GEISMAR - Ponchatoula’s defense provided three game-changing turnovers in the second quarter, then shut down fourth-seeded Dutchtown in the second half for a 28-14 Class 5A first-round playoff upset Friday night.
PHS (7-4), the No. 29 seed, will advance to face No. 13 Barbe, which beat Scotlandville, 42-29.
Dutchtown (10-1) saw its perfect season end as the Green Wave mixed a prolific option running game with a defense that made big plays at big times.
“Tonight belongs to the defense,” Ponchatoula coach Hank Tierney said. “We got up 28-14 against one of the best offenses in the state, and our defense held them down.”
Mark Holland rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns for Ponchatoula. The Green Wave rolled up 339 rushing yards and only threw four passes.
Dutchtown two-way star Landon Collins notched 89 rushing yards, two touchdowns and a forced fumble, though he suffered a tailbone injury in the second quarter.
Ponchatoula eventually turned all three Dutchtown second-quarter giveaways into touchdowns en route to taking a 28-14 halftime lead that stood up in the final 24 minutes.
Trailing 14-7, Jake Lipps recovered a fumble at the Dutchtown 43. After Holland’s 38-yard run, Ponchatoula quarterback Nathan Callais picked up a teammate’s fumble and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. That scoop-and-score helped Ponchatoula tie the game at 14 with 6:55 left in the second quarter.
On the next series, Ponchatoula’s L’donovan Granison returned an interception to the Ponchatoula 43. Five plays later, Callais faked a handoff up the middle and ran 30 yards around the right sideline for a go-ahead touchdown. Cole Cummings’ PAT kick gave the Green Wave a 21-14 edge with 4:11 to play before halftime.
Another fumble recovery gave Ponchatoula the ball at the Dutchtown 49. Holland’s 37-yard pass set the stage for Hendrix’s second TD, a 3-yard run with 36 seconds to play.
Neither side cracked the scoreboard in the second half. Dutchtown’s best chance to build momentum occurred after the Griffins recovered their own onside kick to start the second half.
But the Ponchatoula defense forced a three-and-out, and the Griffins never could get over the hump after that.
“My hats off to Ponchatoula,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “They came in here and took it to us. Our guys battled. It looked like we were always a step behind. Some nights, it’s like that. That’s just the way it is. But I wouldn’t trade my guys for anybody in the world.”
Ponchatoula scored first on Mark Holland’s 3-yard TD run off an option pitch with 3:21 to go in the first quarter. Dutchtown tied the game at 7 with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter after the first of two Collins’ two 2-yard TD runs. His second score and Tyler Sarrazin’s PAT gave the Griffins a 14-7 edge with 9:12 to go before halftime.