KINDER, La. (KPLC) - The Kinder Yellow Jackets are back in the Class 2A title game for the fourth time in eight seasons.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been this far, and anytime you make it, it’s special no matter how many times you go,” admitted Kinder coach Bret Fuselier. “It’s special because you know you’re playing to prove that you’re the best in the state at what you do.”
The Jackets are back at this stage for the first time since 2015.
Like previous incarnations of championship Kinder teams, the defense stands out. Only once this year has Kinder allowed an opponent to score more than 22 points.
“I feel like we are underrated as far as our defense, I wish they would say more about us. We have definitely meshed together,” Kinder linebacker Trenton Bono said. “If you go back to the Loreauville game, they had five turnovers and they didn’t score off any of them. That’s almost unheard of. I can’t say enough about those guys.”
During their playoff run, the Jackets smothered Mangham’s and Loreauville’s high-powered attacks, allowing just 40 combined points. Both teams averaged at least 37 points per game coming in.
“Our defense these last couple of weeks have been keeping us in the game until we can figure it out on offense,” said Fuselier. “That’s what they’ve done and on the flip side, our offense has responded when they need to make plays.”
That offense, while not flashy, has been one that’s found ways to make plays on fourth down and crucial situations over the past month. The improved play of Graham Fawcett at quarterback is a big factor why.
“He’s having his best games of the year these past couple of games. Since the playoffs have started actually. It has done a lot for our offense,” Fuselier said. “He’s reading our offense and making plays in the running game and the passing game.”
Kinder will see a strong quarterback on the other sideline in Many’s Zequarrius Rhone. Rhone is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports. The top-seeded Tigers’ whole backfield stands out in their power running game as Many put up 83 points vs. General Trass in the semifinals.
“It’s no secret what they’re going to do, it’s just they’re good at it. They run right at you, they’re athletic, their linemen are always good and you know they do a good job in the scheme that they run,” admitted Fuselier. “Then they throw on top of that, a quarterback who is a dynamic kid who can beat you with his legs and beat you with his arm.”
The two schools will meet in the 2A title game for the third time this decade, with the rubber match deciding who will hoist the 2020 championship trophy.
“[Many is] great program and a great team. I have a lot of respect for them, but when it comes Sunday at 1 o’clock it’s going to be a battle and a fistfight,” Bono said. “Hats off to whoever wins it.”