Southern University Lab School coach Nick Mitchell asked his team to give him a solid game in all three phases, and his team answered in a resounding way by mauling St. Frederick, of Monroe, 53-0 at Louisiana Leadership Academy’s Doug Williams Field on Friday night.
The first-round victory in the LHSAA Select Division IV playoffs helped erase the sting of last year’s cold-weather heartbreaker when Lab lost to the Warriors one step away from the Superdome finals.
“Our defense made a statement,” Mitchell said. “After we found out we’d be playing them (St. Frederick) again, they spent the week in practice with one mission: to play their best football.”
While the defense was holding the Warriors to 136 total yards, picking off three passes, recovering a fumble and registering 15 stops for minus yardage, the offense and special teams were having a banner night themselves.
Running back Darbbeon Profit had his second straight 200-yard game, carrying for 219 yards on 18 carries and scoring three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion as the offense rolled up 333 yards. Javahn Fergurson had a 41-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Bladrick Veal threw a touchdown pass to Derrick Pate.
“Our O-line just came off the ball quick and did their assignments and the holes were there,” Profit said. “I just tried to run hard and keep my legs moving.”
Southern Lab (6-5) played a brutal pre-district schedule and lost its first five games, but Profit said those games were beneficial.
“After every game we just said we were going to stay as one and keep playing, and it would all pay off,” he said.
The Kittens’ special teams added touchdowns on an interception return and Pate’s fourth-quarter 60-yard punt return. They also recovered a muffed punt and blocked a punt.
Lab’s offense had the ball only four times in the first half, but they scored on three of those on their way to a 29-0 halftime lead.
Profit ran 21 yards up the middle for the first touchdown with 1:21 left in the first quarter, capping a 31-yard drive after the Kittens recovered a muffed punt.
Lab struck again 46 seconds later when Xavier Bell perfectly undercut a pass route and high-stepped 26 yards into the end zone. The high step cost him a 15-yard celebration penalty, but the Kittens were up 15-0 after one quarter.
Southern Lab took to the air for its next score, with Veal hitting Pate on a 24-yard scoring strike.
St. Frederick (7-4) threatened midway through the second quarter, driving to a first down on the Kittens’ 25 before Trey Epps chalked up the second interception of the half.
Epps picked off another pass in the second half, giving the Kittens three picks on the night. “Southern is so explosive on both sides of the ball,” St. Fredrick coach Jeff Tannehill said. “I thought we got off to a good start, but we’ve lost four games this year, and they’ve all been because of turnovers.”