Gents rally past Church Point in Acadia Parish Jamboree
RAYNE – Fans attending the opening game of Acadia Parish Jamboree in hopes of an offensive showdown were sadly disappointed Thursday.
Unlike like last year’s jamboree opener, a 41-34 victory by Rayne over Crowley in a game that produced nearly 900 yards of total offense, Thursday’s first game was a defensive struggle from the opening kickoff.
Crowley High and Church Point battled for field position the entire night with each team mustering just over 100 yards.
In the end, the Gents forced three turnovers, two of which led to scores, in a 12-7 victory over the Bears.
“Overall, in my heart I’m an offensive coach, so it was hard to watch us go out there and do that,” said Crowley High coach Josh Fontenot after watching his squad produce just 106 total yards of offense and five first downs on the night.
“But I’ve told our team all along that we need to win games by being a physical football team and tonight, I think we took a step towards doing that.
“Another thing I was pleased with was that in the past, we would have found a way to lose that game. Tonight, we just happened to find a way to fight and win it and that’s a huge step forward for us.”
The Bears aided in the Gents’ victory by putting the ball on the ground five times, losing four fumbles.
“You can’t turn the football over four times in any game, much less basically a half of game,” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux of the contest that consisted of two 15-minute halves. “You just can’t make those mistakes and expect to win.”
The first turnover occurred just minutes into the contest after the Bears forced the Gents to punt after three plays to start the game. The punt by Thomas Cavell was mishandled and Crowley’s Jerry Dregin recovered the loss ball at the Church Point 24-yard line.
Crowley’s Ty’Von Griffin took the ensuing handoff and burst through the line for 23 yards. He scored two plays later from one yard out to put the Gents up 6-0 with 12:16 remaining in the half.
From there, the Gents sputtered on offense. They went three-and-out after Ryan Girard recovered a fumble and then, following a few short runs by Griffin and Tiron Foreman, quarterback Pate Broussard was intercepted by Church Point’s Frederick Williams.
The interception set the Bears up on their own 34-yard line and they mounted a time-consuming drive that ended in a 9-yard touchdown run by Christian Veronie. Kian Richard then split the uprights on the PAT to give the Bears a 7-6 advantage.
From there, Crowley’s defense took over. The Gents gave up just two first downs in the second half and forced yet another turnover on the Bears’ side of the field.
Cavell reeled off another big punt, 46 yards, with just over six minutes remaining to pin the Bears at their own 6-yard line. Another bad exchange between the quarterback and center resulted in the biggest turnover of the night for Church Point.
Crowley’s Ja’Juan Delco recovered the loose pigskin at the 4 yard line and one play later, Griffin pounded his way in for his second touchdown of the night. The Gents’ two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving them with a 12-7 advantage with just under six minutes to go.
The Bears had one last chance to win the game and it started out promising enough when James Bellard had a big kickoff return back to the Gents’ 36-yard line.
The Gents, however, didn’t fold.
The Bears gained just three yards on three plays and then Jake Morvant’s pass attempt on fourth down was dropped.
“Offensively, we’ve got to get better,” said Arceneaux. “We’ve got to find a way to make plays on third down and keep the chains moving.
“Late in the game, we needed to put a drive together and we just couldn’t make the plays when we needed to. We dropped a pass right there on fourth down that would have moved the chains. We’ve got to find away to do those things. The good thing is we’re going to walk away tonight 0-0.”
The Gents got 67 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from Griffin while Broussard completed five of his 12 pass attempts for 44 yards. Cavell had one reception for 28 yards, Jacq’Co Price hauled in two passes for 14 yards and Foreman had one for four.
Their 108 total yards was a far cry from what Fontenot was hoping for.
“It was ugly,” said Fontenot. “Our offense was bad and our kids know it. But Church Point had a lot to do with us not being productive tonight. Don’t think that No. 33 (Trevor Breaux) and No. 42 (Tedrick Citizen) are not two of the better defensive players that we’re going to see all year.
“They (Church Point) are a well-coached defense that came and got after us; they put a lot of pressure on us and they came and hit us in the mouth. That’s a good defensive group so for us to produce a little offensive movement, that wasn’t horrible.”
The Bears put up 58 yards on the ground and 48 through the air for a total of 106.
Bellard led the charge on the ground with 26 yards on seven carries while Veronie had 20 yards on five carries.
Morvant completed five of 12 pass attempts, hitting a different receiver each time. Breaux had one catch for 13 yards while Jacques Wimberly and Tyler Wheeler each had one for 10.
“We looked decent in the passing game, but we’ve got to get better in run,” said Arceneaux. “We’re a run-first team and we can’t leave ourselves in third-and-long where people can load up and come after us. We’ve got to be able to use our play action and throw the ball on first down.
“So, there’s room for improvement. We’ll go back, watch the film and correct our mistakes and try to get better for Week 1.”
Fontenot also came out of the jamboree with mixed emotions. His offense wasn’t quite where he thought it would be, but his defense was ahead of schedule and that is always a plus, he said.
“Our defense really stole the show tonight,” said Fontenot. “We had a few highlights here and there offensively, but we had too many dropped passes.
“But what we did do was run some plays and punt, run some plays and punt. You can win football games when you can punt and play defense. It burns me up because I want to see 49 on the board, but I think, moving forward as a program, we need to have more 12-7 wins than 49-35 wins.”