The smallest guy on the field did his best to keep Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo from getting his first career win Friday night in an offensive shootout.
But in the end, it was the Holy Cross defense that came up big to seal the Tigers’ 34-27 victory over Sulphur at Pan American Stadium.
Junior defensive back Kyle Meyers broke up a fourth down pass in the final seconds to seal the win.
“I knew we needed a big play,” Meyers said. “We felt like we should’ve won last week against Covington, so we didn’t want to let this one get away.”
It was the first career coaching victory for Rebaudo, who took over the Tigers after Barry Wilson retired.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Rebaudo. “I haven’t had a chance to think about it. Hopefully we can start getting some confidence down the line.”
Guillory, who weighs just 140 pounds, torched the Tigers for a school record 340 yards on 42 carries and three touchdowns.
“We knew he was going to be a handful from the start,” Rebaudo said. “Credit to Sulphur for doing a great job of getting better over the years.”
But in the end, the Tigers (1-1) prevailed.
Leading 34-27, Sulphur drove to the Holy Cross 36 before Meyers’ pass breakup near the home sideline sealed it.
“Kyle is one of those guys who has talent to make big plays like that,” Rebaudo said.
Holy Cross running back Tre Turner, one of the state’s top juniors, led the Tigers on offense with 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries.
Quarterback Kyle Schexnayder completed 12 of 18 passes for 171 yards.
Turner rushed for 163 yards last week in the Tigers’ 24-21 loss to Covington. In that loss, the Holy Cross fell into a 24-0 hole before their comeback fell short.
This time, they led the entire way, despite the Golden Tors (0-2) never going away.
Sulphur started the game with an impressive drive but fumbled at the 7-yard line. Holy Cross linebacker John Marc LaFrance recovered the fumble. Holy Cross needed just two plays to go 93 yards.
First, Schexnayder connected with Georgia commit Michael Chigbu for a 47-yard pass. Turner followed that up with a 46 yard touchdown run.
The Tigers scored on their first four possessions of the game.
Schexnayder threw a perfect 31-yard touchdown pass to Chigbu on the next possession and then scored on a 14-yard run on the next.
The junior quarterback completed his first seven passes for 120 yards.
Laiton Johnson capped off the first half scoring for the Tigers with a 5-yard run.
But Sulphur, thanks to the nifty running of Derrick Guillory never went away and had an answer each time Holy Cross tried to pull away.
The 135-pound senior scored on 80 and 63 yard runs in the first half.
His 80-yard highlight reel run came on the first play after Chigbu’s touchdown reception and cut Sulphur’s deficit to 13-6 with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
Guillory, who eclipsed the 200-mark last week in the Tors season-opening loss to St. Thomas More, needed just two quarters to get over the two century mark Friday.
He had 241 yards in the first half.
“I had all of those yards, but I would much rather have got the win,” said Guillory, who also had 88 yards on kickoff returns and 16 receiving yards.
Despite their first half offensive prowess, the Tigers led just 27-20 at halftime.
But Turner jumpstarted the second half with a 56-yard touchdown run on the opening possession. Guillory’s 11-yard run late in the third quarter closed out the scoring.
It was the only touchdown of the second half for the Tigers.
“We held them to about 100 yards in the second half, but just didn’t have enough firepower to punch it in,” said Sulphur coach Jeff Wainwright.
Holy Cross plays at Chalmette next week.
“Just credit goes to our kids,” Rebaudo said. “They’ve worked hard…It’s always a war going down there (to Chalmette). They’ll be ready. We’ll be ready.”