Class 1A Central Catholic of Morgan City dominated Vandebilt Catholic in time of possession on Friday night to score a nondistrict victory over the Class 4A Terriers at Buddy Marcello Stadium in Houma.
The Eagles had an 8-minute drive in the first half, and a scoring drive totaling 9-plus minutes to start the second half in the 20-13 victory.
The Terriers (4-3 overall) started the scoring early when quarterback Max Doyle hooked up with receiver Hunter Porche for a 38-yard gain to the 26-yard line.
Two plays later, Doyle took a shotgun snap and cut back across the field for a 24-yard touchdown run, putting the Terriers ahead 7-0 after Reid Bourg’s extra point with 9:39 to play in the first quarter.
For anyone who didn’t know better, it looked like it might be a long night for the Eagles after that.
Instead, it turned out to be the only highlight of the first three-plus quarters where Vandebilt was concerned.
Central Catholic (3-3 overall) controlled the rest of the quarter and the rest of the half, chewing up clock and scoring twice to take a 12-7 lead into halftime.
Eagles quarterback DeDe Grant threw an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass to receiver Brooks Thomas with 2:52 to play in the first that cut the lead to 7-6.
Davidylone Bias added a 7-yard touchdown rush, set up by a Vandebilt fumble at its own 22-yard line that led to the Eagles’ second score to go up 12-7.
Then came the drive of the night.
Starting from its own 20-yard line, Central Catholic drove 80 yards, converted three-of-three third down plays and one fourth-down play.
The Eagles hit the jackpot on fourth-and-goal from the Vandebilt 5-yard line when Thomas caught a quick slant from Grant for the Eagles’ third score, making it 18-7.
In total, the drive took 9 minutes, 7 seconds off the clock and covered 80 yards.
Vandebilt made one last push to get back into the game. With no other option but to go for it on fourth and long, Doyle found receiver Cruz Theriot for a 52-yard touchdown catch with 5:16 left that to cut the lead to 18-13 and give the Terriers hope.
The Terriers’ defense then did its job and got the football back with one last chance at their own 20-yard line. Three consecutive pre-snap penalties backed the football all the way back to the 3-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-28, Doyle was sacked in the end zone with 2:24 to play for a safety that all but sealed the win for Central Catholic.
Out of timeouts, the Terriers’ onside kick attempt was recovered by the Eagles at the 31-yard line. They drove to the 22 and went for it on fourth-and-one. What microscopic chance Vandebilt had of a miracle ended when a Terriers player jumped offside to give the Eagles a first down and seal the victory.
“We’ve got a good program,” Eagles coach Tommy Minton said. “We finally put all three phases together (Friday). Our goal coming in was to try to possess the ball and keep it away from them. It was a great night.”
The Terriers were held to 201 yards of total offense and 90 of it came on the touchdown pass to Cruz and the long gain to Porche.
Vandebilt coach Jeremy Atwell took full responsibility for the loss.
“We lost in all three phases,” Atwell said. “More importantly I think we lost in the coaching battle. We got out-coached. We came out a little flat. That’s on us as coaches. Those (pre-snap) penalties in the final few minutes, every bit of that is on me. Hopefully this is a wake-up call for us. One thing I’ll say is our players fought and didn’t give up until the very end.”
Doyle completed 3-of-16 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed eight times for 51 yards, and Drew Rios added 54 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for the Terriers.