PLAQUEMINE - With league standings and playoff positioning coming down to the wire, the Plaquemine High School football team is playing its best when it matters most.
The Green Devils erased an early deficit against St. Michael with two defensive touchdowns and a potent running game en route to a 62-20 win at home Friday.
The Green Devils (5-3, 4-0 in District 6-4A) rushed for 511 yards and cruised to their fourth consecutive win after building a 50-14 halftime lead.
Sophomore fullback Julius Maracalin led Plaquemine with 214 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back Myron Jack rushed for 97 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown. Running back Hakeem Deggs added 82 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re finally getting to how we want to do business,” said Plaquemine coach Bob Howell. “It’s just taken us seven or eight weeks to get there.”
The Warriors (6-2, 2-2) took an early 7-0 lead after quarterback Dash Duncan completed his first four passes on a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ended with a 1-yard run by running back C.J. Okpalobi. J.T. Mauldin led St. Michael with 80 yards rushing on 12 carries. Okpalobi finished with 43 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Duncan finished 12-for-16 with 120 passing yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Backup quarterback Brandon Fields completed 8 of 13 passes for 87 yards and threw two interceptions.
“We were poorly prepared, we weren’t ready to play and that’s my fault,” Warriors coach Eric Held said. “This one’s on me.”
Trailing 7-0, Maracalin took an option handoff on the Devils’ first play from scrimmage. He found a crease up the middle and raced down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown to spark a 22-0 run by the Green Devils.
Jack received a handoff on a sweep play on the next series and broke away for an 86-yard score. Maracalin capped a nine-play touchdown drive with a 19-yard run to put the Green Devils ahead 22-7.
“We didn’t see this coming, but the kids really played a complete football game,” Howell said.
The Warriors responded with their second 10-play touchdown drive of the game. Mauldin converted on fourth-and-inches at midfield, and three plays later Okpalobi scored his second touchdown with a 9-yard rain that cut the Devils’ advantage 22-14.
But the Green Devils regained a two-touchdown lead on the ensuing possession when Deggs rushed for a 51-yard score.
PHS defensive end Davon Godchaux recovered a fumble on the Warriors’ next drive and returned it for a 19-yard touchdown. Maracalin added the two-point run to give PHS a 36-14 lead. Godchaux also finished the game with three sacks.
PHS closed the first half with two more touchdowns in the final two minutes. Jacorey Johnson intercepted a pass by Fields and returned it for a 43-yard score. The Green Devils forced a three-and-out to set up a 43-yard touchdown pass from Aro to Alvin Grant on the final play of the second quarter.
Deggs ran for a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter to increase the Green Devils’ lead to 56-14.
Fields led the Warriors on an eight-play scoring drive in the third quarter, completing three straight passes to set up a 1-yard rushing score by Okpalobi.