Grand Lake prepares for first-ever state championship game

Hornets will play top-seeded Oak Grove in title game
Updated: Dec. 22, 2020 at 6:05 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Grand Lake is one of two teams representing Southwest Louisiana in a state title game.

2020 has been a tough year for the people in Cameron Parish, but over the last few weeks, the Grand Lake Hornets have been able to bring a little light to the community, through football. Grand Lake has dominated its way through the Class 1A bracket and is now heading to the state championship game for the first time in school history.

“It’s great,” Grand Lake running back Levi Murrell said. “Being able to help coach Jeff get to his first state championship and seeing a smile on everybody’s face just brings back some normalcy for our community.”

The Hornets defeated East Iberville in the semifinals by only allowing them eight total points. Over the last four games, the Hornets defense has been unstoppable holding opponents to an average of a little over six points per game, giving up a total of 26 points during the postseason.

“Every offense is designed to work, but then the defense has to stop it by beating the block, defeating it, and getting to the ball. Our defense is doing a tremendous job at that, head coach Jeff Wainwright said. “The guys that are taking on the blocks at the point of attack and doing a good job at their leverage and then the rest of the defense is just doing a good job running to the ball.”

“Our defense has been everything for us. We don’t have a ‘go out and score a lot of offense,” Wide receiver Kyler Little said. It always comes down to our defense, holding them to fewer possessions than us. So, for our linebackers and everyone else to get to the ball and give them fewer drives and stop them on fourth downs means a lot.”

Next up for the Hornets is the top seed in Class 1A – Oak Grove. The Tigers have advanced to the title game after a 47-point win over Homer last week.

“They have a power run game just like us. Similar to a lot of veer, a lot of option, a lot of counter plays,” Wainwright said. “It’s definitely going to be similar styles going at it as far as in the run game. They have a very strong defense and they aren’t giving up very many points.. Their offense gets a lot of credit because they have a lot of flashy scores, but their defense is not giving up yards and their box players are great and their D-line is great.”

The Hornets remain confident and prepared for their first-ever title appearance, but regardless of the outcome, for them, it remains all about the journey.

“For our community, this is an unbelievable experience,” Wainwright said. “As a kid, we used to ride through Grand Lake and look at the Christmas lights. This particular year, I ride on the streets every day and night and there’s hardly any Christmas lights. There’s a lot of pride on that road. A lot of homeowners with beautiful homes that have been damaged. This year, because of all the damage, there’s just not many people that have much time or maybe their home was completely destroyed and that’s why the lights aren’t up. I think with the football team will be able to put the lights on inside of the house, around the dinner table, and under the tree. I’m thankful for the power of sports to give that to them. I know next year everything is going to be back to normal here in Grand Lake and people will rebuild, but this year we needed this run to help heal emotionally what the storm did to our community.”

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