Gents rally past Wossman
CROWLEY – A pair of big plays gave the Wossman Wildcats a 12-0 lead just two minutes into their season-opening game against the Crowley Gents Friday.
On most nights, most teams would have panicked.
But not the Gents.
Instead, the hosts battled back to get within 20-13 at the break and, then, fueled by the running of Ty’Von Griffin and bolstered by a rejuvenated defense, took over in the second half to rally for a 34-20 victory that had the Gardiner Memorial Stadium crowd standing and cheering at the end.
“We really just kind of kicked it up a notch in the second half,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot after the contest. “We really didn’t change anything at the half; it was like, ‘What are you doing? We’re killing ourselves.’
“In the second half, we just kind of pinned our ears back and said ‘Let’s go.’ ”
The Gents’ offense scored 21 unanswered points and racked up 220 yards over the final 24 to subdue the Wildcats, last-minute replacements on the schedule for Sarah Reed of New Orleans.
Sarah Reed dropped football last month due to a lack of players.
Chris Lewis’ 4-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in the third quarter got the Gents kick started, moving them to within one (20-19) .
But instead of kicking the PAT to tie the score, Fontenot elected to go for the two-point conversion, which they converted when Lewis plunged into the end zone to give the Gents a 21-20 advantage.
“Our goal line package has really been pretty good so I have a lot of confidence in our kids to do that,” said Fontenot of the two-point conversion attempt. “To me, it wasn’t a risk; our kicking game wasn’t very sharp tonight and I think that was more of a risk so it was kind of an easy call.”
So was what happened next.
Fontenot dialed up a short kick on the ensuing kickoff that worked just as Fontenot hoped it would.
The kick bounced off a defender and was recovered by Crowley’s Jarvis Harmon at the Wossman 42-yard line to set up another CHS touchdown.
“We never really onside kick, we squib kick,” said Fontenot. “And by doing the squib, they (opponents) never know where the ball is going.
“If the ball squirts through they’re going to get it at the 35. You always have a chance for it to bounce off a guy.
“It wasn’t really an onside call, but our squib always gives us an onside opportunity. I wish I could be like Sean Payton and say I called it but that wasn’t the case.”
Three plays later, the Gents were forced to send on the punt team.
That’s when they took a page out of Wossman’s playbook.
After seeing Wossman convert on two fake punts earlier in the game, the Gents saw an opening and returned the favor when Thomas Cavell rolled out on his rugby style punt and raced 12 yards for a first down at the WHS 26.
Three plays later, Lewis punched it in from 13 yards out for a 27-20 advantage after a missed PAT.
“The fake punt is kind of a thing that is there and you always kind of talk about it,” said Fontenot. “We have talked about doing it with that style of punt and Thomas (Cavell) saw the signal and he went do it. That was a momentum changer right there.”
It certainly was and so was the performance of the Gents’ defense which made a 180 degree turn from it’s effort in the first half.
After giving up 185 yards and five first downs in the first 24 minutes, the Gents limited the Wildcats to just 40 yards and two first downs in the second half.
The unit also forced two fumbles in the second half and had a big pass breakup in the end zone by Cavell on a fourth-and-long play by the Wildcats. Cord Garrett also had a big sack late in the game to force another turnover on downs.
On the night, the Gents forced three fumbles, the first of which was recovered by senior Jerry Dregin.
Gent rookies also played a major role. Sophmores John Marceaux and Luke Stutes each recovered fumbles, one of which was jarred loose on a bone crushing hit by fellow sophomore Matthew Doty.
“Our defense tonight; I mean, wow,” said Fontenot. “We gave up two long runs early in the game and that was it; I mean nothing. I thought the defense played phenomenal. The defense was just amazing.”
The bulk of Wossman’s 225 total yards of offense was produced by quarterback Cameron Lewis, on just two plays. He broke free on a 63-yard scoring run on the first offensive play of the game and later scored on a 73-yard keeper in the first half to finish the night with 132 yards.
The Wildcats also took advantage of a bad snap on a Crowley punt early in the first quarter when Jarrell Brooks picked up the loose pigskin and raced in for a touchdown from 15 yards out.
“We had that punt debacle early in the game and I think we just came out nervous,” said Fontenot.
“They (Wildcats) come out and go 60 yards or so for a score out of the gate. It wasn’t good.
“But I thought that just showed the resiliency that we have. Nobody really panicked and we just fought back. “
The Gents answered back after falling behind 12-0 with a nine-play, 71-yard drive that was capped with a 7-yard touchdown run by Griffin.
Griffin added another 7-yard touchdown run following Dregin’s fumble recovery in the first half. He also had a 3-yard scoring scamper early in the fourth quarter and finished the night with 162 yards on 32 carries.
Lewis added 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries while quarterback Pate Broussard picked up 20 yards on three carries.
“You know, they (Wossman) came out and said ‘you’re not going to run on us’ and I said ‘no, we are’ and we did a good job with it,” said Fontenot, whose team rushed for 284 yards on the night.
“From the start, I said we are going to be a physical football team and we are. Tonight, it worked. We moved the ball like we wanted to in the second half.”
Broussard also completed nine of 17 pass attempts for 78 yards. He hit Curtis Broxton on a screen pass that went for 39 yards and Dregin, Bryston Domino and Lewis each had two receptions. Cavell and Griffin each finished with one.
“Overall, the boys just did outrageous,” said Fontenot. ““Hats off to our kids; they fought so hard; they showed a lot of heart tonight and I’m very proud of them.
“I’m happy where we’re at. We’re 1-0 and we’re 1-0 against Wossman. That’s okay, that’s significant, I think.”
The Gents return to action on Friday when they travel to Westlake to take on the Rams at 7 p.m.