Gents slip past Westlake with 2-point conversion
WESTLAKE – Josh Fontenot, admittedly, is not much of a gambler.
But on Friday night, the second-year head coach decided to roll the dice and it paid off in a big way.
Trailing 21-14 with time running out in the fourth quarter, the Gents orchestrated a 13-play, 48-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Ty’Von Griffin that cut the lead to a single point.
Then, instead of kicking the extra point that would have possibly sent the game into overtime, Fontenot elected to go for the win.
“Kicking the extra point wasn’t even an option,” said Fontenot. “I looked back and everyone on the sideline had two fingers held up high.”
Fontenot’s gutsy call proved to be the correct one.
Just as he had done on Griffin’s touchdown run, Fontenot ordered in his ‘goal line package,’ which highlighted defensive linemen Kaj LeMaire and Ja’Jaun Delco in the backfield in front of Griffin.
That duo, along with the rest of the offensive line, opened up a seam and Griffin powered his way through for the 2-point conversion that enabled the Gents to rack up their second victory in as many games, 22-21.
“Probably the best thing that we have added to our offense is that package,” said Fontenot. “Everytime we use it, we have had success. We’re pretty confident in it.”
The Gents’ drive to set up the winning play was equally impressive.
With their backs against the wall, the Gents drove 48 yards with 13 runs and converted on fourth-and-2 from the 6-yard line to keep the drive alive.
“We ran one play that whole drive, just right, left, right, left,” said Fontenot. “And for my kids to do that and just run one play and go whatever yards we went...... You think ‘I’m not going to let them go for two?’
“Heck no. I would have been proud for them to lose the game going for two. That was an easy call.”
Griffin and Chris Lewis did all the leg work on the drive.
Griffin, a sophomore, ran 10 times during the series and picked up 38 yards while Lewis had the other four carries for 20 yards.
“Griff has kind of had to carry the load because Chris has been banged up for the last two weeks,” said Fontenot. “But both of them played their hearts out tonight. Everyone did.”
Griffin was the workhorse again with 31 carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis, playing with a banged up knee, racked up 73 yards on 19 carries.
“I can’t say enough about the heart of Chris Lewis,” said Fontenot. “I mean the kid is banged up. His knee is killing him and he’s still doing everything he can to help his team win. He’s pounding and pounding in there, just trying to give us something.
“He kind of sums up the theme of the team where we’ve been up and down and up and down and we’ve just fought back and fought back. That’s Chris Lewis.”
Not to be overshadowed, quarterback Pate Broussard had an exceptional game as well.
The sophomore quarterback completed six passes on the night including a 40-yard touchdown strike to senior wideout Thomas Cavell in the first quarter. He also hit Jerry Dragin on a 41-yard pass on the Gents first offensive play of the game while Jacq’Co Price and Lewis each had two receptions for 30 and 27 yards, respectively.
“The throwing is coming along,” said Fontenot. “We threw it a little more this game than we did last week. We picked our spots and because I want to put him (Broussard) in a position to where he can be successful or throw it away. He is coming along.”
Defensively, the Gents also had their moments.
However, Westlake exploited that defense with what Fontenot feared the most - the big play.
The Rams scored two of their three touchdowns through the air with quarterback Tim Hamilton hitting Tyler Johnson on a 46-yard scoring strike late in the second quarter and then again in the fourth quarter on a 66-yards strike.
Both of those touchdowns occurred when Hamilton broke containment and Johnson was wide open.
“The big plays have been our Achilles heel all year,” said Fontenot. “(They had) two big touchdown passes where we had a guy sacked and he scrambles, we come out of coverage and he makes a great throw for a score.”
The Gents also had some big plays on defense.
Curtis Broxton and Bryston Domino had a pair of pass breakups on LSU commitment Jacory Washington while Jerry Dragin logged a sack and recovered a fumble. LeMaire had a number of tackles, including two for a loss, while Corde Garrett had a sack and C.J. Douresseaux logged his first interception of the season.
“I mean look at those guys,” said Fontenot, pointing to Westlake. “They have some great football players with a great quarterback. So to hold them to 21, I’m ecstatic.”
The Rams actually got on the board first on a 15-yard run from Bryce Cormier with 5:59 left in the first half.
The Gents answered with the touchdown pass from Cavell at the 2:49 mark of the first quarter but the PAT attempt was botched on a bad snap and Westlake held on to a 7-6 advantage.
The Gents took a 14-7 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Griffin and a 2-point conversion pass to Dregin with 1:19 but the Rams answered back to tie the game on Johnson’s 46-yard touchdown reception with just under a minute left in the half.
Hamilton hauled in his second and final touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter but a penalty for excessive celebration - 15 yards- was accessed on the kickoff, aiding in the Gents’ game-winning drive.
In all, the Gents racked up 334 yards of total offense - 196 on the ground and 138 through the air.
The Rams produced 366 yards of total offense with 275 of those yards through the air.
The Gents will return to action on Friday when they travel to Prairie Rhonde to take on Northwest at 7 p.m.