Second half show
By: TONY MARKS
VILLE PLATTE -- On Homecoming night at Bulldog Stadium, Ville Platte High welcomed the Oakdale Warriors with a similar 1-3 record. Both teams had a case of the yips in the first half as the home team led 6-0 at intermission, but the Bulldogs pulled away and won 24-0.
“The win is huge at this point,” said Bulldog head coach Jorie Randel. “We got some young kids, and we kind of got off to a slow start as far as the season goes. I think we finally had that Aha! moment tonight. I think the light bulb is definitely turning on. We have some young kids that are growing up pretty fast.”
Oakdale in the first half had four turnovers. Two of those were turnovers on downs, one turnover was on a punt, and the other came on a fumble on the goal line.
The first turnover came on the Warriors opening possession. Phillip Poullard received the kick on the 15-yard line and got a couple of yards before being brought down. Running back Miliak Hayward got 6 yards on the first play of scrimmage. Backup quarterback Gabe Rodriguez then completed a pass to Hunter Longino, who was finally brought down on the Bulldog 48-yard line. Two plays later Hayward, from the wild cat position, rumbled to the 40-yard line. After a timeout on fourth-and-four, Hayward, working out of the pistol formation, had nowhere to run as the Warriors turned the ball over on downs.
Following a Bulldog punt, the football came to rest on the Oakdale 18-yard line. After an initial 6-yard gain from Hayward, he found some real estate and was taken down on the 42-yard line after a 34-yard run. Two plays later Poullard rushed 20 yards to the 20-yard line. Hayward then touched the ball back-to-back times as the Warriors had the ball on a first-and-goal situation. Hayward was tackled in the backfield twice by Dave Arvie setting up a fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Rodriguez’ pass went incomplete as his Warriors again turned the ball over on downs.
Ville Platte began the second quarter with a punt, but Derrick Winfield coughed up the football that was recovered by Roland Landry. The Bulldogs then had the ball on a first-and-10 from the 47-yard line. An offsides call against Oakdale moved the ball into Warrior territory. On third down, Brandon Veazie found Ernest Roberts at the 40-yard line for a first down. Veazie again completed a pass on third down to Roberts for a 37-yard touchdown reception. The kick for the extra point was no good, and the Bulldogs led 6-0 with 9:15 to go in the first half.
Hayward, on the next Warrior possession, returned the kick 35-yards to the 45-yard line. He then got to midfield. Three consecutive infractions against the Bulldogs advanced the football to the Ville Platte 25-yard line. Rodriguez connected with Longino who was hit on the 1-yard line and coughed up the football for the Warriors’ fourth turnover of the first half.
Oakdale closed out the first half by coming up short once again. A measurement confirmed Hayward had picked up a first down at the Bulldog 8-yard line. Longino picked up 2 yards before being brought down by Jamal Byers. Hayward then ran into Vontravious Joseph for no gain. On third-and-goal from the 6-yard line with 22-seconds remaining in the first half, Winfield was brought down just shy of the goal line to close out the first half.
The Warriors pulled off an onside kick to begin the second half and recovered on the Ville Platte 43-yard line, but they were unable to capitalize on the momentum shift as the 41-yard field goal attempt was no good.
The Bulldogs were forced to punt on their next possession, but Winfield again coughed up the football on the punt. Ville Platte regained possession on the Oakdale 43-yard line.
Following a facemask and an unsportsmanlike penalty against the Warriors, the ball came to rest on the 10-yard line. Byers was tackled in the back field by Devlyn Cloud and Longino for a loss of 3-yards. Following a timeout, Veazie completed a pass to Jaishaun Doucet for a touchdown reception. The two-point try was no good, and the Bulldogs led 12-0 at the 5:49 mark of the third quarter.
The Warriors were forced to punt on their next drive, and the football rolled out of bounds at the Ville Platte 40-yard line. On the very first play, Veazie then cut back and found real estate down to the Oakdale 37-yard line.
The very next play, he cut back again and ran all the way into the end zone for the score with seven seconds remaining in the third. The point after again was no good as the Bulldogs led 18-0.
After another Warrior punt, the Bulldogs took over on their own 7-yard line. Veazie managed to stay on his feet as he went down to his 38-yard line. After another first down, he then handed the ball off to Doucet for a touchdown run with 10 minutes and change remaining in the ballgame. The extra point again was no good as the Bulldogs took the 24-0 lead.
Randle’s Bulldogs then travel to Lake Arthur to begin district play. “Lake Arthur is a one-town, one-football team,” he said. “I know those kids are dedicated. They aren’t going to have many kids probably just like us. They’re always gritty kids, and it won’t be easy.”