Trojan defense key in victory over False River
The Sacred Heart Trojan blue wall defense stuffs an attempted run earlier this year.
Sacred Heart Trojan half back Caleb Soileau eyes open space.
The Sacred Heart Trojan defense stood solid in the face of adversity Friday night helping to preserve a 28-8 win over the False River Gators. Three goal line stands by the Trojan blue wall did not allow the Gators into the end zone, and gave the Sacred Heart offense a chance to grind out the victory. Sacred Heart now moves to 4-3 on the season and 2-0 in district. More importantly, the Trojans gain 10 power points toward the ultimate goal of getting into the playoffs. Sacred Heart went into the False River game number 16 in the power rankings.
“You have to give False River credit tonight,” stated Sacred Heart Head Coach Gary Adkins. “They played hard. We came out in the first half and did not play well. Still, we were able to put some things together in the second half and pull away from those guys. Our kids have been through the fire this year and know how to play when they are down at the half. I am so proud of our players.”
The first quarter saw both teams battle back and forth for field position. Each club was able to penetrate into the opponent’s territory. However, it would be Sacred Heart who would strike first and put up points on the scoreboard.
With time winding down in the first stanza, Dylan Scully took the handoff from Josh Lahaye and sprinted 38 yards for the touchdown. Bevan Dupre added on the extra point and with 58 seconds left in the first quarter the Trojans led 7-0.
The second quarter opened with the Gators driving the ball deep into Trojan territory. False River had the ball, first and goal, at the Sacred Heart three yard line. The Trojan defense held on the first three downs. On fourth and goal, a pass by Gator quarterback Jarreau was broken up in the back of the end zone and Sacred Heart took over on downs.
The Trojans were not able to move the football very far and faced a fourth down. With Sacred Heart punter Sam Tuminaro standing on his goal line, the False River special teams blocked the punt. The ball fluttered into the arms of freshman Ryan Smith. Smith walked in from three yards out and the Gators had their first and only points of the ball game. The False River coaching staff decided to go for two. The gamble paid off as Blanchard took it in for the conversion. With nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Gators had now taken an 8-7 lead. Both teams could not manage to tack on any more points before half and the score remained 8-7 going into halftime.
The third quarter was all Sacred Heart. False River tried to catch the Trojans off guard, attempting an onside kick, but Jacob L. Lafleur was able to fall on the ball at the Sacred Heart 47 yard line. On the very first play from scrimmage for the Trojans, Mikey Laughlin took the handoff on the counter play and raced his way for the 53-yard touchdown run. On the two-point conversion, LaHaye’s pass was knocked down in the end zone. So, with 11:43 left in the third quarter, Sacred Heart increased their lead to 13-8.
False River took over the football on the kickoff and mounted an impressive drive deep inside Trojan territory. The Gators had a first and goal from the Sacred Heart two yard line with 6:23 left in the third quarter. Three plays later, False River had not scored. On fourth and goal from the Trojan three yard line, a reverse was stuffed by Julien Vidrine, and Sacred Heart, for the third time, had held the Gators out of the end zone.
Sacred Heart would take over on downs at their three yard line and drive the ball all the way down to the False River one yard line. The big play, an 80-yard run by Laughlin on third and four from the Trojan 19 yard line gave Sacred Heart a first and goal. On the very next play, Dylan Scully powered his way into the end zone for the touchdown. The Trojans lined up in the same formation for the two-point conversion and Scully once again dove over right tackle and Sacred Heart led 21-8 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
“It was great to see Mikey do what he did tonight,” said Adkins. “He had been down all year with an injury and he came up big for us tonight. I’m glad he was able to have this break out game.”
Fittingly enough, the final touchdown of the game came from the Trojan defense. False River would take possession of the football on their 37 yard line with 3:33 left in the game on a fumbled pitch from Scully to Caleb Soileau. The Gators would move the ball to the Sacred Heart 33 yard line. On fourth and three, Jarreau would try throwing a flare pass into the flat, but Nicholas LaHaye would intercept the ball and race 67 yards for the touchdown. Dupre would add the extra point and the Trojan lead would increase to 28-8 with 2:00 left in the game. This would be the final score of the game, as False River would not be able to do anything in the last two minutes.
On the night, Laughlin would lead all rushers with 155 yards and a touchdown. Scully would add 124 yards and two touchdowns. In total, the Trojans would collect 355 total yards of offense. LaHaye completed one out of four pass attempts for 22 yards. Seth Shipp hauled in the only completed pass of the night for 22 yards.
Besides the three goal line stands, the Trojan defense would limit the Gator offense to 217 yards. Sacred Heart would cause False River to turn the ball over three times. If game balls were to be handed out, the defensive unit for the Trojans would definitely deserve the first one.
“Our defense came up really big for us tonight,” commented Adkins. “I was so impressed with their effort. The goal line stands were really the difference in the game tonight. What a confidence builder for those guys on defense. I thought Nicholas Lahaye and Jacob L. Lafleur played exceptionally well tonight.”
The Trojans will now host Catholic of Pointe Coupee on Friday. The Hornets are 2-4 on the year and 0-1 in district. Catholic did not play this week, as they had an open date. A win at home against the Hornets would give the Trojans 10 more power points and would allow them to continue to climb the power ranking ladder.