Broncos corral second state championship in three years

They were happy and they were proud.

But most importantly as the final seconds ticked off the Superdome scoreboard last Saturday night in the Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic, the Zachary Broncos were the Class 5A state champions once again.

On the biggest stage of the year, the Broncos turned in a virtuoso performance. After linebacker Chris Hart collected a Hahnville fumble and returned it for a 26-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, a jubilant celebration erupted on the Zachary sideline with Coach David Brewerton, arms raised above his head, leading the way.

Hart’s touchdown completed the final act in a remarkable football drama that climaxed with the Broncos dominating Hahnville 34-14. The victory improved Zachary’s record to 13-2 and clinched the team’s second state title in three years.

Leading the cast as he’s done with mastery beyond his years was sophomore Keilon Brown. The Broncos’ quarterback earned Zachary’s Most Outstanding Player honors, rushing for 189 yards on 15 attempts, an average of 12.6 yards per carry and completing five of 13 passes for 55 more yards.

“Pretty nice to know he’s going to be the signal caller for a couple more years,” Brewerton told the media after the game.

The Zachary defense did more than enough to stymie the Hahnville offense and heralded running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams. Williams managed 210 yards for the Tigers on 36 carries and scored the game’s opening touchdown on a 26-yard run. But after that, it was all Zachary as the Broncos scored four touchdowns before halftime.

Sharing the spotlight was Bronco running back Darweshi Sanders, who ran for 117 yards on 18 carries, capping the first scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Brown soon followed with an electrifying 80-yard sideline scamper that put the Broncos ahead for good at 13-7.

Sanders added a 37-yard touchdown run, then a fumble recovery by Maverick McClure and 45-yard return to the Hahnville 30 set up a 30-yard scoring pass from Brown to receiver Trae Shropshire. Zachary took a 27-7 into the locker room at the half. The Tigers managed another touchdown midway through in the fourth quarter.

After the outcome was no longer in doubt, Brewerton gave a thumbs up to the Bronco faithful in the Superdome stands. In four short years, he has turned Zachary into a prep football powerhouse. Four trips to the playoff semifinals and two state titles are proof that the program he’s built is a proven and consistent winner.

Two years ago, it was a completely different cast of characters, led by quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. This year, it’s Brown.

“This program is built around speed and physicality, and it will always be built around that as long as I’m here,” said Brewerton. “I think year in and year out, it’s been passed down from class to class. We talk about training for 15 weeks, not 10 weeks.

“And we talk about preparing for five or six quarters. We feel if a game is close, late, we’re going to win because of our training. And if we have an opportunity to score in bunches, we’re going to do that, too. I think that mentality has a stronghold in our program.”

Congratulations and a standing “O” to the Broncos for an amazing job all season that also included another District 4-5A title. Job well done!

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at feliciananews@theadvocate.com.