South Lafourche football coach Dennis Skains knew his team had to play a clean, mistake-free football game to upset Ponchatoula – the No. 2 team in Louisiana for Class 5A.
The Tarpons did the exact opposite on Friday night, and it cost the team its shot at playoff glory.
South Lafourche had several turnovers on offense and countless missed tackles on defense Friday night, which yielded easy points for the Green Wave in a lopsided 76-22 victory for the state power.
The loss ends the Tarpons’ season with a 4-7 record – the third-straight season that the team’s hopes are dashed in the opening round of the playoffs.
“We’ve got to do a better job,” Skains said. “I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to look in the mirror and find a way to put our kids in a better position to win more football games. I challenge my assistant coaches to do the same. We’ve got a talented team coming back, and we’re certainly not accepting or expecting to struggle. But we’ve got to fix some of the things that we struggled with this year, because we had some of the same problems stick with us all year.”
For South Lafourche, the first play of Friday night’s game was a microcosm of how the entire night would go.
The Tarpons won the coin toss and deferred possession to the second half, giving the ball to Ponchatoula to start the game.
But the Green Wave’s offense never even saw the field, as return man Brian Rodgers took the opening kick back 84 yards for a touchdown to go ahead 7-0.
After the disastrous start, the Tarpons did find a rhythm, driving the ball 79 yards down to the Green Wave 1-yard line. But the drive ended without points as junior quarterback Harvey Allen fumbled the ball when lunging for the end zone.
After forcing the Green Wave to punt, South Lafourche tied up the score at 7 midway through the first quarter when freshman Corbin Allen took the ball into the end zone on a one-yard scamper.
The rest of the first half was all Ponchatoula, who went into the lockers with a 55-15 lead.
The Green Wave scored eight total touchdowns in the first half – most of the scores coming on very short drives led by quick-hitting, explosive plays.
“The big plays – that was something that killed us all year,” Skains said. “That’s foreign to me. As a defensive coach, I’d like to think that I’d be able to have an answer for anything we’d see. But this year for whatever reason, we’ve struggled all year long at limiting that one, big, back-crushing play.”
The Tarpons’ second score of the night was a five-yard sweep to Allen – a touchdown setup by a 67-yard pass from Tarpons’ quarterback Harvey Allen to Kyle Angeron that put South Lafourche in prime field position with nine-plus minutes to go in the second half.
In the second half, Ponchatoula slowed its offensive output, mixing and matching its lineups to allow several younger players the chance to compete.
The Tarpons’ final touchdown of the season game when Corbin Allen found some free space and pushed into the end zone from 26-yards out with just more than three minutes left in the game.
Just South Lafourche’s luck on this night, Ponchatoula quickly answered the score when Damon Harris took back the ensuing kickoff 71 yards for a touchdown to bring the game to its final margin.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t win more games this year, but I’m happy that our players got to experience the playoffs for the third-straight year,” Skains said. “I’m going to miss our seniors. Each and every one of them contributed positively to our program, and we’re going to miss having all of them around here in the future.”
Posted on Tue, November 18, 2014
by Casey Gisclair, Contributing Writer