Fernando Muse caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Travis on an untimed down at the end of the fourth quarter, lifting sixth-seeded St. Helena to a 12-6 victory over No. 2 Ferriday in a Class 2A semifinal game played Friday night in Ferriday.
The late dramatics that put the Hawks (12-2) in the LHSAA Prep Classic for the first time since 2004 were framed by a serious injury to one of the team’s top players.
St. Helena coach Brandon Brown said senior linebacker/running back Aaron Hurst was recovering from Saturday surgery to repair a broken bone in his neck at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Brown said Hurst, a senior, has feeling in his extremities and is expected to make a full recovery.
“We’re thankful that the surgery went well, and we’ve been told that it will take time and therapy,” Brown said. “Aaron has been our heart and soul all year. He’s such a tough kid, an honor student … a great kid. The team wanted to (beat Ferriday) for him.”
Brown said Hurst was injured while making a tackle in the first half with St. Helena leading 6-0. Brown said medical personnel on the scene in Concordia Parish made the decision to have Hurst air-lifted to OLOL, citing its facilities.
Before the injury, Hurst broke a long run that set up a 2-yard TD run by Jeremy Griffin. Brown said LSU coach Ed Orgeron stopped by the school last week and inquired about 5-foot-11, 195-pound Hurst following a recommendation from another area coach. Hurst rushed for 94 yards and made multiple defensive plays in the Hawks’ 35-32 quarterfinal win over rival Amite. Hurst’s cousin, Troy Hurst, is a Memphis commitment for St. Helena, a 2A semifinalist last year.
“Going to the Dome has been our goal all year,” Brown said. “Every day we do one extra rep or sprint because we wanted to be better than we were last year. Now there’s one more game. We’ll do this one for (Hurst).”
KENTWOOD 19, OAK GROVE 7: In Oak Grove, LSU commitment Trey Palmer, Larenz Morris and Larry Carter helped Kentwood notch a victory in a Class 1A semifinal game also played Friday.
Palmer caught two touchdown passes, while both Carter and Morris rushed for over 100 yards boost the third-seeded Kangaroos (13-1) to their second title-game berth in three years. The scenario is similar to 2015 when KHS beat Oak Grove in the semifinals and went on to win the 1A title.
Kentwood held the trio of tailback Donald Gray, quarterback Kameron Holloway and fullback Wyatt Rawls to 132 total yards for No. 2 Oak Grove (12-2).
Morris (seven carries, 112 yards), the Kentwood QB, and Larry Carter (16 carries, 106 yards) kept the clock rolling also kept the ball away from Oak Grove.
Kentwood led 13-0 lead at halftime. The Kangaroos went to Palmer after an early turnover. Morris found Palmer for a 37-yard touchdown, and a 7-0 lead, on Kentwood’s next possession.
With 2:37 left in the half, the Kangaroos took over used all but the final 20 seconds to score. Palmer pulled the ball away from a defender and turned a sure interception into a 48-yard touchdown.