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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Tarpons top Trojans in muddy affair

Tarpons top Trojans in muddy affair

A group of Tarpons pile onto a CLHS during Friday's soppy game. Courtesy of Nikki Pitre.

The 50th all-time meeting between South Lafourche and Central Lafourche will be remembered for a long time.

It will likely be called the Mud Bowl among football historians on both sides of the heated local rivalry.

The Tarpons and Trojans battled a driving rainstorm that lasted for three and a half quarters of Friday night’s game in Mathews.

On a sloppy, mud-caked field, mistakes were frequent and the speed of the game was significantly altered. But when the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Tarpons rolled to a 35-14 win – a victory that pushed the team to 3-3 on the year and 2-1 in district play.

With the loss, the Trojans fell to 3-3 and 1-2 in district.

The Tarpons now own a 36-14 all-time record in the rival series.

“I want to be a weatherman,” Central Lafourche coach Keith Menard said following the loss. “If they can predict just a 20 perfect chance of rain and we get this? Heck, I want that job, because this was a mess – an absolute mess to play in.”

Menard mentioned the forecast for Friday’s game – it wasn’t ever supposed to rain during the game.

The teams kicked off in dry conditions with the Trojans getting the football to start the contest. 

Central Lafourche found some offensive success in the opening drive and pushed the ball to midfield before having to punt on fourth down.

That punt was blocked by Tarpons’ linebacker Davey Cheramie who also scooped up the football and took it into the end zone for a touchdown. The subsequent extra point was blocked, giving the Tarpons an early 6-0 lead.

But the early advantage lasted just one play as Trojans’ halfback Thomas Wesley took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a Central Lafourche touchdown, weaving through several Tarpons on his path pay dirt.

Following a successful extra point by kicker Brader Dufrene, the Trojans went up 7-6.

Then the rains came.

And once in water, the Tarpons swam to victory.

Playing in a light drizzle, South Lafourche answered the Trojans’ touchdown with one of its own, a six-play drive that was finished in style on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dominick Fillinich to receiver Harvey Allen. Cy Griffin’s extra point put the Tarpons ahead 13-7.

That lead quickly jumped to 15-7 when the Trojans sailed a snap over their punter’s head – out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

On the next offensive drive, things went from bad to worse for the Trojans as Cheramie struck again, recovering a fumble and taking it into the end zone for a touchdown and a 22-7 lead with 10:58 to go in the second quarter.

South Lafourche coach Dennis Skains said Cheramie’s ball-hawking skills were huge in the win.

“Davey Cheramie is just a really, really tough kid,” Skains said. “He’s undersized, but he makes up for it with his speed. It’s tough to keep a block on him. Some kind of way, he just always knows how to find the football and get to it. He’s a special, special kid.”

Menard said his team’s unforced errors gave the Tarpons too many free points.

The Tarpons only outgained the Trojans by 19 yards in the victory. The team scored 16 of its 28 points off turnovers.

“We snap it over our punter’s head. We have a blocked punt. We have a fumble for a touchdown – you can’t do those types of things and beat a really good South Lafourche football team,” Menard said. “It’s a pretty even ballgame if we take care of ourselves and fix those mistakes.”

After Cheramie’s second score, the two teams traded touchdowns to take the game to halftime with the Tarpons holding a 28-14 advantage.

During the intermission and throughout the entire second half, the rain increased from light to absolute downpour, which destroyed the field and also greatly altered the way that the teams were able to play.

With ball security at a premium and each team trudging through the mud and standing water, Fillinich tossed another touchdown to Allen – a 24-yard beauty that put the Tarpons up 35-14 late in the third quarter.

Each team had multiple possessions in the fourth quarter, but the deteriorating field conditions controlled an absolute mud fest that was swamped with penalties and sloppy ball handing.

Skains said there was a certain irony to it all.

“Last week, we were supposed to get a hurricane and the weather was beautiful,” Skains said. “This week, it’s not supposed to rain and we get a monsoon. It was bad, but both teams had to play in it, so no one really got a clear advantage.”

With the win, the Tarpons will stay on the road this week and take on H.L. Bourgeois.

The Trojans will also hit the road for a road battle with 6-0 Destrehan.