The next three games for Leesville will go a long ways in determining where the Wampus Cats will sit come postseason.
As of now, Leesville (5-1, 1-0) is No. 10 in the Class 4A Power Rankings and with Grant coming to Wampus Cat Stadium. With matchups against DeRidder and Tioga in the following weeks, the schedule does not lighten up.
"Any game is huge after a couple of years ago, the state went with a power points system," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "Because of the way they do it, every Friday night is so huge with implications on where you find yourself in the Power Rankings with the draw and the seating. Where we are located at, we can't manipulate are schedule by getting the wins against the smaller schools that have won a bunch of games to come in and play us. We don't have that luxury so we just take what we're given. This game is just as big as any of the others."
The Grant (1-5, 0-1) defense is giving up 50.9 points per game, including giving up 70 points to Caldwell Parish and 67 points to Bunkie.
Leesville's offense starts with running back Andrew Croker whose ability to catch passes out of the backfield makes him a do-it-all athlete for the Wampus Cats.
Senior McKenzie Jackson, who committed to play corner at Navy, has 20 catches for Leesville for 319 yards and three touchdowns, although he does not play every snap on offense with his main role being a defensive back.
"We put him on defense and he subs in on offense," Causey said. "When you get into this time of the season, you need to win. You'll see Andrew (Croker) subbing in more on defense and you've already seen McKenzie starts to sub in more on offense. Their roles are expanded, because what are you playing them for? There's nothing to hold back."
Despite giving up so many points on defense, the offense is putting up 34 points a game, including 60 points performance against Bunkie.
The offense for Grant is led by a duo of running backs in Ro'Dara Ellis and Deante Lacaour.
"They're very explosive with their running backs. I feel like they are the best running backs we've faced all year," Causey said. "They remind me of the running back we've already faced from Rayne. They're very explosive and are high-knee drivers and refuse to go down. They are the workhorses, and when they get the ball, they are going to make you pay whenever you make a mistake. They're not as good as what we've seen on the offensive line but with the wing-T scheme that they run, they give them creases within that. What hurts them is handling the ball. They've had a lot of turnovers every game and they give up points with big plays. They worry me because they are quality coached.
"I was so impressed watching film on them. I've been worried about this game all year."
The Leesville defense has been steady all season, giving up 16.5 points per game and has picked off seven passes and collected 14.5 sacks.
"I don't know if you find a next level. You just try to be consistent in everything you do," Causey said. "You don't want to have a letdown where they overlook a team, because successful teams win one year and want to relive that moment. You want to develop a program where they have those expectations. I talk about what it takes to play Wampus Cat football. You want to build that program where that's the expectation year-in and year-out."