Turnovers prove costly for Iota
BY HOWELL DENNIS
LSN STAFF WRITER
WELSH – In a battle of two teams known for their strong rushing games, the Welsh Greyhounds defeated the Iota Bulldogs 24-0 by playing strong defense and capitalizing on what is beginning to become a major thorn in the side of the Iota offense.
“We have got to stop moving the ball and then fumbling or missing blocks,” said Iota coach Marcus LeJeune. “We have got to learn to finish drives.”
Behind a balanced rushing attack paced by Nick Hebert (13 carries for 71 yards), Will Guidry (16 for 62) and Dylan Hebert (8 for 51) and a stout defense which capitalized on five Iota turnovers, the Greyhounds shutout the Bulldogs, who rushed for 221 yards but were once again plagued by penalties and turnovers.
“I’m really proud of our boys,” said Welsh coach Robbie Gates. “We talked all week about playing focused. No matter what the scoreboard said that was a good team we beat tonight.”
The Greyhounds won the toss and deferred to the Bulldogs who moved the ball well until an Iota fumble was recovered by defensive back Andrew Johnson to end the drive.
Welsh then methodically drove the ball down the field punctuated by a 3-yard Will Guidry touchdown with 6:07 to go in the first quarter. The Greyhounds elected to try for two but were unsuccessful giving Welsh a 6-0 lead.
After the kickoff, the Bulldogs drove the ball down the field, mixing up the power running of Acadia parish’s leading rusher Trey St. Andre and the speedy John Simar who seems to have fully recovered from his shoulder injury from a few weeks back as evidenced by his 92 yards on 15 carries. However, a fourth down screen pass from Ben Thevis to John Simar was read by the Greyhound defense who stopped him for a four-yard loss.
Welsh immediately took advantage of the good field position as tailback Justin Morvant tore through the Iota defense for a 57-yard touchdown run. Once again the Greyhounds tried for two and were stopped making the score 12-0.
On the ensuing kickoff St. Andre had a highlight film 47-yard return, the last 10 of which he carried a Greyhound defender on his back. However, after a couple of first down carries by St. Andre and Simar, a Greyhound defender ran untouched into the Iota backfield and caused a Simar fumble which ended what had been an impressive drive by the Bulldogs.
On the next Greyhound drive, Iota defensive lineman recovered a Guidry fumble which seemed to give the Bulldogs life, however, it was short lived after an Iota personal foul stalled yet another drive.
“We dug a hole for ourselves that we just couldn’t get out of,” said LeJeune.
After stopping the Bulldogs with the help of the penalty, Welsh drove the ball down the field again with Nick Guidry scoring on a 5-yard run making the score 18-0 with 2:55 seconds to go in the first half.
“Our defense was outstanding tonight,” said Gates. “Iota has some really good backs and they got their yards, but when it was crucial we buckled down and stopped them.”
In the second half the Iota defense came out determined and held the Greyhound offense scoreless in the final two quarters. However, Greyhound defensive back Jordan Hebert intercepted a Ben Thevis pass and ran it in for a 52-yard touchdown. Once again, Welsh missed the extra point making the score 24-0 which would be the final margin of victory.
“We were outclassed tonight,” said LeJeune. “If we don’t stop giving gift turnovers and penalties and don’t clean up our act soon we may be in for a long season.”
“Iota played hard and it was never over,” said Gates. “Coach LeJeune does a good job with those boys and they never seem to quit.”
St. Andre finished with 114 yards on 25 carries to go along with Simar’s yardage. The rushing stats were nearly identical with the Greyhounds rushing for 258 yards compared to Iota’s 221. However, the mistakes that LeJeune has been trying to correct for the past few weeks haunted them yet again and the Bulldogs suffered their second straight defeat to even their record at 2-2.
With the victory, Welsh stayed perfect on the season at 4-0.
The Bulldogs next play at home against Oakdale in another 5-2A matchup.
Welsh will be trying to stay perfect on the season next week when they travel to Pine Prairie.