2020-UnionParish at Monroe Ouachita football

Played at the Lions Den, Monroe, LA. Photo by TOM MORRIS/TheOuachitaCitizenCcom. All Rights Reserved.

Marcell Henderson and Boris Richard combined for five rushing touchdowns, as Ouachita’s ground attack proved to be too much for Bastrop in a 62-26 victory at home.

With three different players eclipsing the 100-yard mark, the Lions rushed for 365 yards in their first victory of the season, as Ouachita now turns its attention to a road contest with West Ouachita Friday night.

“It’s really weird,” Ouachita head coach Jeff Fitzgerald said. “I was looking at Hudl earlier (Saturday) as we were exchanging film. It’s like we’re just jumping straight into district. And we’re creeping up on the end of October. It’s like, man, where did the time go?”

As Fitzgerald anticipates another hard-fought contest against a West Ouachita team he called much better than people give them credit for, he’s already starting to challenge his team to channel its focus. Because in the win against Bastrop, there were times were Ouachita looked like world-beaters offensively, and there were other times where, well, they didn’t.

“It’s one of those deals where we would have some success a couple series in a row, and then relax and have a couple ugly series. That’s something we have to work on,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to work on the mental side.”

Physically, Ouachita’s offensive line did just fine pushing Bastrop defenders around for talented skill players to make big plays throughout the contest.

Henderson caught a short pass in the flat from senior quarterback Zach Shaw before turning up field for roughly a 50-yard touchdown reception.

Meanwhile, Richard found the end zone for the first time of the night with a 17-yard run in the first quarter. That allowed the Lions to take a 14-12 lead, and really, there was no looking back afterward.

While Henderson and Richard certainly made plays at the next level that led to those scores, it was the undersized offensive line that made the huge holes up front for them to run through.

“They’re not real big, but they play with a lot of heart up front,” Fitzgerald said. “We went into this season thinking we’d have four returning starters. The past two weeks we’ve had one returning starter back, so we’re young again on the offensive line. The good thing is these guys have a little ability, and they’re extremely coachable.”

Brandon Kimes’ five-yard score off the pop pass allowed the Lions to take a 20-12 lead in the first half.

Thompson recorded an interception for the second consecutive week for the Rams. That gave Bastrop an opportunity to make it a 34-26 contest at the end of the third quarter.

“That goes back to that focus part of it,” Fitzgerald said. “Crazy thing is if we could ever just put it all together on both sides of the ball, we would be a good football team I believe. We came out of the half with a two-touchdown lead, and then we just kind of floundered in that third quarter. And give credit to Bastrop. They came out determined.”

Richard’s 69-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter marked the third time he found the end zone against Bastrop.

On the defensive side, Jaylen Kincaid made his first interception of the season. The junior cornerback recorded a team-high six interceptions as a sophomore last year.

At 1-1, Ouachita now hits the road for a matchup with the (2-1) Chiefs. And Fitzgerald knows it’s going to be a dogfight.

“Coach (Matt) Middleton does a tremendous job with his team. They’re a hard-nosed team that’s been fighting their tail off every game. They’ve had a lot of success over the last couple of weeks.”

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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