A game between two teams who combined for a record of 24-3 last season did not disappoint.
The Vermilion Catholic Screamin’ Eagles squeaked by the Welsh Greyhounds 32-26 in overtime. Vermilion Catholic came out in the first half, looking like they were still in a rut from last week’s loss to Catholic High of New Iberia. Turnovers and missed opportunities limited the Eagles to only six points in the first half and a 14-6 halftime deficit.
“In the first half, we played well, but we let a couple of plays get away from us,” said VCHS coach Russell Kuhns. “We went in and challenged our guys to finish plays.”
The Eagles came out in the second half and answered the challenge issued by the Vermilion Catholic coaches, outscoring the Greyhounds 26-12 in the second half.
Welsh scored first on a 2-yard run by Kyvonte Eaglin with 8:37 left in the first quarter.
Welsh tacked on another touchdown in the second quarter boosting the lead to 14-0.
The Eagles responed with a touchdown run by Tyler Derouen cutting the lead to 14-6 heading into haftime.
The Eagles struck first in the second half when Derouen scored on a 3-yard run that was set up by a 36-yard pass from quarterback Hunter Frith to Derouen on the previous play. The two-point conversion failed, and the deficit was cut to two points at 14-12.
Welsh extended the lead when quarterback Hayden Freeland connected with Garrick Gray for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
After a blocked extra point, the Greyhounds led 20-12.
The connection of Frith-to-Derouen struck again in the fourth quarter with a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 20-18.
Like a title fight between heavyweight boxers, the teams went back and forth, and Welsh responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Keshon Bell that was sparked from a 78-yard kick return by Gray.
The Welsh lead was extended to 26-18, and that would be the last points the Greyhounds scored.
Driving down the field on their last possession of regulation with under 30 seconds left, Derouen found his way into the end zone from 1 yard out to cut the Greyhounds lead to two. A successful two-point conversion, sent the game into overtime.
Welsh won the toss in overtime and elected to get the ball first.
The Vermilion Catholic defense clamped down and stopped the Greyhound offense on four downs, and gave the ball back to their offense at the 10-yard line.
A false start on the first snap pushed the Eagles back to the 15, but the stadium went crazy on the next play when Derouen, lined up at quarterback took the direct snap and willed his way into the end zone with the help of his lineman for the game-winning score.
“We were still confident after the penalty, said Derouen.
“We had the play called to the left. They were trying to check it right, but I was like ‘no dude just run it’ We hiked it and I got stuffed, and my center just kept pushing me in.
“That was the best game ever.”