LA MARQUE

It’s been a tough start to the season for the La Marque Cougars, but the team’s leaders on offense and defense are keeping their eyes forward and feel like they are moving in a positive direction.

“What the coaches keep telling us is it’s not about what we did last week or the week before, it’s about the next week ahead of us,” senior running back Perry Preston said.

La Marque has learned hard lessons from its two losses to start this season, but players are absorbing those lessons and improving, head coach Shone Evans said.

“Listening to the guys, they’re hearing what we’re saying,” Evans said. “As coaches, we have to focus on the little things, and that’s what we’re doing now. We’re focusing on getting back to basics.”

In both of their losses, the Cougars got off to rocky starts, but showed no signs of quitting, battling both opponents to the end.

“Week by week, we’ve finished hard,” senior running back Norvan Saldana said. “If we start doing that in all four quarters as we keep going, we’re going to make it through the season pretty good.”

While the two hard-nosed senior running backs will be expected to lead the Cougars’ offense, a pair of junior defensive linemen — Gene Gee and Sterling Mack — are the unsung heroes of the defense.

“Offensive and defensive linemen very rarely get credit, but they do all the dirty work and get it done,” Evans said. “They’re going to be leaders of our defense for the foreseeable future. We just have to keep them going.”

As players improve upon their conditioning and execution of schemes, they also feel like building a strong bond also will be key to the team’s success.

“We just have to come together as a family,” Mack said.

Up next for the Cougars is a budding new rivalry game with their neighbors just a few miles to the southwest the Hitchcock Bulldogs. But, La Marque’s players aren’t treating the game differently from any other.

“It’s a big game because it’s the next week,” Gee said.

Kickoff for the La Marque-Hitchcock game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Etheredge Stadium.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

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