No. 6 Leesville will face its toughest task of the season Friday night, but it has been preparing for matchups like this all season.
The Wampus Cats take on No. 11 Assumption with a spot in the Class 4A State Quarterfinals on the line.
"I just look at it as here is another opponent coming in" Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "I've gauged our team and program every week. We scheduled in order to stress us. We scheduled 3A teams out of Lake Charles because they're physical and well coached. We played Pineville because they are well coached and spread the ball. They do things offensively that make you get better.
"It is a big game, but I view it the same way that I viewed the first 11. They should all stress you. All of them should make you better."
The Mustangs leaned on an explosive rushing attack to en route to a 9-2 record and a perfect 6-0 district record.
"They're a physical running team," Causey said. "They take advantage of your coverage with passing concepts but they're going roll right at you with isos, powers and counters.
"They play a physical brand of football. You have to be physical in the playoffs, and anytime you play a team in the I-10, I-20 and I-12 area, you are going to get punched in the mouth. They do that. They're a battle-tested football team and a program that is used to going deep into the playoffs. This is normal for them."
Assumption defeated No. 22 Carencro 8-6 in the first round, and Causey has been at work trying to figure out how to slow down the Mustangs.
"You can tell that they are well coached," he said. "They do things well and are fundamentally sound. It's going to be quite a challenge for our kids. They have made us work this week as coaches and in our scheme. They made our program better because of the way they made us work this week."
The Assumption offense averages 25.8 points a game this season, while the Wampus Cat defense is giving up 18.8 points a contest. It will have to be engaged mentally to snuff out the different runs of the Mustangs.
"You taught your kids how to be the hammer and not the nail," Causey said. "Read your keys and line up right. Once the game starts, you start adjusting the game plan. There are no secrets. It's going back to old fashion football: hand placement, pad level, lining up right, read you key, be upset when you get there. We've simplified some stuff because they do give you a lot of formations. They stress you because they line up in 20 or 30 different looks to run basic plays."
On offense, Leesville is led a trio of running backs – D'Ante Gallashaw, Caleb Gallashaw and Darius Sawyer – and quarterback Jacob Mount, who has been 19 touchdowns in his first season behind center.
"At this point in time, you have to be able to run the football to win and throw the ball when it's advantageous to you, not the other way around" Causey said. "It goes back to what our strengths are – running the football and up front. That's what we have to do. If they are forcing us to throw the ball when they want us to, we're in for a long night."
Leesville and Assumption kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Wampus Cat Stadium.
When Causey took over the program three years ago, having the community involved in the program was a big goal of his, and he hopes it will pay off Friday night.
"We are starting to see that with the motorcycles, fireworks, packed stands, people coming back and season tickets are up," Causey said. "To me, it's not all about winning, It's about being involved and supporting your school. Football is the one sport that hundreds of kids are involved in. That's your band, your pep squad, your dance line, your cheerleaders and parents. It's really a community sport, and that's what I like to see."