THE POST-SIGNAL / D. Sexton
Iota’s Owen Harmon picks up a big gain Saturday during the Bulldogs’ 35-14 victory over Northwest. Harmon scored on an eight-yard run and also had a 10-yard touchdown reception on the day.
Bulldogs knock off Northwest to earn berth in 3A playoffs
Win and you’re in.
That was the motto here in Iota Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs took the field to battle the Northwest Raiders. Both teams stood neck and neck in the LHSAA power rankings and the winner was sure to be included in the 32-team field for the class 3A football playoffs.
Iota had not played a game in two weeks due to Covid-19 protocols. Bulldog coach Josh Andrus expressed some concern but was hopeful his team could pull through.
“We were a little rusty to start, both offensively and defensively, but we figured it would take a couple of series to get back to game speed. But I thought our guys did a good job keeping their focus” said Andrus after the Bulldogs’ 35-14 victory over the Raiders.
Iota got on the board first with a long pass play from quarterback Dawson Wallace to wide receiver Connor Daigle. Daigle was the recipient of a 59-yard catch and run to put the Dogs ahead. Louis Doreteo added the PAT and Iota took an early 7-0 lead.
Northwest quickly answered the score, however, with a 15-yard run from running back Devon Davis. The Raiders converted the 2-pt conversion and pulled ahead 8-7 with 8:29 left to play in the first quarter.
The Raiders’ offense controlled the ball for most of the opening quarter and found the end zone early in the second period when running back Trevion Lazard scampered in from five yards out. The Raiders again lined up for two but this time would be denied by the Iota defense. Northwest took the lead 14-7 with 10:31 remaining before half.
The Raider lead did not last for long as Iota running back Daylon Lunson broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and found the end zone from 63 yards out.
The Bulldog offensive line was dominant all night as the stable of Iota ball carriers racked up a total of 265 yards on 38 carries. Lunson accounted for a season high 205 yards on just 12 attempts.
“The defense was on the field a lot in the first quarter, but Lunson gave us the spark we needed with the long run. It seemed to get both sides of the ball playing more physical” said Andrus.
The long touchdown run from Lunson followed by the PAT from Doreteo tied the game up at 14 apiece.
It would be the Bulldog defense providing the spark on the next Raider drive as Iota’s Luke Duhon snatched his fourth interception of the season and put the Dogs in business in Raider territory.
Iota put together a short scoring drive capped off by a 5-yard run by Wallace right up the middle behind the blocks of center Nick Hebert and the rest of the Bulldog offensive line.
Coach Andrus said the offensive line play was key to the Bulldogs success.
“Lunson’s long run energized the o-line and they became more physical about halfway through the second quarter” added Andrus.
The Dogs took a 21-14 lead heading into the half time break.
Northwest got the ball to start the second half and moved the ball inside Bulldog territory but were unable to get points out of the drive.
The Raiders got back into Bulldog territory again on their next drive, getting all the way inside the Iota 5-yard line. Iota’s defense rose to the occasion, however and denied the Raiders yet again.
The Raiders had a fourth and goal inside the Bulldog 10, but Iota corner back Payton Daigle knocked away a pass from Northwest quarter back John Jolivette to give the ball back to the Bulldog offense.
Coach Andrus was sure to praise his defense after the game.
“Our linebackers played downhill a lot better and then the D-line started to take over the trenches. I thought our secondary played excellent in the last three quarters against bigger, very athletic receivers,” said Andrus.
Iota found pay dirt mid-way through the fourth quarter as Wallace connected with tight end Owen Harmon for an 8-yard scoring strike. Wallace finished with 75 yards passing and two touchdowns. The Doroteo PAT was true and the Bulldogs extended the lead to 14 points, making the score 28-14.
Harmon wasn’t done however, as the junior found the end zone a little later, this time on a 10-yard run. The PAT was good once again and Iota took the win over Northwest 35-14 to shore up their spot in the playoffs.
Iota, the No. 27 seed in Class 3A, will travel to Kentwood on Friday to take on No. 6 Jewel Sumner at 7 p.m.