Road to the Dome: LHSAA Class 4A First Round Recap
by Jace LeJeune
This week starts arguably the best time of the year for Louisiana High School Football as even though the regular season has ended, a new season has arrived and that is the playoffs. The playoffs are always unique in the sense that is unlike the regular season as you lose, there is another week to play. In the playoffs, there is no tomorrow because if you lose, you go home. Through all the classifications and all of the teams in the playoffs, there is one goal and mind and that is to be one of nine teams in the end holding a state championship trophy in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the Queen smash hit “We Are the Champions” playing in the background. For Louisiana football fans, this is the most wonderful time of the year. This year, we got you covered as for the next couple of weeks, we will go through all of the matchups from 1A all the way to 5A each and every week leading up to the All-State Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic from December 7th-9th. We weren’t able to get in our 4A playoff preview before the games start, but we will give you a quick recap of the games and what actually went on before we give out our second round previews for tomorrow.
Class 4A: (Note: All higher seeds hosts home playoff games this week)
#1 Edna Karr Cougars (11-0) defeats #32 Buckeye Panthers (5-6) 54-13.
Game Recap: The Edna Karr Cougars are trying began their quest for a second straight Class 4A state championship and a third straight championship appearance as the number one seed against the #32 seed Buckeye Panthers. The Edna Karr Cougars may not have Aldon Clark (Arkansas State) at quarterback, but they sure have another good quarterback this season in Skyler Perry, who accounted for five touchdowns with four through the air and one on the ground to score the Cougars’ first five touchdowns. While the Edna Karr passing offense was clicking, the defense was dominant as the Cougars forced four Buckeye turnovers in the first half including a 28 yard interception for a touchdown by defensive lineman Terrance Casey-Charles. It was simply too much for Jonathan Landry and the Buckeye Panthers to handle as Brice Brown and the Edna Karr Cougars roll in the end 54-13. The Buckeye Panthers end their season with a respectable 5-6 record while the Edna Karr Cougars will keep their championship defense going against #16 George Washington Carver.
#2 Lakeshore Titans (11-0) defeats #31 Pearl River Rebels (4-6) 42-0
Game Recap: The Lakeshore Titans, under the leadership of Craig Jones, have had a dream season going undefeated in the regular season, winning the District 8-4A district championship, and hosting a playoff game with the number two seed. The next goal, for the Titans, is to win the first playoff game in program history against first year head football coach Boomer Danfrod and the Pearl River Rebels. The Titans had no trouble in getting the program’s first victory as the whole team was dominant in all three phrases. On offense, the Titans had over 400 yards of total offense. Lakeshore senior QB Chris Penton completed only eight of nine passes, but for 215 yards and three touchdowns. The Titan defense was dominant sacking Pearl River QB Justin Dean for more yards than Dean was able to pass through the air with -40 yards coming on sacks and only 37 passing yards through the air. The special teams also made some big plays including a blocked punt that set up another Lakeshore touchdown. All three factors played a part in Lakeshore’s 42-0 shutout victory over Pearl River. The Pearl River Rebels will end their season with a 4-6 record while the Lakeshore Titans continue the program’s best season next week against #18 seed Tioga.
#3 Benton Tigers (11-0) defeats #30 Breaux Bridge Tigers (5-6) 56-28.
Game Recap: The Benton Tigers, led by Reynolds Moore, enter the 4A playoffs with another strong regular season effort with a 10-0 record and a district championship, but the question is if the Tigers could carry that regular season success in the playoffs against a respectable opponent in the Breaux Bridge Tigers led by Terry Martin. The game was close in the beginning with the score being at 14 a piece, but that is when the Benton offense broke this game open. Benton senior QB Garrett Hable proved why he is one of the best quarterbacks in this 4A bracket having his best performance when it mattered most. Hable threw for 292 yards and five touchdowns while running for 77 yards on the ground. Hable did a great job of distributing the ball to his playmakers as top receiving targets Doyle Adams, Legend Denier, and Bubba Osby combined for 12 receptions for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. RB Jermaine Newton had a great second half for Benton rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns. When the offense clicked for Benton, the defense stiffened forcing two interceptions and making sure that their star receiver Terry Steward was not going to beat them. Benton’s strong second half was the key factor as the Benton Tigers defeated the Breaux Bridge Tigers 56-28. For the Breaux Bridge Tigers, they end their season with a 5-6 overall record while the Benton Tigers advance to the next round to take on the #14 seed Cecilia Bulldogs.
#4 Warren Easton Eagles (9-2) defeats #29 Carencro Golden Bears (4-7) 48-0.
Game Recap: The Warren Easton Eagles, led by Jerry Phillips, came into this game against the Carencro Golden Bears, led by first year head coach Tony Courville, trying to bounce back from a 40-6 blowout loss against the Edna Karr Cougars. Unfortunately, for the Golden Bears, the Eagles took out their frustrations on them. It was a dominating performance by Warren Easton as the offense racked up almost 600 total yards of offense and only gave up an incredible 115 total yards defensively. Warren Easton QB Lance Legendre threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Legendre sure gave his playmakers the football as Yoheinz Tyler had three catches for 129 yards and a touchdown and Sheldon “Stick” Jones had four catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, the rushing duo of Dewitt Johnson and and Ashaad Clayton combined for over 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Eagles to make a well balanced attack. The Eagles dominated the Golden Bears from start to finish with the final score of 48-0. For the Carencro Golden Bears, they will finish the season at 4-7 and for the Warren Easton Eagles, they will face the #13 North DeSoto Griffins.
#28 Belle Chasse Cardinals (7-4) defeats #5 Plaquemine Green Devils (8-3) 21-19.
Game Recap: This matchup turned out to be one of the biggest shockers over the first week of the LHSAA high school football playoffs as the #5 seed Plaquemine Green Devils, led by Paul Distefano, were looking to make a state championship type of run like the team did in 2014, but the #24 seed Belle Chasse Cardinals, led by Stephen Meyers, made sure that was not going to happen. The Belle Chasse Cardinals were ready to play from the start of the kickoff as the offense drove down the field, which resulted in a QB Jordan Mariana one yard touchdown run to put the Cardinals up 7-0. Plaquemine did respond offensively as well with a long drive, which resulted in a RB Thomas Powers touchdown run. However, the extra point was no good which still put the Cardinals up top at 7-6. The Cardinals scored again on another Mariana touchdown run to put the Cardinals up 14-6, but this time, the Cardinals defense was able to stop the Plaquemine offense not allowing another touchdown in the first half. Also, the Cardinals put up another touchdown through the air this time with a Mariana touchdown pass to Collin Montgomery to put the Cardinals up at 21-6 at the half. In the second half, the Plaquemine Green Devils defense made a play not only sacking Mariana, but forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Green Devils. On the ensuing play, the Green Devils offense made sure to get their star playmaker and Louisiana Tech commit Wayne Toussant going with a 35 yard touchdown reception from QB Dontayvion Wicks to cut the lead to 21-12 with the missed two point conversion. The Green Devils forced another fumble and once again, they scored on a Wayne Toussant 29 yard touchdown run to close the gap at 21-19 at the start of the fourth quarter. Plaquemine had a chance to orchestrate a game winning drive with just under five minutes left in the game, but a fumble ended the team’s hopes as the Cardinals ran the clock out. The Belle Chasse Cardinals come up with the biggest upset of the 4A bracket with a 21-19 victory over the Plaquemine Green Devils, who finish the season at 8-3 overall. The Cardinals will try and pull off another upset against the #12 seed Woodlawn (Shreveport) Knights coming up.
#6 Leesville Wampus Cats (10-1) defeats #27 Franklinton Demons (3-8) 38-20.
Game Recap: The Leesville Wampus Cats, under Robert Causey, are coming off one of their best seasons in a long time, are looking to have a good showing in the playoffs, but they will have to do it against the Franklinton Demons that feature QB and Louisiana Tech commit Tahj Magee, who happens to be the brother of former LSU RB Terrence Magee. The Wampus Cats and the Demons were pretty close as both teams went back and forth in the first half. The Wampus Cats had a narrow 18-13 lead at the half, but in the second half, the Wampus Cats’ offense started to pull away from the game after six lead changes. Leesville senior RB Andrew Coker broke an 81 yard touchdown run to give Leesville the lead at 24-20 in the third quarter and that started 21 unanswered points for Leesville. The Leesville defense stepped up as it did a great job of containing Magee, who had over 100 yards rushing, but only 37 yards passing through the air. Coker had a huge game running for 212 yards and four touchdowns while the other two running backs Dante Gallashaw and Tyreke Walker combined for over 190 yards and two touchdowns. The Wampus Cats were able to pull away from the Demons in the end with a final score of 38-20. The Franklinton Demons, under Shane Smith, end their season at 3-8 while the Leesville Wampus Cats secure their first ten win season since 2008 when Michael Ford (LSU) was running the football. The Wampus Cats will face the #11 seed Rayne Wolves this upcoming Friday.
#7 Neville Tigers (8-3) defeats #26 Woodlawn B.R. Panthers (6-5) 28-3.
Game Recap: The Neville Tigers may have not had a dominant regular season like they have had in years past under the leadership of Mickey McCarty, but nevertheless, this is a team that has dominated the Class 4A rankings over the past couple of seasons with making the last three Class 4A state championship games while winning two of them. The Tigers face a much improved Woodlawn (B.R.) team from a season ago under the leadership of Daniel Luquet that could give the Tigers everything that they got. The Neville Tiger defense had one of the best team defensive performances shutting down the Panther offense only giving up three points and only 100 total yards of offense. The first half was a defensive struggle with Neville scoring the only touchdown of the first half, which came on a four yard touchdown run by DeMaine Riley. Woodlawn’s defense frustrated Neville QB Jordan Thomas throwing two first-half interceptions, but Thomas overcame those early mistakes accounting two touchdowns. Riley also was a difference maker for the Tigers rushing for over 100 yards a touchdown and catching a 80 yard pass from Thomas. Points were hard to come by in the first half, but it was the Neville offense that did enough offensively to win by four possessions. Woodlawn’s star offensive player and Louisiana Tech commit Xavier Lodge did not play after Woodlawn’s second possession. Thanks to a dominant defensive effort, the Neville Tigers defeat the Woodlawn Panthers 28-3. For the Panthers, they finish the season at 6-5 overall while the Neville Tigers will advance to the next round for a very intriguing matchup against the McDonogh 35 Roneagles.
#8 Northwood-Shreveport Falcons (9-2) defeats #25 St. Martinville Tigers (6-5) 34-20.
Game Recap: The Northwood-Shreveport Falcons, under James Gatlin, continue their fantastic season with a 34-20 victory over the St. Martinville Tigers under Vincent DeRouen. It was a back and forth game, but it was the Falcons that pulled away with the game late to secure the victory. The St. Martinville Tigers end their season with a very respectable 6-5 record. For the Northwood-Shreveport Falcons, they will advance to the next round where they will take on the #9 seed Salmen Spartans.
#9 Salmen Spartans (9-2) defeats #24 Lutcher Bulldogs (4-7) 34-30
Game Recap: The Salmen Spartans, led by Jerry Leonard, are looking to continue where they left off in the regular season against the Lutcher Bulldogs, led by Dwain Jenkins, who are looking for something that the historic football program has never done, which is win back-to back-to back state championship. As a result, we had one of the best first round matchups of the week. This game featured two of the state’s best athletes in Lutcher’s Gregory Clayton and Salmen’s Eddie Smith, who also happens to be a TCU commit. Both players came to play in this game. The Spartans scored first on a touchdown pass from L.J. Leonard to Smith to put the Spartans up with an early 7-0 lead, but the Lutcher Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points first with an 18 yard touchdown catch to Gregory Clayton from Hayden Bourgeois, then a seven yard touchdown pass to Rondell Mealey, and then another touchdown. The Bulldogs were dominating the game and the time of possession, but the tables began to turn in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs fumbled the football and the Spartans recovered. Shortly after, Leonard hit Smith again for the second time to make it 24-13. Then, the onside kick was recovered by Salmen and the following drive resulted in another touchdown pass from Leonard to Smith for the third time to make it a 24-19 game. Then, all of a sudden, the Lumberjacks took the lead with another touchdown as well as the onside kick to make it 27-24, but Lutcher answered back in three plays to make it 30-27. It is one of those games that will decide on who will get the football last and that was exactly the case when Leonard hit Anthony Mosley for the game winning touchdown with 13 seconds left to go in the football game to put the Spartans up top over the Bulldogs 34-30. The Lutcher Bulldogs will finish the season at 4-7 while the Salmen Spartans will move on to the next round to face the #8 seed Northwood Shreveport Falcons.
#10 McDonogh 35 Roneagles (8-3) defeats #23 Minden Crimson Tide (5-6) 21-6.
Game Recap: Just like the Neville-Woodlawn B.R. game, this was a defensive struggle type of game as both teams struggled to move the football. The Roneagles were able to hit a couple of plays in the passing game with LeJohn Howard throwing for two touchdowns one to Eddie Tillman and the other to Caleb Hizadore to build a 13-0 lead going into the half. It was pretty much of the same in the second half as both defenses were playing great, but the difference was a fourth down conversion in which the Crimson Tide tried to convert, but it turned out to be a turnover on downs giving McDonogh 35 good field position. That good field position resulted in a Eddie Tillman touchdown run to put the Roneagles up at 21-0 putting the game away. The Minden offense was able to score a touchdown late in the football game, but that would be it. The McDonogh 35 Roneagles, led by Wayne Reese, advance to the next round with a 21-6 victory over the Minden Crimson Tide led by James Heard. The Roneagles will get ready for a very intriguing matchup against the #7 seed Neville Tigers.
#11 Rayne Wolves (8-2) defeats #22 Helen Cox Cougars (5-6) 57-21.
Game Recap: The Rayne Wolves, led by Curt Ware, are one of the hottest teams in the state right now heading into the playoffs and have one of the best running games in the state led by two of the most underrated recruits in the state in Trent Winbush and Darien Harmon. Both players put on a show against the Helen Cox Cougars in this first round opening matchup. The Rayne rushing attack racked up almost 500 rushing yards. When the rushing attack is going, there is no need to pass the ball as Rayne attempted only two passes the entire game. Harmon ran for 226 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries while Winbush ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. The Helen Cox Cougars had a good game in the passing game with Jordan George throwing for over 230 yards and two touchdowns, but it was too much Winbush and Harmon on the ground as the Rayne Wolves move on to the next round against #6 Leesville with a 57-21 victory over Helen Cox. The Cougars, led by Derek Lamothe, will end the season with a 5-6 overall record.
#12 Woodlawn-Shreveport Knights (8-3) defeats #21 Westgate Tigers (5-6) 61-20.
Game Recap: The Woodlawn Shreveport Knights showed why they are one of the most explosive offenses in the state as well as the offense put up 61 points in the game with 32 in the first half. The onslaught by the Knights occurred quickly as QB Trivenskey Mosley got the game started with a 43 yard touchdown run. Then, the Knights intercepted a pass for a touchdown, and right after that, Mosley scored another touchdown. With a 32-0 lead at the first half, it was completely dominated by the Knights. The Tigers did score 20 points in the second half, but it was no where even close to what the Knights were doing offensively. The Tigers, led by Ryan Antoine, finish the season with a 5-6 overall record. The Knights, led by Jerwin Wilson, advance to the next round to face the upset minded #28 seed Belle Chasse, who upsetted the #5 seed Plaquemine Green Devils, which was a team that ended Woodlawn’s season last year.
#13 North DeSoto Griffins (8-3) defeats #20 Assumption Mustangs (5-6) 28-13.
Game Recap: The North DeSoto Griffins had a great game running the football and playing good defense. Heading into the season, the Griffin running game was the big question mark as the program lost one of their best players in school history in Delmonte Hall (Southeastern), but North DeSoto Head Football Coach Scott Abernathy has done a great coaching job with a young team winning eight games this season. The rushing attack has been strong all year with new runners Aubrey Scott and Rykendrick Simpson both running for touchdowns. QB Jaden Procell’s connection with Maguire Parker has also been a strong QB-WR combo all this season. The defense did a great job containing the Assumption running game only allowing 13 points. The North DeSoto Griffins advance to the next round to face the #4 seed Warren Easton Eagles. The Assumption Mustangs, under Anthony Paine, end their season with a 5-6 overall record.
#14 Cecilia Bulldogs (9-3) defeats #19 DeRidder Dragons (6-5) 41-8.
Game Recap: The Cecilia Bulldogs, led by Dennis Skains, were clicking on all cylinders offensively against a solid DeRidder team led by Brad Parmley. It seemed that whatever the Bulldogs were doing offensively, they were going to move the football. In the running game, the Bulldogs may have lost Ryan Malbrough for the season, but not to worry as the Bulldogs have great depth at that position with Kerrick Alexander, Devin Briscoe, and freshman RB Adonis Singleton, who actually led the running backs against the Dragons with 114 yards rushing. Cecilia QB Lance Lalonde had a good game as well accounting for over 200 yards and touchdowns with one touchdown pass and one touchdown run. This balanced Cecilia offensive attack scored 41 points while the defense only gave up eight points in the 41-8 victory over the DeRidder Dragons, who end their season with a 6-5 overall record. The Cecilia Bulldogs will advance to the next round to face the #3 Benton Tigers.
#18 Tioga Indians (7-4) defeats #15 South Lafourche Tarpons (6-5) 31-16.
Game Recap: The South Lafourche Tarpons, under Blake Forsythe, have had a great season winning six games. That win total has helped the Tarpons host their first home playoff game in five years against the Tioga Indians led by Kevin Cook. However, the team’s playoff inexperience played a key role in the first half. The Tarpons made two big mistakes on special teams to helps give the Indians a 14-3 lead at halftime. Without those special teams miscues, the Tarpons would most likely have a 3-0 lead going into the half. The first special teams blunder occurred when the Jake Galhour muffed the punt which allowed the Indians to dive on the football at the two yard line to give the Tioga offense a first and goal to work with. Three plays later, Freshman QB Blake McGehee threw a touchdown pass to WR Deven Franklin. Then, Tioga’s star defensive player Detavius Eldridge blocked a punt which was recovered in the endzone by Jacobi Lowe for another Tioga touchdown to make it 14-0. The Indians took a 17-0 lead at halftime after the Indian defense had a goal line stand to end the half. In the second half, the Tarpon defense stepped up with a safety made by South Lafourche defensive back Marquise Francis tackled Franklin for two points to make it 17-2. However, the Indians responded again with a 44 yard touchdown strike from McGehee to WR Tray’Von Culbert, who had himself a pretty good game, extending the Indians’ lead to 24-2. The Tarpons scored some more points defensively later on in the fourth quarter as RB/DB Jeremy Rogers intercepted a McGehee pass for a 24 yard pick-six to make the score 24-9. The Tarpons made another stop and for really the first time since the half. the Tarpons executed on a long drive that resulted in a Jeremy Rogers touchdown run to shrink the Tioga lead to 24-16, but that was as close as the game was going to go as the Tioga offense went on a long drive, which was capped off by their star player Eldridge for the three yard touchdown to keep the Indians’ lead for good at 31-16 as the Indians advance to the next round to play the #2 seed Lakeshore Titans. As for the South Lafourche Tarpons, they end their season with a 6-5 overall record.
#16 George Washington Carver Rams (7-3) defeats #17 Bastrop Rams (5-5) 50-24.
Game Recap: The #16 George Washington Carver Rams, led by Byron Addison, faced off against the Bastrop Rams led by Adrian Burnette. This was a rematch of the Week One matchup between both schools in which the Carver Rams defeated the Bastrop Rams 20-12. The Bastrop Rams look to spoil Carver’s playoff run with a revenge win, but the Carver Rams did not let that happen thanks to their quarterback Izea Hurst, who accounted for five touchdowns with three touchdowns through the air and two on the ground. The chemistry between Hurst and senior WR Gary Young as Young caught all of the senior quarterback’s touchdown passes. The Rams were in this game early on, but it was too much of the Carver offensive attack as the Carver Rams swept the Bastrop Rams this season in both matchups with a 50-24 victory. The Bastrop Rams end their season with a 5-5 record while the George Washington Carver Rams continue their playoff run against a very familiar opponent in the #1 seed Edna Karr Cougars.
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