LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Basile Bearcats have always been in the mix in Class 1A. Basile has had double-digit wins in six of the past seven seasons and is coming off back to back trips to the quarterfinals.
“They’ve been able to play in a lot of big games and some tight games," Basile head coach Kevin Bertrand said. "Being able to have that experience in that type of game carries us forward because we’ve done it before. Our older guys, the seniors and juniors know what it takes to go through a long season like we’ve been having. Them being able to lead the young guys along is going to be a good thing for us.”
The Bearcats will be one of the more experienced teams in the area as they return 14 starters from a season ago. On the offensive side, they return a pair of running backs in Isaiah Ceasor and Logan David along with four linemen. That experienced group up front will block for a new signal-caller in junior Cole Manuel.
“During this offseason I worked pretty hard to get in this position and I think I’m ready," said Cole Manuel. "I think I’m settled in and ready to play the position and do well.”
“He’s grown tremendously," Logan David admitted. "He’s gotten strong in the weight room, he’s throwing accurate passes and making the right decisions.”
“He’s not fazed by it," Kevin Bertrand added. "A lot of people would be nervous about stepping into it but it doesn’t really bother him. He’s been preparing for it and I think he’s going to do a great job.
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Six return for Basile defensively, but one key piece that’ll be missing from 2018 is do-it-all linebacker Andre Reed. The Bearcats will be strong on the defensive front with Isaac Cortez and have speed in the secondary with Manuel and safety Logan David.
“He’s a tough kid to replace he really is. I think that we’re able to rely on more people this year and be able to do different things with them," Bertrand said. "I think we’re going to be a different team this year as far as not just having that one person that we count on to do everything and ask to do everything. We’re going to have several kids this year to be able to try and step up.”
“Our defense is built around stopping the run," said David. "We want to prevent running because that’s mainly what everyone does in 1A. We’re going to try and do that and if we stop the run then we will win.”
Though Basile returns a number starters, the Bearcats know they can’t hang onto the past and must go into 2019 with the right mindset.
“We’re not going to even rely on what we did last year except for taking away the experience," said Bertrand. "We know that this is a new team and we have to work hard everyday and try to get better at something.”