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Sunday, May 26, 2019

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Trojans roar to playoffs, while Tarpons bow out with lopsided defeat

Trojans roar to playoffs, while Tarpons bow out with lopsided defeat

After a couple of tough losses in the second-half of the season, winning a football game sure felt good to the Central Lafourche football team.

To do it against a longtime rival, well, that just made it all the sweeter.

The Trojans beat Thibodaux 49-28 on Friday night, ending the team’s season with a 6-4 record, easily punching a ticket into the Class 5A State Playoffs.

Coach Keith Menard said the win was good for his team, giving a jolt of life into the club after a couple late-season losses.

“That was good for us to get that surge of momentum as we move forward and get to the playoffs,” Menard said. “The kids have been working hard and they’ve kept the right attitude and mindset. To get a victory over our rivals, that was a good source of motivation for our kids. We had a lot of very happy young men in our locker room after the win.”

The game was won on the legs of powerful tailback Deon Jenkins with the help from the Trojans’ offensive line.

Jenkins rushed 38 times for 316 yards and six touchdowns in the win, helping the Trojans overcome a fast start from Thibodaux, which needed to win in order to make the Class 5A State Playoffs.

The teams were tied at 14 at halftime when the pendulum swung in favor of Central in a dominating second-half performance.

The Trojans recovered an onside kick try by Thibodaux to start the half, which set up a short touchdown run from Jenkins to go up 21-14 early in the quarter. Thibodaux tied the game at 21-all when quarterback Tyren Young hit Cullen Nazio on a pass to even the score early in the quarter, but Jenkins came back with his fourth touchdown of the game late in the third quarter to put Central Lafourche up 28-21, a score which held until the final period.

In that quarter, the Trojans finally separated. Jenkins added another score with 8:53 to play to go up 35-21.

Thibodaux answered that touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff for a score to cut the lead to 35-28, but the Trojans never faltered again, getting another touchdown from Jenkins to go up 42-28 with 4 minutes left.

After a defensive stop, Central put ice on its catch, punching in a late-game touchdown on a 16-yard score from Aaron Delaune to send the game to its final margin.

With the win, Central Lafourche earned the No. 21 seed in Class 5A. They will take on No. 12 Slidell on Friday night on the Northshore.

Menard said the team’s focus will be on improving all week and getting ready to play its biggest game of the season in a win or go home situation.

“We have to show back up to work and get ready to play a really good opponent,” Menard said. “It’s a challenge, but we look forward to it. Our kids are ready to approach it head-on.”


Tarpons fall at East St. John

South Lafourche has been inconsistent all season, having untimely mistakes in all three phases at inopportune times throughout the season.

The Tarpons’ regular season finale was no different, as big plays loomed large in a 50-0 shut out against East St. John.

The Tarpons had mistakes in special teams early in the game. Several miscues in the punting game for South Lafourche led to short points and an early lead for a Wildcats team that also returned a kickoff for a score in the game.

The Tarpons also had defensive lapses, allowing both rushing and passing yardage to the Wildcats.

And offensively, South Lafourche just never could sustain itself, struggling with the size, speed and quickness of the Wildcats’ defense.

The Tarpons end their regular season with a 2-8 record.

Coach Blake Forsythe said he knows that record isn’t good enough to appease fans, but added that he’s working to build a program able to sustain long-term success and this is year two in the process.

“We had young guys in key spots throughout the season and sometimes our youth just showed up for us,” Forsythe said. “Friday, we made mistakes in special teams early that put us behind the 8-ball and we had errors in the other phases later in the game to keep us out of reach. It’s been some of the same things we’ve seen all season.”

Forsythe said he and his coaching staff will work hard this offseason to correct the mistakes, adding that the team will work hard in the weight room and in spring practices before getting back into the grind in 2019.

Forsythe said he also wanted to thank his senior class for their dedication to the Tarpons football program, adding that he wishes their final year with the team could have been more prosperous.