Washington Marion slips past Crowley

Crowley High's Chris Lewis hurdles a defender Friday during the Gents' 28-21 loss to Washington Marion at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.

CROWLEY – For a while Friday, it seemed that the Crowley Gents would overcome a horrific first half and pull a victory from the jaws of defeat in their District 4-4A showdown with the Washington-Marion Charging Indians.
After all, the Gents had rallied for a pair of second-half touchdowns to erase a two-touchdown deficit and owned the momentum and a 21-20 lead with less than eight minutes to play.
But the Charging Indians, who had won just once in their five previous games, converted two critical fourth-downs in the final minutes and scored with less than four minutes to play to spoil the Gents’ comeback, 28-21.
“That was one of the hardest fought games that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here ... by both teams,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot after the loss that sent his team to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. “What a game from Washington-Marion; what a game from our kids.
“But it was the same story for us; we just keep killing ourselves and it caught up with us tonight.”
The mistakes were plentiful for the Gents and were there from the start. Quarterback Pate Broussard was intercepted three times in the first two frames and the Indians picked up a fumble for a scoop-and-score on a sack to put the Gents in an early hole.
“Yeah, we had some mistakes, but I’m so proud of our kids for what they did tonight,” said Fontenot. “We really have a good football team and we’re going to win some more games.
“But we have to clean it up. It’s the same story every week - turnovers and big plays.”
Penalties also played a key factor in the contest. The Gents were flagged 11 times for 81 yards, including an offsides call on fourth-and-4 during the Indians’ eventual game-winning drive.
That penalty gave the Indians (2-4, 1-2 ) a first down at midfield and they moved the chains again on a fourth-and-long situation thanks to a 24-yard pass play.
Two plays later, quarterback Quaje Boutte plunged in from two yards out. He then completed the 2-point conversion run to give the Indians a 28-21 advantage with 3:32 left in the game.
“Hats off to them (Washington Marion). I mean, what a drive,” said Fontenot of the Indians. “Two fourth-down conversions; they threw a pass out of the backfield ... I mean, they beat us tonight. We helped them, but they beat us.
“We gave them that first down and gave them life. It’s the little things and we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The Gents had one last opportunity to tie or win the game after starting their final drive at their own 35-yard line after the Indians’ kickoff went out of bounds.
A big pass from Broussard to Thomas Cavell got the Gents to midfield and then on fourth-and-2 from the 42, Tre’Von Griffen burst through the line for three yards.
One play later, the Gents were tagged with an illegal substitution penalty that backed them up to the 43 and back-to-back incompletions saw them turn the ball over on downs with less than a minute remaining.
The two incompletions on the Gents’ final drive looked to be catches, but officials ruled that the first hit the ground and the second — which would have been good for about 25 yards — was out of bounds.
“I thought we had a big fourth-down conversion on our last drive and then I thought we caught both of the balls that were ruled incomplete,” said Fontenot. “But that’s part of the game and you have got to fight through those things and keep going.
“You can’t leave it out of your hands and that’s what we did. We took the game out of our hands with the turnovers and everything and it came back and bit us in the behind.”
The Indians got off to a fast start when they mounted a nine-play, 61-yard drive to start the game that was capped by a Deondre Lewis 4-yard touchdown run.
Boutte, who plays defensive back as well as quarterback, picked off Broussard on the Gents’ ensuing dive to set up their second score of the night. He then switched sides of the ball and hit Harold Johnson on a 47-yard pass to set up his own 2-yard touchdown run.
That put the Indians up, 13-0.
The lone highlight of the first half for the Gents occurred on the ensuing kickoff when Bryston Domino fielded the kick at the 1-yard line and raced 99 yards for a touchdown.
The Gents forced a fumble three plays later and had good field position, but Chris Wiltz sacked Broussard at the CHS 40, forcing a fumble, and then picked up the ball and outran the Gents for a touchdown.
In all, the Indians racked up 171 total yards in the first half while the Gents were able to produce just 65.
The Gents answered with a 67-yard drive to start the second half and Griffin scored from four yards out to cut the lead to 20-13.
The Gents then took their only lead of the game with 7:47 remaining in the game when Chris Lewis broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown run. Griffin ran in the two-point conversion to for a 21-20 advantage.
“The way the game played out I think speaks volumes for of our kids,” said Fontenot. “There were so many reasons to fold up and some many times we could have shut it down. But we came back in the second half and scored twice and took the lead.”
Although disappointing, the loss was not a make-or-break game for the Gents, Fontenot said. With four games remaining, three in league play, anything can happen, he said.
“We’re 4-2 and I can’t be displeased with where we are,” he said. “We lost the first one of a big four-game stretch so we’ve got some work to do.  But we’ll be fine.”

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