LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s been a historic year for the Grand Lake football program, as they’ve overcome everything that’s been thrown their way. That includes their run through the Class 1A playoffs. In the quarterfinals, the No. 3 Hornets defeated the 11-seed, Centerville, to advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history.
“It feels pretty good,” Grand Lake quarterback Connor Guillotte said. “We’re just happy to be out here. We’re living in the moment and taking everything day by day.”
“Really, it’s just a blessing. To finally make it here, for the first time in school history, we’re just all so excited and ready to play,” Grand Lake linebacker Cole Matt said.
It was a tale of two halves for the Hornets against the Bulldogs. The game was tied at six heading into halftime before Grand Lake would score 21 unanswered points to win, 27 to 6.
“We drove the ball well in the first half, but we just didn’t get any points out of it,” head coach Jeff Wainwright said. “So, we were able to gain confidence in the whole first half of what to do. Then, we made a few little adjustments at halftime with the blocking, and then the boys just were able to move the ball great.”
“The first half was difficult,” Matt said. “We were prepared for them, but, at the same time, we were all nervous because it was our first quarterfinal game. But then after the first half, we came out firing on both offense and defense and we put on a show from there.”
Grand Lake’s next challenge will come from a familiar face. The Hornets will travel to the two seed, East Iberville. It’s the same program that eliminated Grand Lake in the second round a season ago.
“Very athletic team,” Wainwright said. “We played them last year in the playoffs and lost in overtime to them. It was a heartbreaker and we still remember that feeling and taste of it. So, we’re getting ready for this game, but, at the same time, as a competitor, you want to go back. So, we’re going back and hoping to change the outcome.”
Regardless of the outcome on Friday, Wainwright and his coaching staff could not be prouder of the Hurricane Hornets.
“These kids are having fun playing ball for this hour after school but are still going home to homes that are damaged. I think the reactions sometimes you have to a game coming up, we’re not really feeling that emotion. We’re just lucky to be playing,” Wainwright said. “We’re grateful for it, we’re prepared for it. We’re going to play for our community and not let them down.”