OCS vs Sterlington - 2021 BayouJamboree

Played at Malone Stadium, Monroe, La. 27Aug2021. Photo by TOM MORRIS/The Ouachita Citizen. c.TomMorrisPhotos.com. All Rights Reserved

The Ouachita Christian coaching staff wants to get one message across to its talented football team this week — Cedar Creek is a play or two away from being undefeated heading into Friday night’s matchup.

The (1-1) Cougars picked up their first victory of the season last week against Delhi after falling to St. Frederick, 7-6, in Week 2. (The Cougars’ first game against Liberty was canceled due to Hurricane Ida.)

“The point we’re trying to make is they could very easily have won that ballgame against St. Frederick,” OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh said. “We’ve got to play our best ballgame this week.”

Fitzhugh said he traded film with Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton last week and was impressed with the size and throwing ability of quarterback Caden “Peanut” Middleton.

“They’ve got a couple guys on film that really stand out,” Fitzhugh said. “They’ve got a very good ball club. They’re well coached in a new system. It’s going to be much different than last week.

The (3-0) Ouachita Christian Eagles got to work on its pass attack in a 47-12 victory against Sicily Island Friday night.

One week after riding the big veteran offensive line and running back Chad Strickland’s ground game against Oak Grove, the Eagles looked for Landon Graves to air it out against the Tigers. And he did it in style with the second highest pass efficiency in school history, according to OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh.

“We know coming into a game like this if we’re going to pass the ball, we’re going to need to do it early on,” Fitzhugh said. “And Landon had a great night throwing it around. What was great too is that it rained a lot. So we got some good experience throwing it and catching it in the rain.”

Graves finished with an eye-popping stat line: 9-of-13 completions for 253 yards and five touchdowns. His No. 1 target Tristan Wiley, who recently committed to Air Force, reeled in three catches for 139 yards and three scores.

Strickland ran the football just six times for 50 yards and a score.

Noah Lovelady led the Eagles with 10 tackles, which included five tackles for loss. Lovelady and Owen Hudnall each recorded two sacks in the victory. Casey Cobb, Ryder Bentley and Ben Devall also collected sacks in the win.

As flashy as all those stats are, perhaps the statistic that Fitzhugh liked the most was the zero turnovers committed by the offense. That was an area the team concentrated on going in.

“We had three turnovers against Southwood and had multiple turnovers against Oak Grove, so we challenged them this week about that,” Fitzhugh said on Saturday. “Zero turnovers last night. That was the positive. That’s the key this week. Take care of the football, and defensively, last night we gave up some big plays that we have not been doing. Sicily Island beat us on some big plays, so we have to work on that.”  

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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