Bobcats are Dome-bound
The local fans wanted a rematch between No. 1 Iota and No. 2 Eunice in the Class 3-A state championship.
But that won’t happen as Eunice rolled to a 19-0 win over No. 3 Kaplan and No. 4 Sterlington stunned Iota as the Panthers grabbed a 21-12 win over the Bulldogs.
It is the first trip the championship game for Eunice as the Bobcats faced John Curtis in back-to-back title games in 1997-98.
The Eunice – Kapan game was contested on a wet and muddy Bobcat Field.
Both teams managed to overcome the field conditions in the early going, but each team later lost a fumble in the first quarter of play.
Both teams dealt with penalties midway in the opening quarter totally 50 yards.
The two teams appeared to settle down at the start of second quarter as both teams atempted to overpower the other with their ground attack.
The Bobcat defense limited the Pirates from getting loose on long gainers, but Eunice managed to pin the Pirates deep in their own territory with a 62-yard punt.
The Bobcat defense got stingy at that point, forcing a 23-yard punt which gave the Bobcats great field position.
Avery Lee gained six yards from the 31-yard line. and Simeon Ardoin connected with Traelyn Cooper on a pass of six yards.
Two plays later, Simeon Ardoin scored on a two-yard run and Austin Phillips kicked the PAT to give the Cats a 7-0 lead.
Eunice added another touchdown with 54 seconds left in the third quarter as Jeoul Hill raced 44 yards for a touchdown that gave the Cats a 13-0 lead.
The Cats wrapped up the game on a 33-yard touchdown run by Avery Lee to give the Bobcats the 19-0 win.
No. 4 Sterlington 21, No. 1 Iota 12
IOTA – The game didn’t begin the way Bulldog fans wanted as Iota lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage.
Sterlington (12-2) moved 57 yards in seven plays, aided by strong runs from Jordan Townsend and Dallas Reagor.
Panther quarterback Hayes Crockett capped the scoring drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.
Jacob Green kicked the PAT and Sterlington led 7-0 with 9:94 left in the first period.
After both teams exchanged punts, Iota only took four plays to score.
A facemask penalty helped the Bulldogs move the ball to the Sterlington 11 where Tyronne Charlot then scored. The PAT failed, but Iota closed the gap to 7-6 with 6:10 left in the quarter.
Sterlington moved inside the Iota 5 before a holding call and insportsmanlike flag along with a false start forced the Panthers to punt from near midfield.
Iota was advancing the ball as the game moved to the second period before Panther defender Reed Handy intercepted a pass to halt the drive.
Sterlington’s Townsend and Reagor moved the ball up the middle inside the Iota 30.
On fourth down, Townsend’s run kept the 52-yard drive alive and then three plays later Reagor scored from five yards out.
Green’s kick increased the Panthers’ lead to 14-6 with 2:53 left in the half.
Iota threatened with a drive late in the quarter behind the strong running of Luke Doucet including a fourth down conversion.
But the drive died in the closing seconds as Willie Holloway intercepted a pass and the Panthers took a slim 14-6 lead into the break.
Sterlington took the second half kickoff and moved 61 yards in nine plays as the Panthers’ Townsend scored on a three-yard run with 8:07 left in the period.
Green’s PAT pushed Sterlington ahead 21-6, but the Bulldogs would not go down without a fight.
Iota moved 67 yards in 13 plays, aided by a pass interfernce call on the Panthers.
Doucet ran the ball eight of the next nine plays and closed the drive with a one-yard dive.
The two-point conversion pass failed as Iota trailed 21-12 with 3:08 left in the third period.
Both teams exchanged punts as the game moved to the fourth quarter and Sterlington seemed poised to seal the win with an impressive drive that began at the Panther 49.
Townsend and Crockett’s runs helped move the ball to the Bulldog 10 before a holding call slowed Sterlington down.
A fumbled pitch was recovered by Iota stop the drive at the Bulldog 20 with 7:32 left in the semifinal game.
The Panther defense held and forced an Iota punt and Sterlington again took over near midfield.
The Iota defense answered and forced a punt but the Bulldogs started the drive at their own seven-yard line with 4:17 remaining.
Iota converted twice on fourth downs to keep the drive moving.
The Panthers were called for personal foul to give the Bulldogs another first down at the Sterlington 36 with 38 seconds left.
But four incomplete passes stopped the drive and Sterlington advanced to the title game for the second time in three seasons.
The Panthers captured the 2016 Class 2-A title with a 28-27 win over Madison Prep.
Iota finshed the season with a 13-1 record and captured the District 5-3A championship.