BAKER — Fourth-ranked Southern Lab may have taken a step toward the District 6-1A championship Thursday night, but first-year coach Marcus Randall was hardly in a celebratory mood.
“That’s been a thorn in our side all year ... penalties and playing disciplined,” said Randall, whose team was penalized nine times for 90 yards and had a player ejected in the fourth quarter.
“We challenge them every week to play disciplined and do the right things.”
Three touchdown passes from quarterback Bladrick Veal ultimately provided Southern Lab with enough cushion to fend off a late charge from White Castle, winning 22-12 Thursday at Baker’s Wedge Kyes Stadium.
“Clearly we had them outmatched, but down the road these are the things that can come back and hurt you in tight ballgames,” Randall said.
Southern Lab (5-2, 3-0) extended its 14-0 halftime lead to 22-0 on Veal’s 53-yard tunnel screen to Quincy Filmore, who sped untouched down the sideline with 4:45 remaining.
Veal finished 13-of-22 for 215 yards but was picked off twice. Tevis Abraham (three catches, 60 yards) caught both of his TDs, while Curtlan Williams led the Kittens with five catches for 28 yards.
White Castle (4-3, 2-1) closed out the game with consecutive touchdowns, gaining 127 of their 258 total yards before quarterback Jeremie Richard was intercepted on the final play.
Marlon Lewis’ 50-yard TD run provided White Castle with its first score, with Daniel Edwards’ 3-yard run with 2:35 remaining accounted for the final score after the Bulldogs were unsuccessful on their second 2-point try.
Edwards topped White Castle’s 172-yard rushing attack with 72 yards on 16 carries. Lewis accounting for 113 yards, including three catches for 70 yards.
“We figured some things out at halftime and made a few adjustments to what they were doing, and the kids responded well,” White Castle coach Lamar Thomas said. “We still had some miscues and a couple of penalties.”
Veal made up for his game-opening interception with a pair of touchdowns on successive drives for a 14-0 halftime lead.
Lewis’ 28-yard return of an over-the-shoulder interception on Veal’s first attempt set up White Castle’s best scoring opportunity of the half.
The Bulldogs maintained possession for 14 plays and more than seven minutes, taking advantage of three defensive penalties to extend the drive.
Richard came within inches of giving White Castle an early lead, but wide receiver Dequian Jackson couldn’t hold onto the first-down attempt down the seam.
“We had some opportunities, and when we got the ball in the red zone, we either had miscues handling the ball or got penalties,” Thomas said.
Veal completed eight straight passes — a stretch that bridged both of his touchdown passes to Tevis Abraham. The first scoring play, a catch-and-run of 40 yards, came on the first play of the second quarter and included Demonte Lang’s two-point run, while the combination of Veal and Abraham worked for 8 yards on second-and-goal at the 7-minute mark.
“We had some big plays and did somethings that were good,” Randall said. “But overall, I wasn’t satisfied. We’ve got to go back and work and continue to get better.”