Crowley cruises past Iowa in 4-AAA opener
By Chris Quebedeaux
IOWA – One week after being the beneficiaries of four turnovers in a stunning upset of state-ranked Kaplan, the Iowa Yellow Jackets had the roles reversed on them Friday night.
The Crowley Gents, running their winning streak to five games, took advantage of a similar number of turnovers against Iowa in Week 6, propelling them to a 38-14 victory over the homestanding Yellow Jackets in the District 4-AAA opener for both teams.
Crowley High improved to 5-1 on the season with the victory. Iowa fell to 3-3.
“This was a big victory for us,” CHS coach Tommy Tate said following the contest. “It was a hard-fought win for us. We had to go on the road and they have a good football team. I’m really proud of our guys for the effort that they gave.”
That effort started with the defense on the opening drive when Iowa was pushed back after reaching the CHS 16-yard line. The Jackets were forced to punt from the 33.
However, a turnover on the punt return gave Iowa a fresh set of downs in the red zone and the Yellow Jackets took advantage with a 16-yard scoring strike from Gene Pete to Dylan Williams.
“You know, it couldn’t have started off any worse for us,” said Tate. “We thought we’d have to overcome some adversity and, sure enough, it popped up early in the game. We gave them a possession inside our 10-yard line and they go up 7-0. But we knew there was a lot of football left to play.”
The Gents got going early in the second quarter when Calvin Lewis recovered a Kasey Vital fumble on the Iowa 17-yard line.
CHS quarter back D’Myrus Daniels took advantage, breaking loose on a seven-yard run before eventually scoring from 10 yards out. However, a bad snap on the extra-point attempt left the Gents trailing 7-6 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.
That deficit didn’t last long though.
On the ensuing possession, Iowa fumbled the ball away again, this time with Tuskani Figaro coming up with the recovery.
Daniels took over again, picking up 35 yards on four runs before scoring his second touchdown of the game from one yard out. Tonori Boutte’s 2-point conversion run gave the Gents a 14-7 advantage with three minutes left in the first half.
Iowa mounted late drive and got all the way down to the CHS 21 with under a minute to go before the scoring threat was thwarted by a Darius Mills interception.
Crowley added to its lead early in the third quarter, mounting a 12-play, 73-yard drive on the opening series that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Daniels. Troy Wilridge’s 2-point conversion pushed Crowley’s advantage to 22-7 with 5:27 remaining in the third.
“That opening drive of the third quarter was a challenge for us,” said Tate. “We came up with a scheme where we were going to run the football with power running and we got it down there. We overcame a couple of penalties, had a big conversion and we knocked it in. That was the challenge, trying to get the first score of the second half. That was big.”
Iowa answered back at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Pete hit Williams on a 25-yard touchdown strike to cut the lead to 22-14.
That momentum shift was quickly erased though when Donavon Morris took the ensuing kickoff at the Gents’ own 19-yard line, hit the sideline and followed his blockers all the way to end zone for an 81-yard touchdown.
“Donavon stepped up and had a really big return,” said Tate of Morris, who made the best of his first return of the night. “We had a couple of guys nicked up and he got back there and had a heck of a return.”
With the clock winding down, Iowa went to the air once again for a big strike. Only this time, Pete’s pass fell short of Williams and into the arms of Wilridge, who returned the pick 44 yards for his second interception return for a touchdown in two games.
“Donavon has the big kickoff return for a touchdown and then Troy picks off another pass and runs it in,” said Tate. “Those two plays in the second half really sealed the deal for us.”
The interception for Wilridge was his third in the last two games. A week earlier, he intercepted two passes, returning one for a 48-yard touchdown, against Rayne.
Crowley’s defense bent, but didn’t break. The Gents gave up 115 yards through the air but held Iowa’s potent rushing attack to just 33 yards. The Yellow Jackets had 44 rushing yards at the half but were held to minus 11 in the final 24 minutes.
“I thought defensively, we tackled well tonight,” said Tate. “We had to. That quarterback and running back are two guys that can run with the football. We had a good scheme and our guys did a great job.”
Offensively, the Gents pounded out 177 yards on the ground with 110 coming from Daniels. Boutte added 47 yards on nine carries, Nick Hoffpauir had 17 yards on seven carries and Wilridge had three totes for three yards.
The Gents return to action Thursday when they play host to Church Point in another pivotal district battle.