Crowley crushes Church Point
By: Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – Church Point’s game plan heading into their District 4-AA showdown Thursday against Crowley High was to contain Gents standout running back Davante Bourque.
And the plan worked.
Bourque, Acadia Parish’s leading rusher and scoring leader, was limited to just 62 yards on the night and held out of the end zone.
But, in shutting down the run, the Bears awoke a sleeping giant in the Gents’ passing game.
CHS quarterback Tuskani Figaro caught fire, completing 12 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Gents to a 34-0 victory over the Bears on their home field.
With the victory, the Gents improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in District 4-AAA. The Bears fell to 4-3 and 1-1.
“They were stacking up the run,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate after the contest, one in which his normally-potent ground attack was held to just 64 yards in the first half. “They were blitzing and really trying to force us to throw the football. They did a heck of a job defending our run game.”
But with the offensive firepower the Gents have, Tate switched gears and went with his aerial assault. And it started with the first play of the game.
Following a 49-yard kickoff return by Bourque to start the game, Figaro found Tonori Boutte streaking across the middle for a 38-yard scoring strike, giving fans of the Bears a glimpse of things to come.
Figaro hit Boutte again in the second quarter, this time on an 18-yard touchdown pass. He then connected with Andre Mills for two more touchdown passes - from 29 and 44 yards, respectively - to give the Gents commanding 26-0 lead at the break.
“You have to pick your poison when you play them (Crowley),” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux. “You’re not going to be able to stop the run and the pass. We chose to try and stop the run and they beat us with the pass.
“We don’t have the athletes they have, to be able to match up with them everywhere. When they throw it, they have to have several things that have to go their way for it to happen. When they hand off to Bourque, it’s him making plays.
“We picked our poison to force them to try and throw the ball to beat us and they made plays.”
Church Point’s defense held strong in the second half, holding the Gents scoreless in the third quarter thanks to two interceptions by Nick Ledet.
However, the Bears weren’t able to capitalize.
The Gents forced a fumble that was recovered by Jacoby Solomon after the first interception and then forced Church Point to punt after a three-and-out series following the second pick.
“When you have opportunities to make plays, you have to make plays and we didn’t do it,” said Arceneaux. “That’s a credit to them because they’re putting pressure on us. They were forcing us to make those plays and we didn’t do it.
“They’re a good football team and they’re very well coached. If you’re going to beat good football teams, you’ve got to make plays when you have the chance to make plays.”
The Gents seized their opportunity to make plays early in the fourth quarter when they marched 56 yards on a drive that was capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Figaro.
Soloman came through for the Gents again defensively on the Bears’ ensuing drive when he sacked Church Point quarterback Ty Leger on fourth and long to give Crowley another possession.
The Gents second team took the field and marched down to the Bears’ 19-yard line before turning the ball over on downs with eight minutes remaining in the game.
Once again, Crowley’s defense responded.
After a personal foul pushed the Bears back to the 13-yard line on second down, Soloman recorded another sack at the six to force a punt. Soloman then blocked the punt, sending the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Crowley’s defense forced one turnover in the shutout and limited Church Point to seven first downs and 93 total yards of offense (85 rushing and 8 passing).
“This was their (defense’s) first goose egg of the year and I was proud of them,” said Tate. “It’s been a work in progress on defense, we’ve had to really move some pieces of the puzzle around and it looks like the unit is coming together. It was a heck of an effort their part tonight.”
It wasn’t all praise from Tate following the contest however.
The Gents had four touchdowns called back for holding penalties that hampered Bourque’s overall performance. He had a 54-yard scoring burst called back in the second quarter and a 39-yard scoring scamper brought back in the third. Andre Mills also had two scores negated in the fourth quarter - a 7-yarder and a 22-yarder on back-to-back plays - due to holding.
On the night, the Gents were flagged 11 times for 85 yards.
“We had some big runs tonight, but it seemed like every time we broke one loose, we had a penalty,” said Tate. “We really had some good runs, just too many penalties.”
The Gents still racked up 421 total yards on the night, rushing for 196 yards to go along with 225 through the air.
Danny Malbrough paced the Gents’ ground attack with eight carries for 71 yards while Bourque finished with 62 yards on 17 carries.
Figaro added 42 yards and one touchdown on the ground to go along with his passing totals.
Boutte was Figaro’s main target, hauling in five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns while Mills had three receptions for 83 yards and two scores. Chanz Moore had two receptions for 33 yards and Kaleb Cormier added two catches for 22 yards.
Von Duplechain led the Bears with 17 carries for 63 yards and Zack Quibodeaux had 47 yards on 14 carries.
Leger, who had four rushes for minus 29 yards, completed three passes for eight yards.
“Tonight was a good night for us,” said Tate. “It was a good win, it puts us at 2-0 in district play and moves us on to Week 3 of district play against a Westlake team that is also 2-0. We’re playing for the outright (district) lead next week.”