Crowley stuns No. 6 Patterson in season opener
CROWLEY – On a wet and rainy day that favored defenses, it was the offenses that took center stage Saturday in Crowley's High's season opener against Patterson.
At least until the fourth quarter.
The Gents and Lumberjacks, whose season opener was moved from Friday to Saturday because of school closures due to Hurricane Issac, combined for just over 1,000 yards and 77 points in a game that was delayed for over an hour due lightning and wound up resembling an Arena Football game.
But in the end, it was the Crowley’s defense that provided the heroics.
The Gents limited Patterson to just 11 yards and forced two turnovers in the fourth quarter to seal a wet and wild 41-36 upset of the sixth-ranked Lumberjacks.
“We played 10 times better on defense than we had the week before,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot. “Yeah, we gave up some stuff and they (Patterson) were getting things on us, but there were also a lot of times that we put them in some tough positions.
“In the fourth quarter, when the game was on the line and we had to protect a five-point lead, we shut them down. "
That they did.
The first big defensive play of the fourth quarter occurred with Patterson driving for the potential go-ahead score. On third down at the CHS 36-yard line, Patterson quarterback Denzel Johnson hit Jedrick Gunner for a 21-yard reception. However, the Gents jarred the ball loose on the tackle and Crowley’s Darrell Milson recovered it at the 10 to thwart the drive.
Then, with under a minute to go and Patterson facing a first down from its own 2-yard line, Damon Malbrough picked off Johnson’s pass on the sideline to seal the victory. Malbrough also had an interception in the third quarter and Tiron Foreman picked off a pass in the first quarter
“I’m super proud of coach (Jeptha) Wall and the defense," said Fontenot. "Those guys needed that. They needed that little boost of confidence and they got it.”
Offensively, it was Damon Malbrough’s twin brother, Danny Malbrough, who stole the show.
Danny, taking over for the graduated Devante Bourque at running back, took a handoff from quarterback Andre Mills on the Gents’ first offensive play and raced 68 yards for a touchdown.
Then, on the very first play of the Gents' second offensive series, he broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown.
The Gents scored quickly again on their third series when Mills struck through the air, hitting Chanz Moore on a pass over the middle for a 60-yard scoring strike.
In all, the Gents racked up 20 points and 193 yards on their first four plays of the game.
Impressive as it was, Danny Malbrough, was just getting started.
He added a 40-yard scoring run in the second quarter and he had a 9-yard touchdown run early in the second half enroute to a 315-yard, four-touchdown performance.
"Danny had a terrific game," said Fontenot. "The offensive line opened up holes and he did the rest."
The offense did such a good job, in fact, that it Fontenot was concerned about his defense keeping up.
“In a way, we kept putting our defense in a bind because we were scoring too fast,” said Fontenot. “Our defense stayed on the field. Patterson ran 51 plays offensively in the first half. That’s unheard of. And a lot of that was because we were scoring too fast.
“But with a team like Patterson and the way they play defense, there’s opportunities for those big plays.”
Patterson also showed the ability to strike quickly when Johnson hit Gunner for a 59-yard touchdown pass midway through the first half to cut the lead to 20-14.
The Jacks tied the game at 20 early in the second quarter on an 8-yard run by Mykel Jones before Malbrough’s 40-yard scoring scamper put the Gents back on top, 27-20.
Patterson took its first lead of the game late in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Larry Turner. Jones sneaked in on the two-point conversion run to give the Jacks a 28-27 advantage at the half.
“You have to expect that from them,” said Fontenot of Patterson’s rally. “Year in and year out, they’re going to be one of the best offensive team’s in the state. No question about it.”
Crowley regained the lead in the thid quarter on Danny Malbrough’s 9-yard touchdown run and had a chance to put more distance between themselves and the Jacks when Damon picked off a pass at the PHS 40.
Four plays later, however, the Gents returned the favor with a fumble at the 29.
Patterson took advantage of the miscue when Shelby Lavergne broke loose for a 46-yard run. Five plays later, Johsnon scored from one yard out to give the Jacks a 36-35 lead.
Crowley answered with the eventual winning touchdown four plays later when Lewis outran the Jacks defense for a 55-yard touchdown.
Overall, the Gents tallied 597 yards (522 rushing, 75 passing).
Danny Malbrough led the ground attack, but he had plenty of help: Mills added 150 yards on 22 carries and Lewis had 57 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Mills also completed four of his nine passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. Chanz Moore had three receptions for 75 yards and Thomas Cavell hauled in one pas for 13 yards.
“In a game like this where the throwing game is limited, between Danny, Andre and Chris, we knew we needed to run downhill right at Patterson to give ourselves a chance,” said Fontenot. “Running sideways against them is not the way to beat them because they are so fast.
“Our offensive line played as good a game as I’ve seen us play in a while. They gave us an opportunity to get a little space and then the running backs did what they needed to do with it.
“When you run for over 500 yards, that says a lot about your offensive line and your running backs. And for us, that says a lot about our quarterback because we run him in the run game.”
The Gents will travel to Lafayette Friday evening to take on Comeaux at 7 p.m.