Crowley stuns Washington Marion
CROWLEY – When opportunity knocked Friday night, the Crowley Gents were all too happy to open the door.
Trailing Class 4A Washington-Marion, 9-7, after 24 minutes, the Gents took advantage of four second-half opportunities (Charging Indian turnovers) to turn around what had been a frustrating game and chalk up an improbable 29-16 road victory.
The Gents, who recovered two fumbles in the first half to quash Charging Indian drives in the red zone, turned the four turnovers into 22 points en route to their first victory of the 2011 season.
“That (the turnovers) was big,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate, whose squad improved to 1-1 with the victory. “They gave us some short fields to get some points on the board and that was huge.”
The Gents’ defense, which gave up nearly 500 yards in a stunning 49-7 loss to Comeaux a week earlier, was undoubtedly the key in the come-from-behind victory Friday.
After giving up 205 total yards and nine first downs in the first two frames, the Gents limited the Indians to just 128 yards and five first downs in the last two quarters.
“In the first half, we just didn’t tackle well,” said Tate. “Call a spade a spade. We didn’t tackle well. You’ve got to give Washington Marion some credit, but we have to do a better job of lining up and getting tackles; we still have a lot of room for improvement.”
The Gents’ comeback started early in the third quarter, after the Charging Indians marched down to the Gents’ 26-yard line on the opening series of the half. At that point, Brennan Andrus intercepted a pass at the 10 and returned it to the 25, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.
Although the Gents failed to capitalize on that turnover and were forced to punt, they quickly got the ball back when, on the first play following the kick, WM’s Osha Jackson was met by a host of Gents at the line of scrimmage and fumbled.
Crowley’s Christopher Hoyt recovered the ball, setting the Gents up 32 yards away from paydirt.
From there, the game took a dramatic turn.
Six plays later, Davante Bourque powered through the middle for a 2-yard touchdown. Bourque then added a successful two-point conversion run to put the Gents up 15-9.
Minutes later, Cade Abshire came up with the third big play of the half when he intercepted a Dylan Gibson pass on the first play of the Indians’ ensuing possession and ran it back to the WM 14, setting up the Gents with another golden opportunity.
Bourque took over from there,with runs of 9 and 4 yards before he scored from one yard out. Mills followed up with the two-point conversion run and, just like that, the Gents went from a 9-7 deficit to a 23-9 lead.
And still they weren’t finished.
On the Indians’ next possession, CHS’ Chris Wilson came up with a big sack following a first down and then Dorris Senegal made an acrobatic one-handed interception on the next play at the CHS 39.
Sparked by a six-yard fourth-down completion from Mills to Denzel Johnson, and aided by a horse collar penalty, the Gents drove again and finally scored when Mills hit Chanz Moore with a 32-yard scoring strike.
That made it 29-9, Gents, and suddenly, the writing was on the wall for the hosts.
“I thought our offensive line did a good job,” said Tate. “They kept pounding and pounding and (Andre) Mills and Bourque kept running hard. We got that two-touchdown lead and that gave us a cushion. And then we got another one in and that helped out tremendously.”
The Indians attempted to get back in the game ad got within two touchdowns (29-16) on a 44-yard touchdown strike from Gibson to Desmond Delahoussye.
But it was as close as they would get.
The Gents recovered the ensuing onside attempt at their 42 and the Washington Marion offense never got on the field again.
The Gents’ final drive, which ended at the WM 1 and took 17 plays, ate he final nine minutes off the clock.
The biggest play of the final drive came with the Gents facing a fourth-and-18 from the 26. Mills converted the first down with a 21-yard pass to Danny Malbrough.
“They (Indians) responded with a drive and got one in there, but we got the onside kick and the offense took over,” said Tate. “I was proud of the offense in the fourth quarter. I mean, that’s championship football right there. You’ve got to be able to run the clock out in the fourth quarter with a lead. The coaches challenged them and they responded.”
Offensively, the Gents racked up 373 total yards, with 175 coming on the ground.
Bourque paced the Gents with 27 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 110 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown catch on a swing pass in the second quarter.
Mills rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries and completed seven of his 18 pass attempts for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Moore had one reception for 32 yards, Malbrough added one catch for 21 and Kaleb Cormier hauled in one pass for 19. Johson had a catch for 11 yards and Treyvard Moore had one for five.
Malbrough also had six rushes for 31 yards and Calvin Robinson had one carry for one yard.
“This was really a good team win after last week,” said Tate. “It was something that we really needed. The kids prepared well all week for a good Washington-Marion football team and they did a good job.”
Crowley returns to action Friday when they play host to Peabody in the Gents’ Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.