St. Edmund shuts out Iota

IOTA – For the Iota Bulldogs, the opponent changed Friday night, but result did not.

Thanks to several missed opportunities via fumbles, an interception and penalties, the Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 on the year as the St. Edmund Blue Jays won 34-0 and improved to 1-1.

“Our defense never showed up tonight against their (St. Edmund’s) spread offense,” said Bulldogs Coach Neal Legé. “It was like our head was in the lights all night.

“[On offense,] every time we got something going positive, we would fumble the ball. We are hurting ourselves. We are not executing our offense the way we need. Defensively, we have been horrible at tackling and we need to get better.

“We have yet to play a full game. We get out there and maybe get tired a little and we just can’t seem to string four quarters together. We have to regroup next week and go to Lake Arthur and see what we can do.”

The Bulldogs found themselves behind the eight-ball early after an opening drive that looked promising. Iota would march the ball 45 yards down the field in 9 plays, running at will to the St. Edmund 20 yard line. On the 10th play, however, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball and the Blue Jays halted Iota’s drive.

It was a swing in momentum to the Blue Jays that the Bulldogs could never regain.

“We marched the ball down and turned it over and then didn’t do anything again until the end [of the game] when we finally started moving the ball in the second half,” said Legé.

In fact, Iota would commit four turnovers on the night, three in the first half. It was more of the missed opportunities that plagued the Bulldogs all game. Even with six possessions of 11 minutes and 52 seconds in the first half, Iota could not find the end zone or any offensive rhythm after the opening drive falter.

On the other sideline, meanwhile, St. Edmund was dead set on bouncing back from its tough Week One loss to Rayne. And after an opening drive fumble of its own, the Blue Jays would score on five straight possessions between the second and third quarters. In fact, the 28-point second quarter would prove to be the earlier dagger in the game.

“We had a couple of guys get bumped up and were playing some other guys (other than our first team), and it just was too much,” said Legé.

Of its 388 total yards of offense, St. Edmund gained 216 of those yards in the second quarter. The quick-paced Blue Jays kept the Bulldogs reeling in the quarter with fast snaps and solid plays running and passing. It seemed there was no defensive answer for the Blue Jays by the Bulldogs Friday night.

“You can’t play like that; you can’t freelance against that kind of offense,” said Legé. “We did get a few stops, but they scored at will.”

For the Bulldogs the trouble began with the opening drive turnover but was amplified once the Blue Jays began scoring touchdowns. St. Edmund’s first scoring drive was a three play, 56 yard drive that ended with Stone LeJeune scoring on a 54 yard pass from quarterback Drew Brown. Kyle Verdugo’s kick gave St. Edmund the 7-0 lead with 10:25 remaining in the second half.

The busy quarter was only beginning for the Blue Jays after St. Edmund forced a punt, marched the ball 68 yards on 12 plays down the field and scored from 5 yards out. This time, however, it was on the ground, courtesy of Brown’s five yard run. Verdugo would miss the point after, however, and the score would only be 13-0 in favor of the visiting Blue Jays with 5:03 remaining.

Staring at a two possession deficit, Iota would have to answer fast if it wanted to make Friday’s contest a game again. Instead, though, it fumbled again and turned the ball over on the first play from scrimmage. St. Edmund took five plays to travel 53 yards and scored on Brown’s 2 yard pass to Chase Dupre. And thanks to Brown’s conversion pass to Gibson LaFleur, St. Edmund rocketed up to a 21-0 lead with 3:37 remaining.

St. Edmund would get another possession in the second after the Blue Jays’ Dray Veillon hauled in an interception off of Iota’s quarterback Timothy Lunson with 1:50 remaining in the half. True to form St. Edmund traveled 39 yards in two plays and scored a touchdown. With 31 seconds remaining, LeJeune pulled in a 6 yard pass from Brown for the six points and Verdugo would add a kick for another point, giving the Blue Jays a 28-0 lead.

Rolling into halftime facing a 28-0 deficit was tough for Iota, but compounding the problem was their inability to stop the Blue Jays and the fact that St. Edmund would start the second half with the ball.

The Blue Jays would begin the second half as they ended the first, crossing the goal line and lighting up the scoreboard. A slower drive than most of its others, nine plays and 59 yards, the Blue Jays scored with 10:09 remaining in the third on a 27 yards pass from Brown to LeJeune.

Unfortunately for Iota, even though the Bulldogs offense finally found some forward progress, it would also not be able to convert two long drives in the half into points, thanks to a failed fourth down conversion and the Bulldogs’ fourth turnover, another fumble, on the night. Still, it was finally the offensive positive Iota and its fans spent all night looking for.

“We got in the Power I and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to run right at these guys,’ and we had a lot of success with it,” said Legé. “Then we would have that one play that would stop the clock and stop our momentum.”

St. Edmund would end the night with six Blue Jays rushing the ball and five catching passes. Leading the way offensively for the victors was Brown who accounted for all five touchdowns, four passing and one rushing. He would finish the night 16-22 with 223 yards and an interception with his four passing touchdowns and 18 carries for 72 yards and a rushing touchdown.

For the Bulldogs, the offensive numbers were far less. Gaining 183 total yards, 18 yards in the air, 165 on the ground.  Lunson finished the night 3-6 with 18 yards and an interception. On the ground, Michael Thevis led the Bulldogs with 21 carries for 86 yards, and joining him were Kenny Guillory (15 carries for 46 yards), Nick Sloane (eight carries for 26 yards) and Tyler Prejean (three carries for 7 yards). Bulldogs receivers were Kyle Smith (an 8 yard reception), Tristan Fontenot (a 6 yard reception) and Thevis added a four yard reception.

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