It appeared that Westgate and Carencro might be headed in opposite directions entering Thursday night's game on Westgate's home field. Westgate, which is known for starting out sluggish and finishing with a bang in the postseason, had captured five straight wins after early losses to powers Breaux Bridge, John Curtis Christian and St. Thomas More.
Carencro, meanwhile, was coming off its only loss of the year. The Bears, coached by Brent Indest, spent the first seven weeks of the year ranked No. 1 in 5A by Scout.com. In week eight, however, defending state champion Acadiana defeated Carencro, 32-14. In that game, the Bears' usually potent offense was held under 200 yards and superstar senior RB Alex Johnson was limited to 81 yards.
In the early going Thursday evening, Westgate seized the momentum. After forcing Carencro to go three and out, the Tigers quickly struck on their initial possession when QB D'Nerious Antoine tossed a play-action pass to Marcellus Thibodeaux.
Carencro's offense had trouble moving the sticks on the first couple of drives, but the Bears made the necessary blocking adjustments and got down to their customary business of pounding the football. Offensive tackle Jordan Walker, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound senior, was sidelined due to a reported concussion, and the Bears lost another starting lineman during the game when Tyler Smith went down with an injury.
Despite having both Walker and Smith out of the lineup, Carencro was able to chew up the clock for the bulk of the contest. QB Jalen Nixon ran for 99 yards and three short touchdowns. At a legit 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Nixon is a powerful inside runner who has the strength of a fullback. While Nixon (pictured at bottom) doesn't have any reported offers yet, he's going to play college football. The senior is an ideal student who possesses the ability to play several positions (QB, WR or even LB). Junior wingback Jaylan Rose displayed excellent cutback ability in the open field. He's been a great change of pace this year for the Bears.
Johnson has run for nearly 1,800 yards this fall with 24 touchdowns. He's a durable dynamo who runs much harder than your garden variety back, despite the fact that he has average size (5-10, 190-pound range). Johnson sliced and diced his way through Westgate's front seven for 178 yards and systemically wore down an above-average defense. In Carencro's usual Wing-T and Double Wing sets, Johnson makes the vast majority of his living toting it between the tackles.
Three-star defensive lineman Jacoby Briscoe is listed as a tackle on Scout, although he lines up at end on Carencro's beefy front four. Briscoe, like Nixon, is every bit as big as his reported height and weight. He's 6-foot-4 and an easy 290 pounds. There's been reports that Briscoe doesn't always play up to his potential, but he's impressed in multiple games this season. The senior is well-proportioned with quick feet and good leg drive. If he starts playing with more of a mean streak, the sky is the limit.
Westgate QB/DB D'Nerious Antoine played his heart out in a losing effort, At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Antoine could be a terrific safety prospect on the next level. He demonstrated eye-opening speed and a stubborn unwillingness to go down when carrying the football. Antoine was an ironman against Carencro, running his team's I-formation option offense, fielding kicks in the return game, and playing safety with reckless abandon.
Sophomore tailback Jamal Sam has a nice future ahead at Westgate. He's approximately the same size as Antoine (listed at 6-1/195). Sam ran for five touchdowns the previous week vs. Thibodaux but looked tentative carrying the ball at times against an aggressive Carencro run defense. Sam did break a lengthy kick return. He has the complete package and will undoubtedly learn to run with more authority as his career progresses.