For the second time this season, Southern Lab’s stable of fleet backs and receivers proved to be too much for St. John of Plaquemine to handle.
Darbbeon Profit and Pat Green each ran for two touchdowns Friday night, leading the Kittens to a 49-14 opening-round win in the Division IV playoffs at Louisiana Leadership Stadium.
Lab (7-3) defeated St. John 46-6 on Oct. 2. It was a game that saw the Kittens take control early, and lead 34-0 at halftime. This time the halftime lead was 35-14, but the Kittens didn’t begin pulling away until late in the second period.
“We’ve already played them, so we knew they would have some new wrinkles for us,” Lab coach Marcus Randall said. “We practiced hard all week, and didn’t talk about winning the last game. It was about coming out and playing hard.”
For the game, Lab had 10 plays of 15 yards or longer, including touchdown runs of 47 and 24 yards by Green, and a 65-yard punt return by Curtlan Williams.
Green finished with 100 yards on nine carries while Profit had an economical 40 yards and two scores on four rushes.
The only blemishes for Lab were penalties and a brief stretch in the second quarter when it had trouble with center snaps from the shotgun. During that series, the Kittens fumbled three consecutive snaps losing 40 yards and possession of the ball on the last fumble.
St. John played loose, and appeared willing to try anything, including onsides kicks on every kickoff. Gavin Landry led all rushers with 24 carries for 169 yards.
Landry scored all 14 points for St. John, and kicked the extra point after each of his touchdown runs.
“(Southern Lab) is very talented,” St. John coach Oliver Crockett said. “Their coach does a great job putting them in position to make plays, and they’re also a great group of kids. They’ve got a great chance (in the playoffs), and I’ll be a Southern Lab fan for the rest of this season.”
St. John recovered an onside kick to open the game, and moved to a first down inside the Lab 20. The Kittens defense stepped up as Cameron Williams intercepted a tipped pass behind the line of scrimmage.
Lab went 66 yards in nine plays for its first score. Four different backs carried during the series, which was capped by Profit’s 15-yard run.
After an exchange of fumbles following the kickoff, St. John took over at the Lab 11. From there it needed just two plays, and Landry’s 4-yard run helped tie the score 7-7.
Lab responded with three consecutive scores. Green’s 47-yard score came after the Kittens recovered the onside kick at midfield. Xavier Bell’s 56-yard catch-and-run on Bladrick Veal’s pass set up Shannon Foreman’s 1-yard run.
The score ballooned to 27-7 on Williams’ electrifying 65-yard punt return. First, Williams grabbed the ball on the left sideline just before it went out of bounds. He cut back to his right, and broke free at midfield.
St. John came right back. Landry burst through the Kittens’ left side for a 63-yard gain, and scored from 11 yards out on the next play.
A 30-yard kickoff return set up a short scoring drive for Lab on the next series. Profit scored on a 6-yard run over right tackle, and Bell ran in the two-point conversion. The result was a 35-14 lead for Lab at halftime.