BOURG – Through a quarter and a half on Friday night, the Vandebilt Catholic Terriers and Ellender Patriots were in the midst of a scoreless defensive struggle.
The Terriers then took advantage of miscues by the Patriots to find the end zone and never looked back.
Vandebilt scored two touchdowns late in the second quarter and added two more in the fourth quarter on its way to a 29-0 shutout victory over Ellender in District 8-4A action from South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium.
The Terriers defense held the Patriots to under 150 yards of total offense. While proud of its effort, Vandebilt coach Lance Ledet feels his defense still has room for improvement to reach its full potential.
"We played well, but not where we need to be," Ledet said. "We continued our streak of multiple turnovers. We made some big plays behind the line of scrimmage. We played well in phases of defense, but we didn’t come out and compete. Sometimes we didn’t set the edge and they got to the perimeter a few times. We gave up a couple of big plays on third down and didn’t get off the field. That’s hats off to Ellender. They came out and played hard. They wanted the game just as bad as we did. But we didn’t rise to the occasion. You only get one opportunity to get better once a week in a game situation. We didn’t take advantage of that."
Vandebilt (4-3 overall, 2-0 in district) broke the scoreless tie when Gavin Daigle took a quarterback draw up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown giving the Terriers a 7-0 lead with 6:03 left in the half.
Ellender (2-4 overall, 1-1 in district) fumbled on the next possession with the Terriers recovering and taking over at the Ellender 17-yard line. Three plays later, Caleb Calhoun rushed up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown. Vandebilt led 14-0 at halftime.
"In the first half, we struggled on offense and couldn’t seem to get anything going," Ellender coach David McCormick said. ‘We lost (running back) Tyshaun Hester for the season after he got injured in the Morgan City game. We rotated some running backs but couldn’t find the continuity on offense. Defense played well. We turned the ball over to Vandebilt deep in our own territory. They were opportunistic and took advantage."
The score remained 14-0 until the fourth quarter when Daigle found Hunter Porche for a 22-yard touchdown. The extra point failed and the Terriers led 20-0.
After a 27-yard field goal by Austin Ledet, Vandebilt’s Braden Heck picked off an Ellender pass and returned it to the Patriots 12-yard line to set up the game’s final score. On the next play, Dylan Gaudet (11 carries, 103 yards) scored with 1:53 left in the game.
"We have to keep fighting through the adversities we put ourselves in," McCormick said. "We have no more toes on our foot because we blew them all off tonight. We got to stop putting ourselves in these positions where we have to dig ourselves out of these holes."
Ledet, in his first year as head coach of the Terriers, said he is pleased to be undefeated so far in district play.
"It’s big to get a win and to be sitting 2-0 in district," Ledet said. "We have a young club, and a new program. We’re trying to install what we’re doing here and going through that process. It’s a positive, no doubt about it."