ST. FRANCISVILLE — Like a couple of championship heavyweights, West Feliciana and Jennings were in an offensive slugfest, each team answering the other’s blow for blow.
At the end, the 13th-seeded Saints were still standing and clutching a 62-38 victory over No. 20 Jennings on Friday in a first-round Class 3A playoff game.
The Bulldogs had the statistical edge 558-518 in total yards, and plays (67-37) and time of possession (29.05 minutes to 18.55 minutes). Junior running back Travis Etienne Jr. totaled 314 rushing yards on 25 carries and scored five touchdowns, four runs and one reception. Fellow back Jacob Soileau added 94 yards on 17 carries and two TDs.
Jennings’ young defense, featuring eight sophomores and two freshmen, couldn’t contain the Saints. Quarterback Derrick Turner ran for 215 yards and two TDs, with Davon Harris adding 104 yards and two TDs and Ronald Sims 95 yards a TD and five two-point conversion runs.
“We figured going in it would be a high scoring game,” said Saints coach Robb Odom, whose team improved to 7-4. “Jennings is a good football team. I’m proud of our kids. They did the things they need to move onto next week.”
West Feliciana scored on all six possessions in the first half, bolting out to a 46-26 lead, while Jennings scored on four of their six possessions.
Turner opened with a 66-yard TD run on the game’s second play and when Sims collected the two-pointer, the tone was established. After Jennings turned the ball over on downs, Turner scored on a 15-yard run for a 14-0 lead.
Etienne answered with two strikes, scoring on 62- and 69-yard runs, sandwiched around an 88-yard kickoff TD return by Sims. The net result was a 22-14 Saints lead early in the second quarter.
The rest of the quarter featured quick scoring blows. Turner hit Devon Harris with a 47-yard TD pass and Jennings answered with a 16-yard TD run by Jacob Soileau for a 30-20 Saints advantage. Sims hit back with a 39-yard scoring run that was followed by a Lejeune-to-Etienne 69-yard scoring pass and a 38-26 Saints edge. Two plays later, Harris scored on a 70-yard run and Sims’ two-point run made it 46-26 right before halftime.
Oddly, the second half featured a scoreless third quarter, with the Saints thwarting any momentum by the Bulldogs with a fumble recovery and a fourth-down stop. By the time both teams added two touchdowns apiece in the fourth period, the Bulldogs couldn’t get closer than 20 points.
“We got stopped a couple of times in the third quarter and that seemed to take the momentum away and we couldn’t get closer. We played hard all four quarters and I am very proud of our kids, but give them credit,” said Jennings coach Rusty Phelps, whose team finished 5-6. Etienne finished the season with 2,908 yards and 44 TDs.
West Feliciana will play at Patterson next Friday.