HAUGHTON - The East Ascension Spartans put up a strong fight against the Haughton Buccaneers, but in the end not having an answer for the passing combination of James Almond and Damon Gladney proved costly.
Almond threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns, all to Gladney, the last three coming in the fourth quarter as Haughton stormed back to nip EA 25-21 Friday in the bidistrict (first) round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Haughton, the No. 12 seed in Class 5A, improved to 9-2 and advanced to take on No. 13 Barbe, a 42-29 winner over Scotlandville.
EA, the No. 21 seed, saw its season end at 7-4.
The Bucs opened the scoring with a bang as Almond hit Gladney with a 70-yard touchdown strike.
But back came the Spartans, steadily building a 21-7 lead through three quarters. Sione Palelei scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, Jamarcus Jarvis scored on a 2-yard run in the second, and Adam Miller found Chad Hill with a 65-yard scoring bomb in the third.
But the fourth quarter belonged to Haughton - or more accurately, to Almond and Gladney. They hooked up for touchdown passes of 3, 19 and 24 yards to pull out the win.
Almond completed 25 of 38 attempts, going to Gladney 13 times for 186 yards, or one less yard than Miller threw for all night.
Miller was 12 of 20 passing, going to Hill six times for 115 yards. Jarvis led all rushers with 71 yards on 11 carries.
RUSTON 33, DENHAM SPRINGS 14: In Ruston, Denham Springs’ season is over because it had no success slowing down Alexo Williams-Hargrove.
The Ruston running back had 23 carries for 239 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run. He also caught a 13-yard TD pass from Pierce Spangler.
Ruston, the No. 16-seed, improved to 7-4. The Bearcats will travel next week to take on No. 32 Central, a 35-28 upset winner over top-seeded St. Paul’s.
The Yellow Jackets, the No. 17 seed, finished 7-4.
Denham scored on 9-yard pass from Kyle Cedotal to Zach Borne to cut its deficit to 14-7 at halftime, but Ruston responded with the TD pass from Spangler to Williams-Hargrove to make the score 20-7.
A 4-yard TD run by Denham’s Justin Martin cut the deficit to 20-14 in the fourth quarter, but Ruston completed the scoring with a 13-yard run by Roderick Long and a 33-yard run by Jhafery Clemons.
SALMEN 30, BROADMOOR 26: In Slidell, Ray Crochet scored the game-winning touchdown from 2-yards out in the fourth quarter as No. 13 Salmen rallied past No. 20 Broadmoor.
The Spartans (7-4) advanced to meet No. 4 Breaux Bridge, a 46-0 winner over No. 29 Vandebilt Catholic.
The Buccaneers saw their season end at 6-5 - but not without a fight.
Broadmoor jumped out to a 12-0 first-quarter lead on a 14-yard pass from Joshua Rogers to Reginald Williams and a Rogers 3-yard keeper.
Salmen rallied to take a 23-18 halftime lead, but the Bucs jumped back in front 26-23 in the third on a 51-yard run by Williams and a two-point pass. Earlier, Broadmoor also scored on a 76-yard interception return by Maurice Stewart.
FARMERVILLE 28, EAST FELICIANA 26: Top-seeded Farmerville had just a big enough lead to hold off No. 32 East Feliciana.
Trailing 28-12 going into the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored on a 9-yard pass from Thorcorrence Hawkins to Wando Stampley and a 73-yard pass from Hawkins to Kevin Woods, the latter with 7:14 remaining.
East Feliciana went for a tying two-point conversion after the final touchdown but failed. The Tigers wouldn’t score again.
Hawkins completed 11 of 18 passes for 237 yards and all four of East Feliciana’s scores. He earlier threw TD passes of 14 yards to both Stampley and Trent Meoanio.
Farmerville (10-1) got 177 yards on 30 carries from J.T. Brown, including TD runs of 35, 18 and 8 yards.
Farmerville advances to face No. 16 Marksville, which survived No. 17 Donaldsonville 25-22.
LIVONIA 31, NORTH DESOTO 28: Mason Torres threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third, helping No. 5-seeded Livonia do just enough to hold off No. 28 North DeSoto.
The Wildcats improved to 10-1 and advanced to face No. 21 McMain, a 54-36 winner at No. 12 Avoyelles.
North Desoto (4-7) stunned Livonia by blitzing to a 21-0 first-quarter lead. Torres then threw TD passes of 1 and 9 yards to Marique Beauvais to pull the Wildcats within 21-14 at the half.
Livonia took a 31-21 third-quarter lead on an 8-yard run by Mark Lewis (he had 23 carries for 134 yards) and a 42-yard field goal by Dylan Ainsworth. Torres added a 1-yard scoring keeper in the fourth, enough to offset a touchdown by North DeSoto.
KINDER 29, REDEMPTORIST 21 (OT): In Kinder, Marshall Harmon ran for three touchdowns and Blake Trahan made a clutch interception in overtime as No. 9 Kinder held off No. 24 Redemptorist.
Kinder (10-1) advanced to take on No. 25 Newman, a 21-14 winner over Holy Savior Menard.
The Wolves finished 4-7.
Deno Mullens was the workhorse for Redemptorist, rushing for 129 yards on 21 carries including all three of his team’s touchdowns from 7, 13 and 13 yards out.
Harmon had 35 carries for 170 yards for Kinder, including TD runs of 2, 39 and 4 yards in OT. Trahan also scored in the second quarter, and picked off Redemptorist quarterback Josh Courtney in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
JOHN CURTIS 56, DUNHAM 7: The Patriots scored in every quarter as the Tigers were no match for John Curtis at Muss Bertolino Stadium in Kenner.
The Patriots, the top seed in Class 2A, improved to 10-0. Dunham, the No. 32 seed, finished 4-7.
Curtis advanced to play the winner between No. 16 North Caddo and No. 17 Ville Platte.
Sherman Badie scored on runs of 37, 33 and 31 yards for the Patriots, who piled up 252 yards rushing. Abby Tauzet scored an 8-yard keeper and threw a 6-yard pass to LSU commitment Dillon Gordon.
Malachi Dupre scored on a 75-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
Dunham’s only score came in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard pass from Grant Messer to Austin Miller. The Tigers managed just two first downs in the game.
CEDAR CREEK 40, SOUTHERN LAB 0: Austin Ginn ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns and caught a pair of TD passes as Cedar Creek cruised past Southern Lab.
Cedar Creek (9-2), the No. 13 seed, will meet Mangham in the second round. Mangham, the No. 4 seed, eliminated No. 29 and defending Class 1A champion White Castle 42-20.
The Kittens, the No. 20 seed, saw its season end at 7-4.
Southern Lab quarterback Deonte Shorts was 10 of 19 passing for 93 yards with an interception.
MANGHAM 42, WHITE CASTLE 20: Shaq Ausberry and Artez Nichols each scored on three touchdown runs as Mangham ended the defending Class 1A champions’ dreams of another title run.
Mangham improved to 11-0 while the Bulldogs finished 4-7.
White Castle lost despite the best efforts of Tyre Bracken. He opened the scoring with a 5-yard TD run and later scored on runs of 22 and 52 yards.
Meanwhile, Ausberry scored on runs of 5, 8 and 6 yards while Nichols scored o runs of 26, 28 and 12 yards.