ZACHARY - East Feliciana gave Zachary all it could handle Friday night, but in the end the Broncos conjured one more magical play than the Tigers and escaped with a come-from-behind 36-32 win.
The matchup between two undefeated teams promised to be a classic encounter before the game even kicked off, and the two sides did not disappoint, combining for 817 yards of offense and an even 10 touchdowns.
Quarterback Mason Pace led Zachary (3-0) with 317 yards passing and three touchdowns on a 21-of-31 night.
East Feliciana quarterback Kendell Beckwith, threw for 191 yards and one score but did most of his damage on the ground, where he rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
“The fans definitely got their money’s worth,” Tigers coach Cedric Anderson said after his team fell to 2-1.
Tyler Walker scored the first touchdown in appropriately spectacular fashion, hauling in a Pace pass with one hand for a 23-yard score in the first quarter.
Pace produced Zachary’s second in similar style, finding Dillon Beard in the end zone for a 21-yard strike, the first of Beard’s two touchdowns.
The Tigers had to wait until the second quarter to get on the scoreboard, and did so when not Beckwith but backup quarterback Thorcorrence Hawkins lofted the ball into the end zone, where Kevin Woods came down with it.
Beckwith was intercepted at the 1-yard line by Forrest Town on East Feliciana’s next drive, but Zachary’s response lasted just one snap when a fumble gave the ball back to the Tigers. Two plays Kameron McKnight rushed up the middle to pull East Feliciana within one at 13-12.
Zachary pulled away with two touchdowns late in the half, the first on a 1-yard run by Ron Pennington and the second on a 20-yard pass from Pace to Beard.
Both scores came on fourth down as the Broncos eschewed field goal attempts for touchdown opportunities.
Pace was intercepted on Zachary’s first drive of the second half, and East Feliciana wasted no time converting the turnover into points when Beckwith rushed up the middle on a keeper from 3 yards out.
Beckwith added his second rushing touchdown later in the quarter on a bullish 32-yard rush that saw him break through the Zachary defensive line before cutting outside and outrunning a pair of Broncos defenders down the sideline.
The junior fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Woods in the fourth quarter to give the visitors their first lead of the night at 32-29, and the Tigers looked like they were going to put it away when they drove deep into Zachary territory.
McKnight lost a fumble at the 4-yard line though, giving the ball back to the Broncos with four minutes on the clock.
Pace drove Zachary the length of the field, and the Broncos regained the lead at 36-32 when Pennington rushed up the middle from 15 yards out.
East Feliciana attempted to cap the wild night with a late score, but Beckwith was intercepted deep in ZHS territory.
“We’ve had to play from behind at some point in all of our games this year,” said Zachary coach Neil Weiner. “When you play a team that’s that well coached and with that level of skill, it’ll happen.”