Lake Arthur slips past Iota

By: Jeannine LeJeune
LAKE ARTHUR – When the Iota Bulldogs traveled to take on the Lake Arthur Tigers on Friday night, they had one goal, stop Lake Arthur’s running game; the key for an Iota victory.

Unfortunately for Iota, they could not stop the Tigers and even with scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs fell short with a 28-21 defeat.

The Bulldogs’ loss moved the team to a 2-5 (1-3 in district 5-2A) record on the year, while Lake Arthur moved to 5-2 (3-0). In fact, the Tigers now are the sole holders of the lead in the district after Mamou fell to Oakdale 25-7.

“(Lake Arthur) has a good football team,” said Iota Head Coach Marcus LeJeune. “They’ve ran the ball well and ran over everyone they’ve played. They’re guaranteed about three yards each carry, and that’s hard to stop.”

Early in the game, it appeared as if the same issues that have plagued Iota over the past few weeks were once again surfacing. The Bulldogs had three fumbles in the first half, all recovered by Iota, and the team racked up early penalties. Couple that with a lack of offensive rhythm in the first quarter and Lake Arthur scoring late in the first and midway in the second, it appeared that the Bulldogs would be playing catch-up all game long. But, Iota found a spark in their offense in the second quarter with Kyle Leger serving as a running back, allowing them to make it a one possession ball game and a more manageable one with a 14-6 game at the half. Leger would finish with 12 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.

“Things just started falling for us,” said LeJeune.

But, for Lake Arthur, the game’s key quarter would prove to be the third. The Tigers kept Iota out of the end zone and scored a touchdown of their own and brought the score to 22-6.

“I thought the third quarter was crucial,” said Chad Lavergne, head coach of Lake Arthur. “It’s been our worst quarter all year and we had a great third quarter, both offensively and defensively. It gave us the lead to survive their push at the end.

“Also, our offensive line asserted themselves in the third quarter and even more so in the fourth.”

While Lake Arthur was thrilled with the way the third quarter turned out, Iota definitely was not.

“We got back into the game in the second quarter, but that third quarter we didn’t answer their score and we had to once again play catch-up after that,” said LeJeune.

Lake Arthur would also add another score less than four minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs would comeback and almost made a game out of it with two touchdowns late in the fourth. Bryce Zaunbrecher had a 48 yard touchdown catch, it was his only catch on the night, and Ethan Navarre punched in final score of the game with ten seconds to go.

The good news for Iota’s defense, the Bulldogs did not allow any big plays and likely is what aided in allowing Iota to keep in the ball game throughout.

Iota was also fortunate to not have any serious injuries during the game, but Lake Arthur wasn’t so lucky. D’Anglo Thompson and Evan Deshotel were both taken away for more evaluations on their respective injuries.

“Evan they hauled off just to run some tests for a suspected concussion. He had feeling in his legs but his neck was hurting,” said Lavergne. “With D’Angelo they are just checking his ankle.”

The Tigers were led by Trent Hargrave who had 28 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

“Trent was a workhorse, just like he is every week,” said Lavergne. “We feel confident giving him the ball a lot on offense even though he plays every snap on defense.”

Other leaders for Lake Arthur were Colby Benoit, who had 71 yards on 17 carries, and Aaron Bertrand, who carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Bertrand would also finish the night with three completions out of seven tries and 35 yards passing. The team finished with 253 total rushing yards.

For Iota, Leger led the team with his 38 yards, but was closely followed by Navarre with 20 yards on six carries and a touchdown. The Bulldogs were limited, once again, to less than 100 yards rushing, this time 88. As for the passing game, quarterback Thomas Murrell would finish the game with 117 passing yards and a touchdown on five completions out of nine attempts.

Overall, the Bulldogs had a much cleaner game than in weeks past, the team finished with five penalties for 31 yards and lost none of its fumbles.

Lake Arthur, on the other hand, helped let Iota back in the game in the fourth with a late fumble and two penalties, giving the Bulldogs a shorter field in both of their fourth quarter touchdown drives.

“For half of the fourth quarter we played well, but the turnover hurt us,” said Lavergne. “(Iota) battled back, hats off to them.”

Next week, both the Tigers and the Bulldogs will be on the road. Lake Arthur will travel to winless district foe Pine Prairie and Iota will travel east to face Livonia (1-6, 0-2 in district 8-3A).

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