MARKSVILLE — The Amite defense lived up to its billing and then some in a 30-6 Class 3A semifinal win over the Marksville Tigers Friday at Warren Douglas Memorial Stadium.
The Warriors smothering defense held the Tigers’ single-wing to just 188 total yards.
“We ran into a formidable defense tonight,” Marksville coach J.T. Dunbar said. “They were big, athletic, and they did the best job of defending the single wing of any team we’ve face this year.”
With the victory, Amite (12-1) advances to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Classic, where it will face unbeaten St. Charles, a 24-21 winner over defending 3A champions Parkview Baptist.
Marksville — which made school history by just reaching the semifinals — finishes its season at 10-4.
“Defensively, we played lights-out again,” Amite coach Alden Foster said. “We basically played a goal-line defense against a goal-line offense. We wanted to make them throw the football, because it took them out of their comfort zone.”
Linebacker Juwaan Rogers not only led that lights-out defense, but he also showed he was capable of finding the end zone as he scored two TDs for the Warriors on runs of 3 and 1 yards. His first was a 1-yard plunge that capped a five-play, 43-yard drive. He also ran for two to give Amite an 8-0 lead.
The short drive, which came at the 9:15 mark in the second period, was set up after Marksville’s Austin Gagnard was to force to punt on fourth-and-six at the Tigers 11. Gagnard, who punted nine times in the game, could manage only a 32-yard punt.
“We never were able to win the field position battle tonight,” Dunbar said. “It is awful tough to get anything going when you are backed up deep in your own territory.”
While Marksville had a tough time moving the ball against Amite, the Warriors were having their on difficulties as they turned the ball over four times (three lost fumbles and a Reginald Porter) interception.
The turnovers allowed the Tigers to hang around and in the closing seconds of the ballgame, after Amite turned the ball over on downs, Marksville got their offense untracked. Jake Dunbar’s completion to Corbin Hawkins — his only completion of the first half — gave the Tigers a first-and-goal at the Amite 1 with just 5 seconds left before halftime.
On the next play, Jake Dunbar punched it in from the 1. But the try for two failed as Peyton Dunbar, Jake’s cousin, was stopped short to make it 8-6 at halftime.
The Warriors took charge of the game to start the second half as Rogers scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run and then added the two-point run. Rogers’ score was set up by Joshua Gibson’s 69 yard reception from Reginald Porter (4 of 11, 168 yards).
With a 10-point lead, Amite’s defense took over.
The Warriors scored twice more in the fourth quarter, on a 7-yard run by Jermaine Jolla and a 66-yard interception return by Chester Brumfield.
“It was a great win for our kids,” Foster said.