Iota blasts Lake Arthur in opener
BY CHRIS QUEBEDEAUX
IOTA – It took them a while to get started, but once Iota’s Bulldogs got their running game going Friday, there was basically nothing Lake Arthur could do to stop it.
Iota running back Blaze LeJeune broke open a tight game in the second half, scoring three touchdowns in the final 24 minutes to propel the Bulldogs to a 26-0 victory over the Tigers in the 2008 season opener for both teams.
“We just kept pounding it out and, finally, we got a crack,” said Iota coach Marcus LeJeune of an Iota offense that rolled up 380 yards of total offense on the night - 218 in the second half. “Blaise did a good job of running and our line did a great job of adjusting. We came out a lot better in the second half once we got settled in.”
Iota was effective in the first half, racking up 124 yards on the ground and 38 through the air while totaling six first downs.
Quarterback Chad Abshire gave the Dogs a 6-0 advantage just two plays into the contest, breaking loose on 66-yard touchdown run.
The Bulldogs threatened twice more before the half, marching down to the Lake Arthur 25 yard line before turning the ball over on downs on their second possession and then getting in the red zone again before time expired.
“Lake Arthur did a good job of stopping us when they needed to (early on),” said LeJeune. “They adjusted and they made some big plays.”
But as the first half wore down, so did the Tigers.
The Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter, the first a nine-play, 85-yard drive capped by a 23-yard scoring scamper by LeJeune.
LeJeune followed up on the next series, hitting pay dirt from 55 yards out on a third-and-one situation from the Lake Arthur 45.
“I think that triple A status started taking over and they started to wear us down,” said Lake Arthur coach Chad Lavergne. “Their offense started to get a little bit of movement where they weren’t before.”
Iota’s defense set up the final score of the contest when Trenton Pickett intercepted an Aaron Bertrand pass at the Tigers’ 38-yard line and returned it to the 17. On the very next play, LeJeune found a seam and raced to the end zone for his third touchdown.
Lake Arthur’s offense also had success moving the ball, crossing midfield six times before stalling out.
“If you go back, the way we were moving the ball was on the reverse and the screen,” said Lavergne. “We never really established a rhythm. When you get inside this, when you don’t have a rhythm on your base offense, it gets hard to punch it in.”
Lake Arthur got down to Iota’s 38-yard line on it’s first possession before a big defensive stand that included a batted down pass by Brenton Lanthier and a sack by Justin Benoit forced a punt.
The Tigers also marched into the red zone on their second possession before a sack on fourth down ended the drive.
Lanthier and Chase Doucet also had a sack in the second half. Lanthier also recovered a fumble.
“They (Lake Arthur) have a good ground game, we just took them out of their game,” said LeJeune of his defensive unit that gave up just 158 total yards and seven first downs. “We did a good job of mixing up our coverages and that kept them confused. That enabled our linebackers to get through there every once and a while.”
Offensively, LeJeune led the way with 19 carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. He was followed Abshire with seven totes for 91 yards and one score. John Simar chipped in 51 yards on six carries.
Abshire also connected on five of his eight pass attempts for 66 yards and no interceptions.
Pickett and Jordan Sylestine each had two receptions for 38 and 23 yards respectively while Justin Benoit had one catch for five yards.
Jamal Jones paced the Tigers, rushing 11 times for 56 yards while Duane Watkins and Auldon Robinson each picked up 12 yards.
Bertrand completed five passes for 58 yards. Jones had one reception for 37 yards and Jacob Martin had two catches for 23 yards.