ST. FRANCISVILLE — Two games into the 2015 season, Livonia coach Guy Mistretta is still trying to figure out his team.
One thing he learned in a 25-20 victory over West Feliciana on Friday was they can run the football with power.
Friday’s game was a rematch of the 2014 Class 3A semifinal contest, won by Livonia 23-15. The Wildcats earned the state championship the next week over Amite 43-14. Livonia has since moved up to Class 4A, but the teams were evenly matched and the Wildcats didn’t secure the victory until the Saints turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute to go.
Livonia quarterback Cee Jay Powell completed the game’s only two passes for 40 yards on eight attempts while his West Feliciana counterpart Devon Harris was 0-for-8. That forced both teams to rely on their running attacks.
Livonia rushed for 346 yards while West Feliciana had 332 yards. Powell gained 134 yards on 16 carries and running back Patrick Queen added 178 yards on 25 tries to lead Livonia.
“We are still trying to figure out the identity of our football team,” said Mistretta, whose Wildcats improved to 1-1. “We were focused on power running, but we had too many miscues. We’re on the verge of figuring it out, and we’ll keep working at it.”
West Feliciana fell to 0-2 and was led by Josh Morrison with 179 yards on 11 carries and a TD. Harris added 105 yards on 14 tries and two TDs.
Trailing 20-15 after three quarters, the Wildcats clawed back with 10 fourth-quarter points. They cut the lead to 20-17 when a snap over the punter’s head in the end zone forced a Saints safety and then Livonia took advantage of a short field after the ensuing kick with a four-play, 43-yard drive and 3-yard TD run by Queen. Powell ran in the two-point conversion to put the Wildcats ahead by the final margin.
“We played another good football team this week and they made a couple of plays and we didn’t,” Saints coach Robb Odom said. “That’s two good football teams — our kids battled, battled, battled and our kids didn’t quit. That’s all you can ask.”
Livonia’s Barrick Slaughter opened the scoring on a 12-yard run and Queen punched in the two-pointer for an 8-0 advantage early in the second quarter. West Feliciana answered with a 10-play, 76-yard drive with Harris scoring from 7 yards, cutting the Wildcat lead to 8-6. They responded with a 7-play, 54-yard march with Powell scoring from a yard out and the PAT kick by Bryce Leblanc made it 15-6.
With 4:30 remaining in the half, the Saints struck for two quick scores, grabbing a 20-15 halftime advantage. On a 3-and-10, Harris ran for an 80-yard score, cutting the Livonia edge to 15-12.
After stopping the Wildcats, West Feliciana’s Josh Morrison sprinted 59 yards untouched. Hunter Smith punched in the two-point conversion and the Saints were ahead 20-15.
Both teams play non-district games at home next week. Livonia will host Port Allen of 6-3A while West Feliciana entertains Live Oak of District 4-5A.