Gents take sting out of Yellow Jackets
BY CHRIS QUEBEDEAUX
CROWLEY – Some things are better left unsaid.
At least that the case for Iowa coach David Miller, who was overheard saying Wednesday after a 14-0 jayvee loss to Crowley High that his Yellow Jackets were going to score 80 points on the Gents if the opportunity arose.
Those words got back to the Gents on Thursday and they came back to haunt Miller and the Yellow Jackets on Friday.
Motivated by the incendiary comments, Crowley’s defensive unit responded with one of their best performances in years, holding Iowa’s potent offense to just 76 total yards and no points as the Gents shocked the 13th-ranked Yellow Jackets, 12-0, at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
It was a humbling experience for the Yellow Jackets, who had scored 41 points against Jena a week earlier and had rung up 45 points against the Gents in 2007.
“Our kids come out to work everyday and for somebody to say that they are going to put 80 on us, those kids took that personally,” said CHS defensive coordinator Cedric Figaro following the contest. “Our kids came out here and performed tonight. They did what we asked them to do, what the game plan called for, and we got a goose egg.”
The victory avenged last year’s 45-8 loss to the Yellow Jackets and it sent the Gents to a perfect 2-0 on the season.
“This is kind of a benchmark where both programs are today as compared to last year at this time,” said CHS head coach Tommy Tate. “We really didn’t show up last year when we played them and I think everybody on this team realized that. It was a blowout and they deserved it.
“They were a very good football team that night and we weren’t. Tonight, I thought we were a good football team and, you know, we were good enough to win.”
The Gents’ defense was stellar all night, recording numerous sacks while also breaking up a number of pass attempts, especially late in the game when the Yellow Jackets were forced to go to the air.
In fact, in the fourth quarter alone, the Gents broke up nine passes and picked off backup quarterback Gene Pete twice. Brandon Harmon had an interception early in the quarter before Troy Wilridge sealed the shutout by picking off a pass with three seconds remaining in the contest.
“We challenged them and they stepped up to the challenge,” said Figaro of his secondary. “We knew that this team (Iowa) had four receivers that are solid, quality receivers and our kids stepped up to the challenge.”
Offensively, the Gents got it done despite posting just 153 total yards - 103 of that in the first half.
“It was kind of one of those field position games where you get a team backed up, you try and keep them backed up and, hopefully, you get a score,” said Tate. “Iowa just all out came out and blitzed. They knew we were trying to run the football and they did a lot of good run blitzes and made it hard for us to move it running the football.”
Crowley’s first and only touchdown occurred on the Gents’ opening drive.
On fourth-and-long, Iowa was flagged for roughing the punter, giving the Gents a fresh set of downs at the IHS 29-yard line. Five straight runs by Josh Citizen got the ball inside the 10 before Dexter Scott hit Josh Thomas for an 8-yard scoring strike. Craig Escarra’s extra point gave the locals a 7-0 advantage with 2:08 remaining in the opening quarter.
Escarra added to the Gents’ lead in the second quarter when he connected on a 23-yard field goal to up the score to 10-0.
The Gents posted their final points in the third quarter when the Yellow Jackets were attempting to punt from their own end zone. Casey Mayfield broke around the corner and blocked the punt, knocking it out of the end zone for a safety.
Citizen was the Gents’ leading rusher, gaining 61 yards on 21 carries while Scott picked up 55 yards on 13 attempts.
Scott also completed three passes for 37 yards. He hit Keith Pierson twice for 30 yards and Thomas once for seven.
The victory was bittersweet for the Gents, who had three players suffer injuries. Running back Steven Boulet left the game early in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury; Mayfield was lifted with a shoulder injury, and Jeffery Trahan left the field with what appeared to be a twisted ankle.
“You know, this time of year you start to get that (injuries),” said Tate. “You’ve got to get them well. That’s all part of the training and hopefully these guys will bounce back and be ready to go next Friday.”