Church Point survives late surge
BY CHRIS QUEBEDEAUX
PRAIRIE RHONDE – What started out as a blowout quickly turned into a slugfest in the fourth quarter Thursday.
Fortunately for Church Point, Northwest’s late-round surge wasn’t enough to overcome a three-touchdown, third-quarter deficit and the Bears were able to hang on for a 48-34 victory over the Raiders in the District 5-AAA opener for both teams.
The Bears improved to 4-1 on the season. The Raiders dropped to 2-3 overall.
“Overall, a win is a win, no matter if it’s pretty or ugly,” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux following the game. “You know, we were in complete control of the football game and we kind of started putting some younger kids in there. We made a few mistakes: we miss a line, we blow a couple coverages and we give up three or four big plays in a row. That put them right back into the football game.”
Church Point led 34-7 with 11:45 remaining in the game before Northwest’s Alvin Williams scored on a 16-yard run.
Church Point answered less than a minute later when Von Duplichan scored on an 81-yard run and all seemed safe again.
But then Northwest’s refused to go silently.
Raiders’ quarterback Shone Richard went to the air and hit Corey Dean on a 40-yard touchdown strike and then the Raiders then recovered an on-side kick and capitalized on the first play. Richard went to the air again, hitting Travis Chenier on a 45-yard scoring strike.
That made it 40-28.
Church Point started its next series at its own 26 and following a face mask penalty and a 43-yard run by Joseph Carrier, Bruce Citizen hit paydirt from 17 yards out. That score, coupled with a two-point conversion pass from Blake Boudreaux to Damarsho Wright basically iced the game.
Northwest managed to score once more when Williams broke loose for a 63-yard run at the 2:22 mark, but it was too little, too late.
The Bears retained the ball and ate up the remaing time.
“We made plays when we had to make plays offensively,” said Arceneaux. “Defensively, we just had some letdowns and you can’t do that. If we’re going to be a good football team and compete in 5-AAA, you just can’t do that. There’s just to many good teams.”
Once again, it was Church Point’s ground attack that paved the way. Of the Bears’ 59 offensive plays, 55 were rushes that went for a total of 502 yards.
“We’re a Wing-T football team,” said Arceneaux. “We’re going to come out and run first and set up the play action. Hats off to our offensive line. We started with four new starters at the beginning of the year and they are starting to pick up the adjustments, they’re able to make in game adjustments. Hats off to them, that’s why we are able to run the football.”
Carrier carried most of the load, breaking big runs time and time again for 205 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
“Joseph is a kid who has great work habits, has great practice habits and he has made himself into a football player,” said Arcenaux. “He had another big night tonight.”
Von Duplechain also had a big game, rushing 17 times for 169 yards and four touchdowns.
“Von is a kid who’s just a sophomore. He’s small in stature but big in heart,” said Arceneaux. “He kind of got thrown into the fire early last year because of injuries so he has a lot of game experience. He’s a competitor. He comes out and plays hard every snap and that’s why we are so good at running the football, because we have three good backs.”
Bruce Citizen did his part both offensively and defensively. The junior halfback/defensive back logged 74 yards and scored once on 11 carries and also picked off two of Richard’s 31 passes.
“Bruce is a kid that we need to spot play on defense and he’s crucial in our offense as well,” said Arceneaux. “He gives us the three backs that we need with Von, Joseph and Bruce. He is a huge part of our football team. He may not have gotten the touches that the other guys got tonight, but the defense kind of dictates who gets the touches. He’s a huge part of why we’re successful right now.”
Church Point’s defense was solid early on before Northwest’s late surge. The Bears gave up just 113 yards in the first half and six first downs, four on the Raiders’ opening drive.
However, Richard threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns in the final quarter. Northwest finished the contest with 376 yards of total offense and 11 first downs.
“They (Northwest) did a great job,” said Arcenaux of Northwest’s passing game. “We did a great job for three quarters and then we kind of relaxed on defense. We busted a couple of coverages and gave them some quick scores. That’s why they made it a ballgame in a hurry.”
Overall though, Arceneaux was pleased with the victory.
“Of course you want to be 1-0 in district,” said Arceneaux. “You know if you’re going to compete for a district championship, you can’t lose. Everybody is going to chase Notre Dame in our district. Rayne has things going, coach (Tommy) Tate and them (Crowley High) have played a tough schedule and they will be ready to play so you definitely don’t want to put yourself behind the eight ball early. So it’s good to be 1-0.”