CECILIA — Cecilia’s offensive stars shined bright as the Bulldogs rode a big day from their big three in a 41-7 thrashing of Abbeville on homecoming night.
Running back Raymond Calais ran for 215 yards on just 16 carries — almost all of those yards coming in the second and third quarters — and quarterback Landon Roberts fired four touchdown passes, three of them going to Kenya Dartez.
“It was good to see us make the plays we had to,” coach Terry Martin said.
Cecilia (5-1, 1-0) finished the night with 430 yards on just 35 offensive plays — a 12.3 yards per play average.
The Bulldogs established their big-play offense immediately. After Abbeville (3-3) turned the ball over on downs at its own 48 on its opening drive, Roberts fired deep for his favorite target on Cecilia’s first play from scrimmage.
Roberts’ rainbow shot down the sideline and hit Dartez in stride, and Dartez walked into the end zone for a 48-yard score.
Roberts and Dartez would connect again, but they had to let Calais do his thing first.
After being held to just 10 rushing yards in the first quarter, Calais capped a 78-yard touchdown drive with a 37-yard sprint off left tackle.
The next time Calais touched the ball, he did something truly special.
After a seven-play, 80-yard Abbeville touchdown drive made it a 14-7 game, Calais took a handoff from his own 21 and had nowhere to go.
Abbeville walled off the right side, where the play was originally designed.
So Calais stopped in his tracks and put his hand in the dirt behind him to keep his balance. He reversed field, accelerating only as he can, and saw nothing but green grass. Calais and green grass usually equals a touchdown, and that was no different this time, as he burned Abbeville for a 71-yard score.
A three-and-out gave the ball back to Cecilia with a little less than two minutes remaining, and the Bulldogs went for the haymaker. A 49-yard touchdown was called back on first down because of a pre-snap penalty. What would’ve been a sure 54-yard score was dropped by Dartez, who had beaten his man, and a screen to Calais set up Cecilia with a third and 14.
No matter. Roberts evaded pressure in the backfield, rolled to his left and heaved the ball deep downfield. Dartez made up for his drop by hauling it in for a 53-yard score.
Roberts and Dartez hooked up one more time in the second half, then Roberts finished with a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Rusty Robin.
The Cecilia defense had itself a game as well. Abbeville runs a Wing-T offense, which worried Martin because it’s difficult to prepare for.
“What worried me the most was that we hadn’t seen the Wing-T all year,” Martin said. “You can’t simulate it in practice.”
Abbeville moved the ball well early but couldn’t come up with a couple key fourth downs. As Cecilia kept scoring, the defense kept getting stingier. The Wildcats finished with just 138 total yards.
About the only thing that didn’t go Cecilia’s way was something Martin did his best to prevent. The officiating association sent out a message to area coaches earlier in the week saying it would have a zero tolerance policy toward profanity or otherwise unsportsmanlike conduct.
“We warned them, we warned them, we warned them, we ran them in practice, but we did it tonight a couple times,” Martin said.
Cecilia finished with 150 yards in penalties, and some of them were very costly. Three separate touchdowns were wiped away by penalties, and at one point penalties backed the Bulldogs out of a third and goal situation into a third and 57.
“In a close game, it’s going to matter,” Martin said. “I hope in winning we learn a lesson.”