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Grand Lake Hornets preparing for quarterfinal game vs No. 6 Haynesville

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 9:30 PM CST
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Grand Lake, LA (KPLC) - The Grand Lake Hornets have made practicing during Thanksgiving a new tradition with back-to-back trips to the quarterfinals.

“The goal coming here for myself was just to give back to the kids what I had growing up when I played,” said Grand Lake coach Jeff Wainwright. “There is nothing like Friday nights in Cameron Parish.”

Wainwright believes his long and winding road back home to Cameron Parish in 2019 was essential in having his Hornets prepared to ascend as a program.

“Everything else in my career has gotten me the experience I needed to get this team where it’s at today. We have used things on this team that we picked up at Lake Arthur, from South Cameron, from Kinder and things from Sulphur,” said Wainwright. “It was all to get this community and program where we’re at. All those stops were worth this year.”

The Hornets’ blueprint from a year is a similar one to this season— run the ball, protect the ball and play great defense. The Hornets are allowing 11 points per game this season and in the playoffs haven’t allowed more than eight points in four of their last five games.

“Whenever we get to the playoffs, I think something clicks in and we get really focused,” said linebacker Grant Trahan. “We watch film more and we get aggressive during practice and really focus on what their offense runs. We really get after it.”

That streak will be tested this week with 1A royalty coming to town. The Haynesville Golden Tornado and their potent offense will travel south having scored at least 40 points in eight games this season.

“Everybody is picking Haynesville to win this game. It’s very simple to see that we are the underdogs in the situation. We are fine with that. We are at home and we have been the underdog in every game since I’ve been here,” said Wainwright. “We feel comfortable in our role right now. I think the later in the game and the closer we are, the more nervous people she gets on the other side. This team feels comfortable in tight, close games.”

“They are a really good power running team and they have great backs in number three and number four,” said Trahan. “We are going to have something special for them to stop them.”

And that special something, believe it or not, is a turtle.

“We have a little magical turnover turtle,” said Wainwight.

“I believe there is some magic,” said Trahan.

“We found him on a muddy day and he’s been our turnover turtle ever since,” said lineman Jesus Morales.”l

“The team has really bought into this turtle and it’s helping us in situations to make it hard for the opponent to win,” said Wainwright. “Last Friday, we feel like Oberlin missed the ball at the end of the game that could’ve helped continue their drive. We did find some evidence that maybe the turtle had helped us.”

How concrete was that evidence?

“Well, it’s in a black folder,” joked Wainright. “It’s blacklisted.”

“He said he saw some turtle wax by their sideline,” Morales said of Wainwright. “He said the ball may have slipped out and helped us out for that game against Oberlin.”

“Hands are tied on the evidence with the turtle wax, but the ball was definitely slippery in the second half for Oberlin,” Wainwright admitted. “Something looked out of character.”

We reached out for comment, But he declined to comment on the allegations.

Whether or not the Hornets need a turtle to help them shell shock the Golden Tornado remains to be seen. What is known? How seniors are approaching each playoff game.

“It’s a different feeling. For me as a senior, you never know, it may be my last one,” said Morales. “You may as well just have fun doing it and play hard.”

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