ZACHARY - The mode of travel for the Zachary offense varied in the second half, but the Broncos were more than pleased with the result.
Instead of relying on its wide-open spread attack, Zachary went more to a traditional ground approach led by running back Ron Pennington.
The Broncos overcame a one-point halftime deficit to register a 41-26 win over Thibodaux on Friday night.
“I think it’s a sign of a veteran team to overcome and still have some confidence in their ability,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “Even though we didn’t do it the way we wanted to do it, they never thought they were going to lose for one second. That’s the sign of a veteran team.”
Zachary, which started 2-0 for the first time since 2007, rushed for 162 of its 263 yards during a second half in which the Broncos scored on four of their five possessions. Pennington paced the Broncos with 19 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Ladarrius Vessell rushed for a touchdown, threw for a TD and hauled in the game’s final score on a 15-yarder from Mason Pace with 2:27 left.
Vessell carried nine times for 53 yards, caught a team-high four passes for 37 yards and found Pace for a 16-yard score at the 4:20 mark of the third quarter for a 27-14 lead.
Zachary finished with 387 total yards, outgaining THS 253-123 in the second half.
ZHS scored on its first two series of the second half to overcome a 14-13 halftime deficit.Thibodaux (0-2) remained within striking distance, twice pulling to within a TD (27-20) on Aaron Thomas’ 16-yard pass to Shykeem Thompson late in the third quarter and (34-26) and when Nigel Robertson motored 98 yards on a kickoff return with 7:23 still showing.
Thibodaux, which finished with 243 yards, was led by Robertson’s 291 all-purpose yards. He carried 15 times for 107 yards and returned four kickoffs for 184 yards and a touchdown. Thomas completed 9 of 30 passes for 144 yards with Jason Richard hauling in four for 107.
“If we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot on special teams and we convert when we’re supposed to convert on offense we’re in there,” Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. “We just didn’t do the things we needed to do and hat’s off to those guys.”
Consecutive TDs from LSU commitment Trey Granier in a 35-second span enabled Thibodaux to overcome an early 10-point deficit and hold a 14-13 halftime lead.
Granier finished a 42-yard drive with a 1-yard run in the second quarter. Two plays into Zachary’s next possession, Granier picked off Pace and raced 52 yards for a touchdown as Thibodaux took a 14-10 lead on Robertson’s two-point run on a Statue of Liberty handoff from quarterback Aaron Thomas.
Zachary opened a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard scoring run from Pennington that capped an opening nine-play, 76-yard drive before the Broncos settled for field goals of 47 and 28 yards, respectively, and trailed 14-13 with 7:14 left in the second quarter.
“We thought we could run the football well but we turned it over in the first half and didn’t get a chance to have any sustained drives going and that’s what we did in the second half,” Weiner said. “We ran the football first and were smart with our play selection when we passed.”