River Bell rivalry returns to Strawberry Stadium


File Photo/The Lion's Roar

Southeastern football players raise the River Bell Trophy after defeating Nicholls State University 21-17 in 2017. This will be the first time both schools are ranked in the River Bell Classic game. Nicholls and Southeastern will be playing for the Southland Conference title.

The university prepares to face off in the River Bell Classic game against in-state rival, Nicholls State University, on Thursday, Nov. 21 in Strawberry Stadium.

The Lions will put their four-game winning streak to test by facing the number 19 ranked team in the STATS FCS Top 25 poll.

Frank Scelfo, head coach of football, explained how he felt his defense performed in the last three games.

“I have been preaching turnovers for the whole season now,” said Scelfo. “I think we did a great job with their two quarterback system. When they brought their passing quarterback out, we did a good job pressuring him when he dropped back and then when they brought their wildcat quarterback out. We did a good job stopping the run.”

If the team wins on Thursday, the Lions will earn a share in the Southland Conference Championship. Scelfo shared how it would feel to win the conference.

“It would be great to win the conference,” said Scelfo. “This week there is not much motivation needed as the guys know what’s at stake. We take a week by week approach and try to go 1-0 week in and week out.”

A victory against the Colonels will guarantee the Lions a spot in the FCS Playoffs for the first time since 2014. Scelfo commented on how it would feel to reach the playoffs.

“Everyone on the team and the coaches are striving for that,” shared Scelfo. “But, we have to focus on the tasks that lies ahead of us. We understand that if we lose, it could be the last ever college football game for 23 seniors. We need to go out there, execute and do our job in order to win the game.”

With a shorter-than-usual, four days of rest for the university, Scelfo shared how the team has prepared months in advance for the season finale.

“When we got the schedules, the coaches and I sat down and planned everything for this week,” said Scelfo. “We knew this game has been scheduled for Thursday for the whole season now. So, we are not surprised and we are well prepared. The players got their weekly schedule yesterday, and they know what they have to do in order to win this week.”

With Nicholls’ senior defensive linemen, Sully Laiche, winning Defensive Player of the Week, Scelfo shared how the Lions look to game plan for him.

“We know he’s a physical, hard-nosed lineman who’s not scared to get after you,” said Scelfo. “We don’t know how we are going to game plan against him yet. We may run right at him with a couple of blockers going after him, or we may try to run the opposite side of him. Regardless, he is a great athlete and football player, and I hope the next Sully Laiche comes to Southeastern.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Chase Fourcade, the four year starter senior quarterback, will require a lot of attention from the defense, according to Scelfo.

“He’s is an amazing quarterback who can run and throw the ball really well,” said Scelfo. “He knows how to read coverages really well, and he has two great outside receivers. He has helped Nicholls be a contender year after year, and he’s not scared to get after it. He is going to require a lot of game planning and attention.”

This will be the 29th time that the Lions will be facing off against Nicholls State University, but the first time both schools are ranked with a conference title on the line.