Peabody outlasts Crowley
By: Chris Quebedeaux
ALEXANDRIA – W. C. Davis Stadium is far from the O.K. Corral, but it was a shootout none-the-less Friday when the Crowley Gents squared off against the Peabody Warhorses.
In the end, the Warhorses, thanks to some misfires by the Gents, had just a little more firepower.
The Warhorses, who a week earlier lost another shootout to Carroll (48-46), got a highlight-reel performance from running back Jalen Richard Friday, thwarted a late CHS threat, and slipped past the No. 6-ranked Gents, 48-42, in a game not for the weak of heart.
The disappointing loss dropped the Gents to 2-2 on the season heading into next week’s Homecoming game against Rayne. Peabody improved to 2-2.
“We had problems tackling the tailback tonight,” a emotionally and physically drained CHS coach Tommy said afterward. “We didn’t do a very good job of that at all.”
That was an understatement.
Richard, in one of the most impressive performances in years against a CHS defense, rushed 41 times - a season high - for 352 yards and six touchdowns. The eye-popping performance raised his totals after four games to 1,020 yards and 18 touchdowns on 130 carries.
“Jaylen has started for us since he was a freshman and he just has a knack for the game,” said Peabody coach Phillip Payne of his junior running back. “He’s just done a tremendous job for us.”
Peabody piled up 485 yards on the night with just 86 yards passing.
“We wanted to use the physical game,” said Payne. “That’s the only way we know how right now. We can pass, but if they can’t stop the run, why pass?”
Richard’s performance overshadowed a couple of outstanding performances by CHS’ Davante Bourque, who overcame a costly fumble to rush for 161 on 13 carries and score two touchdowns, and Tuskani Figaro, who rushed for 66 yards and three touchdowns.
“Davante Bourque had a good night running the ball, Tuskani ran the ball tough,” said Tate, who also praised his team’s defensive effort in the second half.
The bottom line for the Gents was simple: they were unable to contain the run against the Warhorses - Richard in particular - and they committed four costly turnovers.
“We just had too many mistakes on the road against a team that can run the football,” said Tate.
The writing for wall appeared early in the game.
After getting a gift possession at the Peabody 23 following a high snap on a punt, they squandered a scoring opportunity when a pass slipped through the hands of Tonori Boutte and was intercepted by a diving Cedric Green.
Another hint that it wasn’t going to be their night occurred on a kickoff return in the second quarter following a 21-yard touchdown run by Richard.
Bourque fielded the ball and was stripped by Richard, who then returned it 30 yards for a score to put the Warhorses up 20-6.
“We had an opportunity early on with the bad snap and then we throw an interception,” said Tate. “And special teams, we had the strip for a touchdown. I mean, there were a lot of tough things that happened to this football team out here tonight.”
Fortunately, Bourque was able to get the point back and redeem himself just moments later when he returned the ensuing kickoff 90-yards for a touchdown.
That return was nearly more yards than the Gents had offensively in the entire first half. Peabody limited the Gents to just 1115 yards in the first two quarters with only 18 coming on the ground.
But even with the limited offensive production, the Gents only trailed 34-20 at the break.
Things appeared to turn around quickly for the Gents when Bourque broke loose on a 68-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter and scored again six minutes later - from 47 yards out - to tie the game.
“They (Peabody) are a blitzing football team and we knew at times it would be tough to get yards running the football,” said Tate. “But we knew if we popped one that there was a chance we could make some big plays on them and we did. We just have to do a lot better job of being more efficient offensively and cut down on the turnovers.”
Unfortunately, it was to be the Gents’ last hurrah.
After holding Peabody for two straight series, the Gents set up at their own 20-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter. But on the first play, Tuskani Figaro fumbled, giving Peabody the ball at the 35.
Two straight runs by Richard followed by a horse collar call on the Gents led to a two-yard touchdown run by Keverick Tanner.
“That fumble right there was a big turning point,” said Tate. “It gave them the momentum because they knocked that one in. That was a really big turning point of the second half.”
Richard hit pay dirt for the final time in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard run to give the Warhorses a 48-34 cushion.
The Gents answered with a 53-yard, 11-play drive that was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Figaro, who also ran in the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 48-42 with 4:56 remaining.
Then, after forcing the Warhorses to punt, the Gents had one last chance with just under three minutes to go.
Boutte made a leaping grab over the middle to convert a fourth-and-long play at the PHS 34, but Figaro was picked off by Green again at the 10-yard line to end the Gents’ hopes of a come-from-behind victory.
“We had opportunities,” said Tate. “It’s 48-42 and we have the last possession. I really felt like everybody on the team thought we were going to go in there and get the winning score. It just didn’t happen.”
Although Tate wasn’t pleased with the overall outcome, he did see a number of bright spots on the night.
“We just have to learn from this, put it behind us and move on to the next ballgame,” said Tate. “It’s against Rayne, it’s Homecoming and it will be great to be back at home.”