With a 40-0 win against Pineville, West Monroe has now shut out its opponents for three consecutive weeks. The Rebels have allowed just seven total points through the first four weeks of district competition.
But West Monroe head coach Jerry Arledge knows his team will get its stiffest district test Thursday night when (5-4, 4-1) Ruston heads to town.
“They’re always a competitive team, and Coach (Jerrod) Baugh does a great job getting his team ready. We’ll accept the challenge,” Arledge said. “This will be for the District 2-5A Championship, and I think it’ll be a packed house. Might want to get your tickets early.”
Ruston enters the contest giving up just 15 points per game in district play. West Monroe has not lost a district game since 2002, but Alexandria and Ruston are each 3-1 in district play. A win for Ruston, and a win for ASH against West Ouachita Thursday, would create a three-way tie. Of course, the Rebels could flat out win the district title with a win against Ruston Thursday in Rebel Stadium.
And history certainly favors the Rebels. A West Monroe victory would mark the 95th consecutive district win for the No. 2 team in Class 5A. With West Monroe looking to secure a top four seed Friday night, Ruston will look for an upset to move from No. 20 to inside the Top 16 for an opening round home playoff game. But that's easier said than done in Rebel Stadium.
West Monroe enters this contest allowing just 5.8 points per contest this season. The lowest points per game West Monroe has allowed in a single came back in 1998 when the Rebels held opponents to 6.4.
If points are hard to come by when these two teams meet, West Monroe fans better hope Peyton Todd makes yet another impact on defense and special teams. In West Monroe’s 40-0 win against Pineville Friday night, the junior punter made his presence felt on special teams but not in the way you might expect. Todd blocked Cameron Page’s punt and fell on it in the end zone for the first score of the night.
Perhaps nothing put a bigger smile on West Monroe coaches Friday night than seeing the Rebels passing game get off the ground. The Rebels completed 8-of-12 passes for 150 yards in the victory.
“The passing game kind of went south for us when Garrett Kahmann got hurt, and it’s been a development process with Lane (Little),” Arledge said. “He’s gotten better. He’s working hard every day. We wanted to do a little bit of throwing against Pineville and were able to do so. But when you can average five or six yards on the ground, why not run it? We’re not concerned with how we win. We’re just worried about winning.”
Early on, it was Little with the hot hand. Little connected with AJ Fenceroy for a six-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Rebels a 14-0 advantage.
One possession later, Little took the air again to find wide receiver Jerry Day for a 30-yard touchdown.
West Monroe H-back Cayden Pierce wanted to get in on the fun, as well. But first he found the end zone on a four-yard score to gain a four-touchdown lead for the Rebs.
Pierce might as well change his jersey number to No. 7 because West Monroe’s Swiss Army knife continued to do a fine Tayson Hill impression Friday night. Pierce, who plays more positions than one can count on one hand, tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Day to put the Rebels up 33-0 at the half.
“He could be a great linebacker for us too if we wanted,” Arledge said. “No doubt in my mind.”
Rayshawn Pleasant added a 4-yard touchdown early in the third quarter before the Rebels called off the dogs.
Little finished the contest completing 6-of-9 passes for 100 yards and two scores. Day had, by far, his biggest game for West Monroe, as he reeled in three catches for 121 and two scores.
As for the defensive standouts, defensive lineman Ty Allen recorded two tackles for loss, while linebacker Tanner Zordan added 1.5 TFLs. Kade Pittard picked off Pineville quarterback Darnell Bayonne. Bayonne completed just 12-of-27 passes for 77 yards and an interception. Pineville amassed 164 total yards in the loss, while West Monroe totaled 332.