Crowley cruises past Iowa

By: Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – The Iowa Yellow Jackets were poised to pull off one of the biggest Class AAA upsets of the 2010 season Friday.

The Jackets, who had only one victory entering their District 5-AAA opener against Crowley High, trailed by just a point (20-19) early in the third quarter and seemingly had momentum very much on their side.

But just when the Jackets’ hopes soared, reality set in.

Over the final 17 minutes, the No. 10-ranked Gents stuffed the Jackets’ offense and cranked up their own attack in rolling to a 48-19 victory at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.

“We came out to start the second half and had two straight turnovers that kept them (Iowa) in the ballgame,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate, whose squad led 20-10 at the half. “But to our credit, we kept battling and battling and finally broke them and put them away.”

With the victory, the Gents improved to 4-2 on the season and 1-0 in District 4-AAA play. Iowa fell to 1-5 and 0-1.

The pivotal point of the game occurred following a Matt Guidry field goal that pulled the Jackets to within a point of the Gents, 20-19.

The Gents responded on the ensuing possession with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 20-yard touchdown run by Davante Bourque. During the drive, the Gents converted on a fourth-and-three at the IHS 33-yard line when Bourque powered his way to the 30.

“That was a really good drive that we had in the second half,” said Tate. “That was the one that gave us a little cushion and it kind of broke their back.”

The drive gave the Gents the lead, but it was the defense that finally broke the Jackets’ backs.

On the Jackets’ second possession of the third quarter, the Gents forced a three-and-out that eventually led to a 40-yard highlight reel touchdown run by Bourque in which the standout hurdled a defender at the line of scrimmage to break free.

Then, on Iowa’s next possession, Troy Johnson logged two sacks in three plays and forced a fumble that was recovered by Nick Hoffpauir. That turnover led to a 45-yard touchdown pass from Tuskani Figaro to Tonori Boutte on the first play from scrimmage.

Danny Malbrough tacked on the Gents’ final touchdown with just over three minutes remaining in the contest when he scored on a 3-yard run.

“Our defense really cranked it up a notch in the second half,” said Tate. “Troy has been playing well and he’s been consistent most of the year. And our defensive front played well. They did things that we expect our guys to do - play with speed and play aggressively. And we did that in the second half.”

The first half wasn’t all that bad for the Gents either, especially offensively.

On their first offensive possession, the Gents mounted a 79-yard drive that resulted in an 18-yard touchdown run by Bourque.

Iowa answered with a 40-yard field goal from Guidry to cut the lead to 7-3 with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter, but the Gents fired right back, driving 80 yards. The drive, which was aided by two roughing the passer penalties, was capped by a 4-yard run by Bourque.

The 14-3 lead didn’t last long.

On the ensuing kickoff, Pete raced 80 yards before stopping in the CHS end zone and suddenly, it was 14-10.

The Gents answered later in the quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Bourque to make it 20-10 and set up the second-half finish.

“You know, we’re going to get the opponents’ best shot week in and week out and that was the case tonight,” said Tate. “It was a hard-fought ball game in the first half. You have to give a lot of credit to Iowa. They were well prepared and they played hard.”

Once again, Bourque carried the load for the Gents on the ground. He accounted for 216 of Crowley’s 386 rushing yards on 19 carries. It was the second straight week that he rushed for over 200 yards and scored five touchdowns.

Figaro also put up impressive numbers, rushing 16 times for 110 yards while completing 10 of 16 pass attempts for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Malbrough, who returned to the lineup this week after being sidelined with an injury, followed with seven carries for 53 yards and Calvin Robinson had three carries for seven yards.

Cornerback Damon Malbrough, who also returned this week from injury, had an interception in the first half

Boutte was Crowley’s leading receiver with six catches for 43 yards. Kaleb Cormier hauled in three passes for 32 yards and Nick Cavell had an eight-yard reception.

Pete paced Iowa with his 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He also had eight of the Yellow Jackets’ 16 rushing yards on 19 carries while completing 13 passes for 116 yards.

Pete connected with Derek Johnson twice for 67 yards while Mason Ceasar had four receptions for 27. Daniel Hennigan had two catches for 27 yards.

The Gents will be on a short schedule next week as they prep for Thursday’s road contest against the Church Point Bears. The Bears defeated Northwest Friday, 47-22.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Tate. “There’s still a lot of things that we can improve on and we’ll go to work on that this week. We have a short week. We have to go to Church Point. But right now, I’m excited about the win tonight. We’re 1-0 and we move on from here.”

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