The play was stashed away, practiced all year but never used. His Parkview Baptist Eagles facing a fourth down on the opening second half drive of a tie game, Trent Kavanaugh lined up to punt. U-High defenders checked down on the receivers split out, leaving Peyton Phillips unguarded as the tight end.
Kavanaugh rolled out right. Phillips ran left, where Cubs defenders were nowhere in sight. Kavanaugh let it fly.
“I was pretty nervous,” Kavanaugh said. “My other receiver that ran the slant said he was wide-open. But I couldn’t see anybody but that one tight end slipping out there.”
Kavanaugh hit Phillips for a 22-yard gain — the only pass the Eagles completed all night. Four plays later, the Eagles went ahead for good, Kayin White bullying his way through a spent U-High defensive front for an eight-yard score.
The trickeration sparked a 14-point third quarter where quarterback Reggie Hayes and the Eagle offense had their way, ending U-High’s five-game winning streak in the Baton Rouge rivalry 41-28 and sending No. 4 seed Parkview to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to play for the Division II title against No. 2 seed St. Thomas More at 5 p.m. Friday.
Parkview ran its first 11 plays of the second half in top-seeded U-High’s territory, benefitting from both the fake and a crucial fumble from Cubs phenom Dylan Moses, who returned kickoffs all night and was even featured in the backfield as U-High tried to find offensive continuity.
Moses’ fumble came on the kickoff after White’s touchdown, putting the Eagles at the Cubs’ 47. Hayes dazzled for a 42-yard run that evaded multiple defenders before Conner Joffrion took the next play 7 yards for a touchdown, extending the Parkview lead to 35-21.
Hayes, Joffrion and bruising fullback Nelson Smith spearheaded a triple-option attack that amassed 457 yards on 51 carries. Hayes led with 168 yards, with Smith at 159. All three backs scored touchdowns. Hayes, who also returns kicks, had 255 all-purpose yards.
“They did a really nice job on offense keeping the ball away from us,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “We’ll have to look at film and evaluate, but I think (Parkview) has 10 seniors on offense, and they do a really good job with their scheme. They test you in a lot of different ways.”
Parkview, which avenged a 29-21 loss from earlier in the season, started quick. Brennan Dorsey dominated early, taking an end around 19 yards to the house for the game’s first score before picking off U-High quarterback DJ White’s floated screen pass on the following drive, returning it inside the U-High 20.
Four plays later, White powered in from 5 yards out to give the Eagles a 15-0 lead.
After the Cubs settled in, DJ White scooted in from 5 yards out as time expired in the half, but his tying score wasn’t without controversy. He ran a quarterback sneak one play prior, causing a big pileup as the quarterback jockeyed for the goal line without any timeouts.
The clock ticked to 4 seconds to play before referees stopped it, incensing Parkview coach Jay Mayet, who ran nearly past the numbers to voice his displeasure. White scored on the next play, as Mayet continued to plead his case, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Not perhaps how Mayet drew it up, but the incident was the perfect personification of his team’s mantra all week.
“You leave the locker room, there’s no excuses,” Mayet told his team. “Play with no fear, come back in the locker room with no regrets. I reminded them of that at halftime. The way I looked at it, it was 21-21 or 0-0. We had a whole second half to win the game, and they came out and did that.”