CROWLEY — LaGrange High School got the matchup it wanted at the line of scrimmage and Markell Hawthorne did the rest.
Hawthorne rushed for 255 yards on 33 carries as LaGrange remained undefeated in District 4-4A with a 43-24 victory over Crowley on Thursday night at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
LaGrange coach Jules Sullen said he wanted to attack Crowley’s defensive front with the power running of Hawthorne, who scored three touchdowns as LaGrange improved to 3-0 in league play.
Crowley (5-2) dropped to 3-1 in district games. LaGrange won its third straight after starting 0-4. The Gators are 3-0 in 4-4A.
“We felt if we had the opportunity to get the ball in (Hawthorne’s) hands then something good was going to happen. We wanted to attack with our offensive line and let (Hawthorne) run behind it,” Sullen said.
Sullen said his blockers created enough opportunities for Hawthorne.
“You’re only as good as the (offensive) line in front of you and (Hawthorne) understands that,” he said.
“Our objective offensively was to run away from (Crowley’s) nose guard (Jacq’Co Price) and I thought we were able to do that. Defensively we wanted Crowley to beat us with the pass.”
Crowley running back Ty’Von Griffin gained 172 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns, two of those on runs totaling 87 yards.
Sullen said the game provided a showcase for two talented ballcarriers.
“I thought this game featured two of the two best running backs in the district. I think both of them showed that (Thursday night),” Sullen said.
Crowley trailed 28-17 at halftime and the Gents never got closer.
Griffin’s 42-yard run with 7:58 left in the game cut the Gators’ lead to 36-24. But LaGrange scored on a 7-yard Jaylun Myles run with 3:01 left to seal the victory.
Hawthorne also scored on a 60-yard pass reception from quarterback Jeremiah West, a play which provided LaGrange with a 20-7 lead.
Crowley coach Josh Fontenot said Hawthorne is the type of back that wears down a defense.
“I thought we got beat by the better team. Our players have nothing to be ashamed about. (Hawthorne) is so tough to bring down. He pounds on you so much,” Fontenot said.
“We missed some tackles and he broke some long ones on us. (Hawthorne) is like a bulldozer, but he’s also got some wheels.
“They blocked us pretty well and he broke some long ones. I can deal with that.
“So did (Griffin). I didn’t see this game so much as a matchup between Hawthorne and Griffin. It was a matchup more between Hawthorne and our defense.”
Griffin ran for most of the yardage on the game’s first offensive series when Crowley sustained an 82-yard drive that consumed nearly five minutes.
Gents’ quarterback Pate Broussard gained 31 on a key second down play and Griffin scored from 15 yards out.
LaGrange consumed most of the remainder of the first with a TD march that featured Hawthorne carrying the ball on nine of the 10 snaps. Hawthorne scored with 1:04 left, but Crowley led after a missed extra point.
The Gators remained in front on their next series as Alvinosky Lafleur pulled in a pass from quarterback West from 23 yards out.
Myles scored on a two-point conversion reverse play for for a 14-7 LaGrange advantage, one the Gators would not give up.
Crowley cut the 13- point lead to 10 by halftime on Andrew Simon’s 23-yard field goal.