Crowley holds off Peabody rally
BY CHRIS QUEBEDEAUX
LSN STAFF WRITER
CROWLEY – What started out looking like a rout in the making quickly turned into a nailbiter Friday for the Crowley Gents.
The Gents, celebrating their 2009 Homecoming, rang up 283 yards of total offense and 13 first downs in the first 24 minutes in jumping out to a 20-6 lead.
But rather than win going away, the Gents had to weather some anxious moments in the second half to hold on for a pulsating 28-26 victory.
With the win, the Gents climbed to 3-1 on the season heading into next week’s non-district matchup with Rayne. Peabody fell to 1-3.
“What a wild one, ” said Crowley High coach Tommy Tate following the victory. “We got out ahead and made some big plays. And then, they (Peabody) kept battling back. Heck, they have some play makers.”
The Gents dominated the first half, starting from the opening kickoff when they mounted an 18-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Tonori Boutte.
The drive ended with just under two minutes remaining in the opening frame.
“That opening drive was probably one of the best drives of the year,” said Tate. “We mixed it up real well, running and throwing the football, and kept the ball almost the whole first quarter.”
The Gents had another opportunity just 22 seconds later when Dimitri Charles forced a fumble that was recovered by Tuskani Banks at the PHS 26-yard line. However, the Gents were unable to capitalize and they turned the ball over on downs at the 16.
Peabody returned the favor on their ensuing possession, giving the Gents the ball back at the CHS 46.
This time, the Gents responded.
An offsides on Peabody and a 3-yard run by Boutte got the Gents to the 40 to set up a 60-yard scoring strike from quarterback D’Myrus Daniels to Donavon Morris.
Crowley’s defense held Peabody to a three-and-out on the next series and forced a punt.
Starting from their own 40 again, Daniels hit Morris over the middle for another 60-yard touchdown to push the lead to 20-0.
“We knew that we were getting straight man (defense) and we knew that if we could get somebody free on the inside, they weren’t getting any help. Donavon made some great catches and he did a good job of getting in the end zone.”
Peabody answered shortly after when quarterback Alaric Jones hit Jaworra Dorsey on a 52-yard pass play to set up a 3-yard scoring run by Jalen Richard.
“Our defense did a good job of tackling the running back in the first half,” said Tate of his defense, one that held Richard to just 20 yards in the first half and 29 on the night. “They had that one big pass play and that was the extent of their offense in the first half.”
Peabody started the second half with three runs by Jones for 48 yards. That set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Jones to cut the lead to 20-12.
Crowley responded early in the fourth when Kristian Allen picked off a Jones pass at the PHS 17-yard line and returned it to the 3. Boutte took honors from there, rushing in for his second score of the night before punching it in for the two-point conversion.
“They (Peabody) came out in the second half and really had all of the momentum,” said Tate. “ I was really proud of our players to fight back in the fourth quarter and getting the momentum back.
“We get the big pick on defense (by Allen), get it down there and get in the heavy set and run it in the end zone. That interception was really the turning point in the ball game. “
A 14-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Dorsey cut the lead to 28-18 with 5:35 remaining, but the two-point conversion failed for the Warhorses.
The stop on the conversion proved to be huge. Jones scored on a 1-yard run with 30 seconds remaining and then capitalized on the two-point conversion.
“They tried a couple of plays from the swinging gate and we stuffed them and we did a good job and then we held them out that one time right there which was really big,” said Tate.
Peabody’s onside kick attempt with under a minute to play was recovered by Crowley’s Nicholas Cavell to thwart any chances of a Peabody victory.
Crowley finished the contest with 305 total yards of offense after mustering just 22 yards in the final two quarters.
“We were kind of handcuffed there in the second half,” said Tate. “We wanted to try and runs ome clock and they were running a lot of run blitzes at us and that made it tough.”
Daniels had a big night for the Gents, completing 12 of his 20 pass attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Morris was his main target, hauling in four passes for 150 yards and both scores. Boutte had three catches for 22 yards; Dorris Senegal had two for 16 yards, Kaleb Cormier had one for 12 and Kye Daigle had one for 10.
“We spread it around really good in the first half and got a lot of people some touches and we had a few big plays,” said Tate. D’Myrus threw the ball well and we just need to continue to do that.”
Daniels was also the Gents leading rusher with 20 carries for 53 yards while Boutte had 18 totes for 24 yards and a touchdown.