Playing without injured standout quarterback Keytaon Thompson, the Landry-Walker Charging Buccaneers entered a dangerous venue at Chalmette on Friday night.
Taking advantage of Thompson’s absence, running the ball well, executing its game plan and using a gutsy play to seal the outcome, Chalmette turned back Landry-Walker 17-12 at Bobby Nuss Stadium.
Landry-Walker (2-2), ranked sixth in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10 ratings, was a favorite to win District 8-5A, won the past two years by Ehret. Chalmette (2-2) finished second last season.
“Every win’s big, but to open up district against the team that was favored to win the district and beating them is big,” Owls coach Jason Tucker said. “We had been running the ball well, and we were able to build on that and get going.”
Using a game plan that included pooch kicks to limit Landry-Walker’s speed on kickoff returns and a stout running game, the Owls grinded out a 17-0 halftime lead.
The main weapon was Masen Mitchell, an all-district running back last season. Mitchell finished with 170 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. In the first half, he gained 144 yards on 18 carries and scored both touchdowns — on runs of 2 yards in the first quarter and 3 yards four seconds before halftime.
“Our offensive line did a good job, and the coaches told us to play fast and be physical,” Mitchell said.
The Buccaneers scored both their touchdowns in the second half after Mitchell left in the third quarter with dehydration cramps and quarterback Dominic Curole was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Running back Malik Arnold scored on a 90-yard run at 7:33 of the third quarter, and backup quarterback Nicholas Landry completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Anderson with 3:31 left in the game. However, without Thompson, rated among the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, Landry-Walker sputtered most of the game. Thompson has a high ankle sprain and also may miss next week’s game against Bonnabel.
“We’re a completely different team without him,” said Bucs coach Emmanuel Powell, his team playing its first season in Class 5A. “We were one-dimensional and we couldn’t get through our playbook.”
After Landry-Walker scored its last touchdown, it forced Chalmette into fourth-and-1 at its 28 with 2:01 remaining.
However, instead of punting, the Owls snapped the ball to Walter Sterling, a defensive back who was the up-back in the punting formation. He gained 4 yards, and the Owls ran out the clock.
The pooch kickoffs negated the return game of Landry-Walker, the faster, more athletic team.
“We worked all week on trying to take away their speed,” Tucker said. “They made two big plays for scores, but I think we did well other than that.”