Gents cruise past Northwest
CROWLEY – When they needed it the most, the Crowley Gents stepped up in big way.
With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Gents turned in one of their most impressive overall performances of the season Friday, scoring six first-half touchdowns and forcing seven turnovers en route to a dominating 62-13 victory over Northwest (2-8) at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
“The challenge was to come out and play with a lot of intensity and speed on both sides of the football, have some fun and get after it and that’s what we did.” said Crowley High coach Tommy Tate following the victory that sent his squad to 6-4 on the season and all but guaranteed themselves a playoff spot when the Class AAA brackets are released later today.
The writing was on the wall early for the visiting Raiders and it wasn’t encouraging.
The Gents, using a balanced offensive attack, scored on three of their first four possessions and that was just the beginning.
A 41-yard pass from quarterback Tuskani Figaro to Tonori Boutte got the Gents down to the Northwest 21-yard line of the first play of the game and three plays later, Davante Bourque scored from 16 yards to set the tone for the night.
The Gents then forced a fumble on Northwest’s ensuing possession and two plays later, Bourque hit pay dirt once again, breaking loose for a 52-yard scoring run.
The Gents added another touchdown following a fumble recovery by Nick Hoffpauir. Figaro did the honors from one yard out to increase the lead to 20-6 with just under a minute to go in the opening frame.
It was much of the same in the second quarter.
The Gents added three more touchdowns in the period - 26- and 9-yard runs by Bourque and a 45-yard touchdown pass from Figaro to Andre Mills - to take a commanding 41-6 advantage at the break.
In all, the Gents racked up 410 total yards of offense (191 rushing and 219 passing) in the first half and logged 14 first downs on just 37 plays.
“Again, that’s when we are at our best, when we are balanced,” said Tate of his team’s offensive outburst in the first half. “It started off with the first play and that’s what we’ve talked about...playing with a lot of tempo and playing with a lot of confidence and getting the job done.”
The Gents were equally impressive on defense. After two weeks of subpar play, the Gents defensive unit limited Northwest to just 63 total yards and two first downs in the first half. They also forced four fumbles and had one interception in the first 24 minutes.
“Defensively, we forced a bunch of turnovers and that was our game plan going in,” said Tate. “We wanted to see how many turnovers we could get on defense and try and protect the ball offensively.”
The defense kept things going in the second half when Brody Deshotel and Travoris Robinson tackled Northwest’s punter in the end zone for a safety to start the third quarter.
Boutte then returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to the Northwest 15 before Danny Malbrough scored from one-yard out two plays later to give the Gents a 49-6 lead.
But the defense wasn’t quite done.
On the first play of Northwest’s next possession, Christian Allen picked up a fumble and returned it 11 yards for another touchdown.
Northwest was able to mount a 10-play, 77-yard drive on its ensuing possession that was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by DeQuincy Jones.
Crowley’s final touchdown of the contest occurred early in the fourth quarter when the Gents were attempting to run clock with the reserves on the field. Seven straight run plays resulted in an 11-yard score by Malbrough.
Crowley finished the night with 511 total yards, 292 coming on the ground. The Gents didn’t throw a single pass in the second half.
Bourque led the ground attack with 139 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries. Malbrough followed with 71 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and Figaro had eight carries for 49 yards and one touchdown.
Figaro also completed 15 of his 20 pass attempts for 219 yards and one touchdown.
Boutte hauled in three passes for 65 yards while Nick Cavell and Mills each had 55 yards on six and two receptions respectively. Kaleb Cormier had two catches for 25 yards, Bourque had one for 13 and Chanz Moore had one for six.
The victory was much needed with the Gents sitting in the No. 27 slot in the unofficial power ratings heading into the contest. It was also much needed for a squad that had lost back-to-back one-point games in the previous two weeks.
Fittingly, the victory came at home on Senior Night.
“You know, it’s been a tough year,” said Tate. “We’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity whether it be injuries or tough losses. I have to hand it to our seniors; they stuck together throughout the year and it was a good win for us tonight.”