CHURCH POINT — A halftime roll of the dice proved to be an effective gamble for Church Point High on Friday night.
The Bears successfully executed an onside kick to start the second half, which helped swing the momentum in a 40-36 Church Point victory over Cecilia.
Ninth-ranked Church Point trailed 14-0 with seven minutes left in the first quarter and 28-21 at intermission.
That deficit caused the Church Point coaching staff to make a decision, Bears coach John Craig Arceneaux said.
“At halftime we met as a staff and we decided to do it (kick onside). We were behind and we felt we needed something to alter the momentum,” Arceneaux said.
Church Point’s Deshawn Wheeler recovered Kian Richard’s onside kick at the Cecilia 35 and five plays later Bears running back Deion Monroe scored on a 1-yard run.
Although the extra point kick failed, Church Point scored on its next series with 3:54 left in the third after Trey Babineaux recovered a Bulldogs fumble in the Bears’ end zone.
Church Point used the recovery to launch an 80-yard, eight-play drive. Running back Fred Williams scored when he took a direct snap from the Bears’ grizzly package and went 6 yards.
Williams’ touchdown provided Church Point with a five-point lead (33-28), but Cecilia had other ideas about switching its own momentum.
Cecilia running back Raymond Calais Jr. broke loose on a 60-yard run less than a minute later for a touchdown and then added the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 36-33 advantage.
The Bears scored the game’s final points with 10:31 left in the game on a 7-yard Christian Veronie run, which ended a 74-yard drive.
Cecilia (1-2) threatened late in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs reached the Church Point 22 in 14 plays. The game ended when a Landor Roberts pass went out of bounds.
Cecilia coach Terry Martin felt his team lost too many fumbles (four) to effectively put Church Point (3-0) away.
“We went up quick 14-0, but then it was just like last year. Church Point kept battling back and we had a game on our hands. I thought our fumbles allowed them to stay in,” Martin said.
Both teams featured energized offensive attacks fueled by the turnovers.
Church Point also lost four of five fumbles and the Bulldogs used two of those to ignite their two early touchdowns.
One of the recoveries came on the opening kickoff when Cecilia’s Chris Lewis took possession at the Bears’ 44.
Roberts threw a 17-yard TD pass to wide receiver Damien Bernard for the first score.
Then after Cecilia’s Keldrick Zeno took possession of another Bears’ fumble at the Bulldogs’ 43, Roberts had Cecilia in the end zone again, this time throwing to Bernard from 48 yards away.
Calais also scored on an 82-yard run in the second period and finished the game with 254 yards on 22 attempts.
Church Point ran for 277 yards and threw for 233.
Monroe gained 149 on 27 carries, while Williams rushed nine times for 104
Bears quarterback Troy Matte threw for 102, while Roberts completed 14-of-20 for 233.