Editor's Note: Louisiana Lafayette had to forfeit this game due to player unavailability. Louisiana Tech wins the Deep South.
The Deep South Men’s College DII Conference comes down to this weekend as Louisiana-Lafayette takes on Louisiana Tech.
It’s been a tight race, with Tulane making a late run and pushing both teams, but La Tech just squeaked in ahead of Tulane.
This will be he first time in 18 years that Tech is playing for a conference title. Meanwhile, ULL has boasted the most potent offense in the conference despite being in what Coach Boyd LeJeune calls a rebuilding year.
“We have dealt with numbers issues all season,” said LeJeune. “But when they stay committed we can do very well. These young men have made me very proud and realize the importance of what we learn can transcend the game and lead into their development as young men.”
The only loss for Lafayette was a 23-22 decision to Louisiana Tech September 20. LeJeune said Tech deserved the win, but at the time his team was struggling with consistency at training, and the loss was a bit of a wakeup call.
“This time we have a little more time under our belt but we are again struggling with other work and school commitments,” said LeJeune, adding what many Southern teams have said, that the switch to fall has been tough on them. Tough also has been the fact that the team’s mentor - sort of the team dad - died suddenly this fall, and that shook the players.
But they have rebounded. Several players have helped bring ULL together. Among them, Gerardo Abscal, who was capped by Guatemala this year. Giancarlo Rodriguez, a sub for most of his career while training behind the team’s established scrumhalf, took control of that position this year.
Murphy Bell is not a big man but is a devastating tackler at flanker, while No. 8 Robbie Cooks “is a gifted lineout artist,” said the coach.
Meanwhile out wide Houston HS product Roderick Blouin is central to their offense.
But more than that, they have come together.
“I have gotta say I have been blessed to be part of the culture down here and hope we played a positive part of these lives,” said LeJeune.
The Ragin Cajuns take on the Bulldogs Saturday at 2pm at Louisiana Tech's campus in Shreveport, La. for the Deep South championship.