hard worker. Nobody works harder on our team than Alex. Whether it's in the weight room or agilities, he's the first one finished, the last one to leave, and he constantly picks up his teammates. He's a joy to coach and is in unbelievable condition. He wears you down as a defense."
The Bears have a nice change of pace in both the ground game and the passing attack with junior wingback Jaylan Rose, who is averaging 10 yards per carry. Earlier this year, Rose rambled for five touchdowns vs. Calvary Baptist.
"Jaylan has been a huge surprise for a lot of people, but we saw what he could do in the spring," said Indest. "He made a run against Sam Houston that probably nine of ten backs wouldn't make. Each week he has improved as a blocker and he can catch the football."
Senior WR Shawn Thomas set a school-record vs. Lafayette by hauling in 10 receptions.
"Shawn is a difference-maker," said Indest. "He affects how teams defend us. We will go to him in a second."
6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman Jordan Walker leads an aggressive, overpowering offensive line.
"He's probably the most improved player of all," said Indest. "Jordan's become much more tenacious over the past six weeks. He's coming off the ball lower and with more intensity. He's getting after it and is being nasty."
On defense, the Bears are bullish about seniors Jacoby Briscoe and Adam Clark.
"Jacoby is a legitimate BCS D-1 player and is playing like it," said Indest. "He's not flashy but is solid and takes advantage of opportunities. Clark has a high motor and while he needs to continue improving his technique, he's still talented enough to make big plays. He's an emotional kid who is all over the field - down after down - when his motor is rolling. He's a long kid with long arms."
This week, the Bears face Comeaux (2-3). A crucial three-game stretch follows with tilts vs. high-scoring Barbe, defending state champ Acadiana, and 2010 semifinalist Westgate.