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Tioga ends Tarpons’ season in Galliano slugfest

Tioga ends Tarpons’ season in Galliano slugfest

Before Friday’s game between Tioga and South Lafourche, the youthful Indians were loose. They jammed out to rap music with their own sound system – each player singing along to the tunes blared from the speakers.

Once the music stopped and the game was played, the Indians were still dancing – just to the second round of the Class 4A State Playoffs.

Tioga beat South Lafourche 31-16 on Friday in a wild, thrilling game that featured scoring plays in all three phases of the game.

Coach Blake Forsythe said he’s disappointed that the Tarpons couldn’t defend their home field, but added that he’s proud of the effort his players gave to play until the final whistle – even after falling behind early.

“We got behind early and that sort of is what did us in,” Forsythe said. “But we didn’t quit. We played hard and our guys made it a football game. When you dig yourself the hole that we did, really, that’s almost all you can ask. I’m proud of the effort.”

Friday’s game was a classic tale of one step forward and two steps back.

Every time South Lafourche got momentum in the game, something happened to take it away – either a penalty, a slip-up or a solid play by Tioga.

On the first drive of the game, the Tarpons appeared to successfully convert a fourth down and 1, but moved before the snap for a false start. The penalty forced a punt.

On the next drive, the Tarpons appeared to stop Tioga three and out, then were poised for a big special teams play, as the fourth down snap sailed high over the punter’s head.

But he collected himself and kicked the ball down the field, while being hit, which forced a roughing the kicker penalty and an automatic first down.

Tioga didn’t score on the drive, but they did flip the field after missing a short field goal.

That field position proved crucial, as on the Indians’ second drive, they punted the Tarpons, who muffed the kick deep in their own territory, which set up Tioga for its first touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

After another defensive stop, the Indians’ special teams found magic again on a blocked punt for a touchdown, which ballooned the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter.

“We gave them 14 points right out of the shoot,” Forsythe said. “We muffed that kick and then we took our sweet time on the punt team and had one blocked for a touchdown. Those are just two things you can’t have happen in a high stakes game.”

Tioga added a short field goal to go up 17-0, but the Tarpons seemed poised to take momentum before halftime, pushing the ball to the Indians’ 2-yard-line with almost no time left on the clock.

On a fourth down and goal play from the 2-yard-line, South Lafourche gave the football to Drake Billiot, but officials ruled that he didn’t break the plane of the end zone, which ended the half and turned over the football back to the Chiefs with a 17-0 lead.

In the second half, chaos ensued at times – aided by some questionable decisions by the officials.

South Lafourche appeared to get a safety on Tioga’s first offensive possession, but after a lengthy meeting between the officials, the call was reversed, giving the ball back to the Indians deep in their own territory.

On the next snap, the Tarpons’ defense got their two points anyway, stuffing a ball carrier in the end zone to make the score 17-2.

South Lafourche got as close as 24-16 in the fourth quarter – battling back within a score, thanks to the efficient running of Jeremy Rogers, who handled a lot of the load with Corbin Allen (shoulder) unavailable for the second half of the game.

But the Tarpons never got the football back with a chance to tie, thanks to a solid offensive drive by the Indians, capped on a short touchdown run, which pushed the game to its final margin.

The loss ends South Lafourche’s season with a 6-5 record overall.