The Belle Chasse Cardinals had climbed all the way back against the Shaw Eagles, tying the score. However, the ensuing kickoff return opened the door for Eagles running back Trey Ragas, and he ran through it like a freight train.
Ragas rushed for 255 yards on 32 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown and one of 3 yards that sealed the victory among his four rushing scores, as Shaw wore down Belle Chasse 49-34 on Friday night at Belle Chasse.
“We passed the ball to spread them out a little bit more, to get them out of the box so we can run the ball better,” Ragas said. “After halftime, we watched how they were blitzing and adjusted.”
Ragas rushed for 203 yards and touchdowns in the second half.
However, Belle Chasse had tied the score at 28-28 on Caylin Parker’s 1-yard run. Aided by a penalty that had Belle Chasse kickoff from its 25, Shaw’s Sean Michael-Dumas returned it to the Cardinals’ 2. Matt Keller later threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Allen.
After a punt, Ragas broke off his big run with 9:11 left.
Cardinals running back Trey Green, who gained 159 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, scored on a 1-yard run to keep Belle Chasse close.
However, Ragas helped Shaw take five minutes off the clock before he scored his final touchdown with 1:39 left.
“The kickoff return was the difference in the game, and then they ran out the clock with Ragas,” Belle Chasse coach Stephen Meyers said. “But he does that on everybody. He’s going to get his yards.”
The Eagles appeared on their way to a cakewalk, taking a 21-0 lead by 7:27 of the second quarter on the strength of two Belle Chasse fumbles.
First, Cardinals running back Caylin Parker was stripped, and Shaw cornerback Trent King scooped up the ball at the 16 and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead two plays into the second.
Parker fumbled on Belle Chasse’s next possession, and Shaw recovered at the 30. Six plays later, Ragas — who had a 4-yard TD run in the first quarter — scored from the 1.
Belle Chasse came back strongly to make a game of it. Aided by 20 yards in Shaw penalties, the Cardinals went 80 yards eight plays. Trent Green broke tackle attempts by two defenders in scoring on a 27-yard run around the right side with 3:16 left in the quarter.
The Cardinals then took advantage of the Eagles’ decision to go for the first down on fourth-and-12 at the Belle Chasse 38 less than a minute before halftime. Shaw quarterback Matt Keller’s pass was incomplete.
Belle Chasse then went 62 yards in 48 seconds. Running back Fredrick Smith, who played quarterback last season, and Cardinals quarterback Andrew Paige went to wideout. A 32-yard pass from Smith to Paige went to the 11. Four plays later, Smith scrambled 15 yards around right end for a touchdown with 10 seconds left. Cutting Shaw’s lead to 21-14.