WATSON – During consecutive defensive series Live Oak’s Aiden Saunders tried lighting a fire under his team.
It took until the second game of Wednesday’s Baton Rouge Metro 7-on-7 League where the Eagles, which had already fallen to St. Helena Central by a touchdown, were stuck in neutral both on offense and defense against Central Private.
That’s when Saunders stepped in with back-to-back interceptions – both of which led to touchdowns for the offense – to provide Live Oak with some of its more positive moments in the second week of league play.
“We were down, and I just tried to give my team as much as energy as I could,” Saunders said. “We’re trying to learn as much as we go. We didn’t really have the greatest showing. That’s for us to come out and work, get better and come out next week and do even better.”
Live Oak fifth-year coach Bret Beard didn’t mince any words after a relatively positive outing the week before.
“I wasn’t excited the way we came out of the building,” he said. “Eventually they’re going to have to learn that caring about your teammates and Live Oak football is ultimately doing the job we’re asking them to do. If it doesn’t mean enough to you, and you’re going to continue making the same mistakes over and over, then it becomes our fault for still playing them.
“We’re giving them every opportunity to show us what it us they’re taught to do, and do the job, or ultimately we’ve got to find somebody else,” Beard continued. “If we continue to do what we’re doing and put them out there, then that’s our problem and it’s an issue that we’re going to get straightened out.”
Beard took exception to the number of mental mistakes by his team that ranged from misalignments to missed assignments.
The end result was a less-than-stellar outing against St. Helena Central, Central Private and Madison Prep.
“There comes a time where if you truly care about the process and what we’re doing here, you have a job to do and it’s got to be done,” Beard said. “You can’t ask every play what to do or where to line up. This isn’t real football. Real football is getting the assignment and getting it done. Their mindsets are lagging right now.”
Quarterback Rhett Rosevear (6 of 9, 90 yards, 2 TDs) provided the offense with an early lift, leading the Eagles on consecutive scoring drives that culminated with a 25-yard scoring pass to Freddy Braden and 10-yarder to Blaise Preister.
Those scoring drives were sandwiched in between a pair of touchdowns from St. Helena, which following an interception of Rosevear, needed two plays for a go-ahead 7-yard TD pass.
The final two offensive series for the Eagles ended in sacks.
“We saw some good things but right now our good things are greatly outweighed by our negatives,” Beard said. “If our negatives are going to continue to outweigh our good things, we’re never going to get better or get to where want to get. That’s on us as coaches and we’re going to continue to try and fix that.”
Against Central Private, now a Class 1A member in the LHSAA, Live Oak’s offense was unable to get on track until Saunders provided a spark with his two interceptions.
Rosevear (21 of 32 for 251 yards, 4 TDs, 2 interceptions overall) passed 3 yards for a score to Ben Sleeth and rolled out to connect with Baden on a 30-yard score in the corner of the end zone.
The Eagles defense, a mix of first and second team players, surrendered a 45-yard TD pass after a defender fell down on the play and a 6-yard score on Central Private’s final play.
Madison Prep scored on its first two series with TDs of 18 and 13 yards, respectively, when Rosevear directed a lengthy 9-play drive that wound up with a 1-yard scoring flip to Kobe Bradley. Defensive back M.J. Hughes added an interception on the Eagles’ last defensive series.
“We’ve got to get better every day and every week,” Beard said. “I’m not pleased that we did take a step back.”