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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Tarpons top Trojans in thriller

Tarpons top Trojans in thriller

Friday night’s annual date between South Lafourche and Central Lafourche was a thriller – an exciting game from start to finish that kept fans on the edges of their seats on both sides of the jam-packed stadium in Mathews.
But when the final whistle had blown, it was the Tarpons who had again gotten the best of their cross-town rivals, handing Central Lafourche its first loss of the season.

With the Tarpons up 27-21 late in Friday night’s game, Central (who was out of timeouts) pushed the ball all the way down to the Tarpons 6-yard-line with 51 seconds to play. But instead of the Trojans getting a go-ahead and likely game-winning touchdown, the South Lafourche defense stiffened. The Tarpons bottled up a run play on first down and then sacked Trojans quarterback Austin Aucoin on second down, dropping him to the 11-yard-line.

After the sack, the panicked Trojans rushed to the line of scrimmage to try and spike the ball to stop the clock, but they never got there in time. As Aucoin took the desperation snap, officials blew their whistles because the scoreboard clock read 0:00. The game was over and the Tarpons had won 27-21, improving to 2-2 in the process, while dropping Central Lafourche to 3-1.

The coaches on both sides shook hands and shared a moment after the game, each showing their mutual respect for the other.

When asked to comment, they both said that Friday’s battle was one of the reasons why high school football is so special.

The Tarpons have now beaten Central Lafourche seven-straight times in the local rivalry dating back to 2009.

“What an outstanding stage for high school football. You can’t ask for anything more,” South Lafourche coach Dennis Skains said. “We played well and found a way to win. That’s a good Central Lafourche team out there. Coach Menard does an excellent job, and he’s a pain in the neck to scheme against. Our kids worked hard and got better this week. We made our share of mistakes, but we buckled down at the end and kept them out of the end zone.”

“We just ran out of time,” Trojans coach Keith Menard added. “We made too many mistakes, and we knew South Lafourche would be ready to play. What a game. In this rivalry lately, it seems like South Lafourche always gets the big play to win the game, and they did it again. But the fans got their money’s worth. What a game this one was. Next time, we need to just make a play to go win it at the end.”

Indeed it was a great game -- one in which the Tarpons used all three phases to have success.

The Tarpons got the ball first and drove the ball down the field for a touchdown – a short scamper by junior Jaydon Cheramie to take a 6-0 lead.

The Trojans battled back and went straight down the field on their first drive to take the lead on a four-yard scoring run by halfback Nelton Allen. After a successful extra point, Central Lafourche led 7-6 late in the first quarter.

But after that, the Tarpons led the rest of the way. After the teams traded unsuccessful offensive possessions, South Lafourche blocked a Trojans punt. Henri Terrebonne hopped on top of the ball in the end zone to give the Tarpons a 13-7 lead after a Brannon Lee extra point.

The Tarpons extended that lead to 20-7 at halftime thanks to a long option pitch from Cheramie to halfback Corbin Allen that ended in an easy touchdown run.

“We had a great offensive scheme this week,” Skains said. “Coach (Jared) Landrum did a great job trying to figure out their blitzes. We were able to time a few right and pop out some big plays off of those to get our offense moving the ball down the field.”

But it was far from over.

The Trojans got the ball first to start the second half and scored easily – a 68-yard pass from Aucoin to receiver David Robinson that cut the lead to 20-14 after an extra point.

But on South Lafourche’s first play after the touchdown, the Tarpons answered back on a 67-yard touchdown run from Allen to put South Lafourche out in front 27-14 with 10 minutes in the third quarter.

“When they came back and scored on that very first play, that was a huge play in the football game,” Menard said. “That changed everything.”

The Trojans never quit and fought until the end. Nelton Allen scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to make the score 27-21. That set the stage for the late-game heroics.

Central Lafourche started its drive inside their own 20-yard-line with just less than two minutes to play. They worked it all the way to the South Lafourche 6-yard-line, but never got closer and then ran out of time.

“This means a lot to our kids,” Skains said. “This is bragging rights. Those seniors will be talking about this one for a long, long time.”

South Lafourche will travel to take on Plaquemines on Friday while the Trojans will host H.L. Bourgeois.