Gents fall short at Northwest

PRAIRIE RHONDE – The two things Crowley High coach Josh Fontenot feared most - turnovers and big plays - came back to haunt him and his Gents Friday evening in their non-district game against previously winless Northwest.

The homestanding Raiders took advantage of three Crowley turnovers, one which they returned 60 yards for a touchdown, and came up with just enough big plays to shock the previously-undefeated Gents,  22-20.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Fontenot after the contest. “I’m disappointed in the loss, obviously, but we were not prepared tonight. We got outplayed, we got out coached,we got out hearted and we got out hustled. This was not the same group of kids that we coached the last two weeks.”

Fontenot said one of the reasons for the debacle could have been that his team overlooked the Raiders.

“That could be a factor in it,” he admitted. “I really don’t know, but I just know that’s not who I’ve seen the last two weeks from us. But we talked about this and said this could happen if we didn’t come out ready to play. And we didn’t.”

That was evident from the start when the Gents’  two deep kick returners let the opening kickoff get past them and they had to begin their first possession at the 2 yard  line.

The Gents managed to drive out of that hole - to the 27 yard - but a fumbled snap turned the ball over to the Raiders at the CHS 30.

“We just werern’t ready,” said Fontenot. “From the opening kickoff where we watched the ball roll to the 2-yard line. That was it.

“They just beat us tonight. They wanted it more, they played harder than us. It was simple, they just beat us.”

Fortunately, the Gents’ fumble on the opening series didn’t turn into points. Thanks to a high snap on the Raiders’ first play that set them back 13 yards Northwest eventually was forced to punt.

But the Raiders pinned the Gents back again on the punt and had them starting from within their own 10-yard line.

Again, the Gents were forced to eventually punt and the Raiders took over at their own 41. From there, they drove 59 yards on seven plays before quarterback D’Ante Lewis broke loose for a 20-yard touchdown run.

  Suddenly, it was 7-0, Northwest.

The Gents looked as if they would answer when they drove down the field on their ensuing possession. But as Tiron Foreman broke free for a big gain, he ran into a teammate and fumbled.

That proved costly.

Stephon Alfred picked up the loose pigskin and raced 70 yards for another touchdown and after Lewis ran in a two-point conversion,  the Raiders led 15-0.

“That turnover was possibly the difference in the game,” said Fontenot. “I mean, there was more to it than that, but you can’t fumble when you are inside the 30.”

The Raiders retruned the favor midway through the second quarter when Bryston Domino made a big hit on Chris Lee, forcing a fumble that Domino recovered.

Starting from the Raiders 38, Chris Lewis burst through the line for a 14-yard gain before Ty’Von Griffen put the Gents on the board with a 24-yard touchdown scamper. Griffen then added the two-point conversion run to cut the lead to 15-8.

The Gents threatened to score once more before the half, but another costly fumble thwarted another potential scoring drive with under a minute to go. They drove down to the Raiders’ 11 with 40 seconds to go before the intermission, but another bad exchange on the snap gave Northwest the ball back.

Things didn’t get any better for the Gents in the third quarter.

The Raiders added to their lead  when they drove 65 yards and ate up just over nine minutes on a 13-play drive that was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Kalpatrick Auzenne. 

The PAT made it 22-7.

“You allow a team to go that long and we don’t even really challenge them,” said Fontenot of the drive to start the third quarter. “We had some stupid penalties and we gave up some long runs on long down situations. We were bad. We were as bad as we could be tonight.”

Once again, the Gents threatened on their ensuing possession when Bryston Domino returned the kickoff 64 yards to the Raiders’ 28-yard line. But two plays for negative yards and a holding call that negated a 33-yard touchdown pass to Griffen eventually led to Crowley turning the ball over on downs at the 37.

The Gents got down to the Raiders’ 29 on their next possession, but fourth straight incompletions led to another turn over on downs.

“The chances were there for us,” said Fontenot. “We had plenty of opportunities. Our defense gave us chances, they really did. 

“We’re just not where we need to be yet. We’re still don’t know how to be a winning football team. Winning football teams take advantage of those opportunities and win those football games.”

The Gents were finally  able to cut into the lead midway through the fourth quarter on Pate Broussard’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Dregin. However, the two-point conversion pass fell short, leaving the Gents with a 22-14 deficit with 5:46 to play.

The Gents added another touchdown - 3-yard run by Griffin with 1:59 remaining - but their attempt to tie the game with a two-point conversion run was snuffed out.

“We didn’t deserve to get in on that two-point conversion,” said Fontenot. “We didn’t block anybody. The way we played, we didn’t deserve to win.”

On the night, the Gents produced  363 total yards of offense compared to the Raiders’ 287.

Griffin paced the Gents’ ground attack with 155 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Chris Lewis added seven carries for  45 yards.

Quarterback Pate Broussard added 159 yards on 15 completions, six of which went to Dregin for 60 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Thomas hauled in three passes for 37 yards and Thomas Cavell had two catches for 24. Jacq’Co Price and Griffin also had two receptions each for 20 and 18 yards, respectively.

But even the impressive statistics weren’t enough to lighten the blow of the loss for Fontenot.

“We came in and lost to a team that we feel we should have beat and now we’re scrambling again,” said Fontenot. “We lost an opportunity to keep that momentum again. Now, we’re scrambling to find some heart and our identity again and that’s not an easy thing to do.

“Will we do it? I think we wills because our kids are resilient and they’ve shown that. 

“But, that was the most disappointing thing tonight because the things that we’ve shown in the last two weeks, we didn’t show that tonight.

“It’s gut-check time now.”

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