Bulldogs slip past Greyhounds
By: Jeannine LeJeune
IOTA – It took until the third quarter for Friday night’s contest between Welsh and Iota to see a score.
But it was the fourth quarter score that led the Bulldogs to their second win of the season with a 7-6 victory over the Greyhounds.
“We’ll take the victory,” said Bulldogs coach Marcus LeJeune. “We won this game.”
With the win, Iota improved to 2-2 (1-0 in district 5-2A), while Welsh moved to 1-3 (0-1).
Early in the game, penalties and fumbles once again plagued the Bulldogs, taking themselves out of drives. In the first half, Iota had three fumbles, they lost two. They also had three penalties for 25 yards.
“We had chances earlier in the game to put the ball in the end zone,” said LeJeune. “We had those penalties and fumbles and I thought they would cost us, but we found a way to win.”
The early mistakes would not end up costing Iota the game, mostly due to the Bulldogs defense.
“In the first half we had three really good defensive stands, despite giving them the ball with really good field position,” said LeJeune. “We gave them some breaks by giving them short fields and we held them.”
The Greyhounds had their share of problems in the first half as well with running back Nick Hebert limping off the field in the first quarter and did not return for the remainder of the game. Hebert finished the game with only six yards on two carries. After the offense lost one of their starters, the defense lost their only returning starter for the year. Defensive lineman Braiden Jolie left the game in the first quarter by stretcher with an apparent lower leg injury.
And, despite outgaining the Greyhounds 144-49 by halftime, the game remained scoreless.
“This was a tough game between two evenly matched teams,” said LeJeune. “They got us and sometimes we got them.”
Evenly matched may be an understatement. Iota finished the game with 10 first downs, Welsh had 11. Welsh finished the night with six penalties for 60 yards, Iota five for 45. Iota and Welsh each had three fumbles and lost two.
It wasn’t until nearly midway through the third quarter that Welsh would capitalize on Iota’s mistakes, capping off a 11-play, 78-yard drive for the Greyhounds. But a missed PAT was the beginning of Welsh’s second half problems.
In the fourth quarter, Iota would get a break of its own and fully capitalize. Halfway into the final frame of the game, Bryant Fantroy picked up Welsh’s first lost fumble of the night and returned it for a 58 yard touchdown. Kyle Leger would convert the PAT kick try and put the Bulldogs up with 5:29 remaining in the game.
“We’ve played hard for two weeks in a row now,” said LeJeune. “We cut down from a lot of mistakes that we made last week, and we want to continue to keep building.”
The Bulldogs were also fortunate to not add to their injury list following the game. Fantroy who has played and started on both sides of the ball this season, was limited to only defense after a hard hit in last week’s contest. But LeJeune says that he is doing fine. Fantroy did not miss a snap on defense all game.
Iota only gained 201 yards on offense on the night, with Ethan Navarre gaining 84 yards on 26 carries. After starting off the game slow with several rushing attempts being stopped behind the line of scrimmage or at the line of scrimmage, Navarre picked up steam late in the first quarter and by the second half had begun breaking off several big runs.
“We played hard all night,” said LeJeune. “Good things happen when we play hard throughout the game. This was a total team effort.”
The next leading rush for the Bulldogs was Thomas Murrell who gained 39 yards on nine carries. He also went 4-5 on the night pass with 48 yards.
Welsh would finish the night with 211 total yards. Hayes led the Greyhounds’ offense with 62 yards on nine carries. Fox would finish the night with 38 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. He would also go 0-2 passing on the night with an interception by Iota’s Gavin Guidry. The interception marked the second consecutive game Guidry produced a grab for the Bulldog defense.
Due to the two team’s early start in district, Iota currently holds first place in 5-2A. The Bulldogs travel to Oakdale next week for their next district foe.