Aldon Clark is back.
And boy are the folks on Huntlee Drive glad.
The junior quarterback, who missed last week’s game with a knee injury, tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead Karr to a 27-20 victory over McDonogh 35 at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“It felt good to be back,” Clark said. “We started out slow, but I had to find my rhythm.”
It was his clutch throw to Diamante Woolridge in the corner of the end zone with 1:41 left that was the game-winner for the Cougars (5-4, 5-1 in 9-4A).
“I just believed,” Clark said. “I believed in the play and I believed in my receiver. I don’t think about how much time is left.”
Clark came into the game with 1,850 yards passing and 19 touchdowns.
He added two more to that touchdown total Thursday night in the regular-season finale. He also connected with Woolridge in the third quarter for a 70-yard strike that broke a 12-12 halftime tie.
“That was a hell of a second half by Aldon,” Karr coach Brice Brown said. “I’m proud of the guys for how they competed.”
McDonogh 35, ranked No. 8 in The New Orleans Advocate Large School Super 10, finished the regular season 8-2 and 4-2 in district play. Both teams will head into the playoffs beginning next week.
“This one is on the coaches,” Roneagles coach Wayne Reese said. “We lost this one.”
It looked like the Roneagles may get this one, thanks in part to some defensive gems late.
Trailing 19-12 with 6:45 left, the McDonogh 35 defense came up with a huge play when Sci Martin caused a fumble deep in Karr territory. The Roneagles capitalized right away when Sidney Wilson connected with Brad Stewart on a 6-yard fade route to close the gap to 19-18.
Wilson connected with Stewart on the 2-point conversion to give the Roneagles the lead.
Moments later, McDonogh 35 got another great defensive play when McDonogh 35 defensive back Joe Foucha hit Karr’s Dajuan Dixon and the ball popped loose into the hands of Kevin Berthey for a fumble.
But the Karr defense held, giving Clark and the Cougars one last chance.
Clark showed plenty of poise.
“I just go out there and play,” Clark said. “The game is not over until the clock says zero.”
The teams played to a 12-12 tie in the first half.
McDonogh 35 scored first on a 2-yard run by Darius May, who is committed to Tulane. The touchdown came after a Karr’s Eric Smith recovered a fumble.
Karr answered on a 3-yard run by Aldon Clark.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the second quarter as well.
Karr took a lead on Tyrik Luckett’s 3-yard run, and the Roneagles answered with Dajun Jenkin’s 4-yard run.
But in the second half, the Cougars prevailed and can carry that momentum into the playoffs.
“We are going to get back in the film room and keep working and grinding,” Brown said. “They displayed Karr pride tonight. That was the epitome of Karr football.”