PLAQUEMINE —Plaquemine put up 30 second-half points with backup quarterback Rocky Gibson at the helm, breaking away from a 24-24 tie at halftime and going on to defeat Woodlawn 54-43.
The win at Plaquemine’s Andrew Canova Stadium kept the Green Devils atop the standings in District 6-4A. They stayed unbeaten at 3-0 (5-3 overall) and dropped the Panthers to 2-1 in the district and 4-4.
“I told our guys at halftime, if there was ever a time to hold the rope, to be one unit with one heartbeat, it was tonight,” Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. “We had some miscues with turnovers in the first half, but I’m proud that my team didn’t panic. A big part of our program is trusting each other, and they did that.”
The Green Devils lost their quarterback and lost their momentum on one crucial play in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Austin Mitchell went down with a leg injury, fumbling the ball on the play. Woodlawn’s Trey Domino scooped up the ball and ran yards for a touchdown, cutting the Plaquemine lead to 24-17.
Another fumble led to the Panthers’ next touchdown, this one on the Plaquemine 23. After an incomplete pass, Myers ran off left tackle, breaking one tackle in the backfield and a few more on his way to the end zone.
Woodlawn got one more scoring opportunity late in the half, but Hassan Chabayta was just short on a 45-yard field goal attempt.
The second half was a back and forth affair. Plaquemine got the first two touchdowns on an 8-yard run by Gibson and a 52-yard run by Domingue.
Woodlawn answered with two touchdown passes by quarterback Jamari Nelson, 60 yards to Darion Johnson and 14 yards to Javin Myers.
Wayne Toussant then put the Devils ahead for good with a 64-yard scamper down the left sideline.
“I just wanted to step up and bring leadership and help my team,” Gibson said of replacing Mitchell. “Woodlawn has a great defense, with good linebackers and good defensive backs, but with Kevin (Domingue) and Tyler (Wesley) and Wayne (Toussant) we’ve got great running backs.
“When Wayne cut it back (on his last touchdown), I knew he was gone.”
Plaquemine had built a 24-10 behind big plays and a stout defense. Their first score came on a 54-yard keeper by Mitchell. They used a 40-yard hook-and-ladder play from Mitchell to Michael Sproles to Wayne Toussant to set up a 10-yard scoring run by Domingue, then added a 19-yard TD run from Dominque.
The Green Devils were successful on all three 2-point conversion attempts in the first half, and three of four in the second.
Plaquemine had two big stops on defense when the Panthers tried for first downs on fourth-down situations, once stuffing a fake punt attempt and then getting a sack from Nelson Jenkins on a fourth and three.
The Green Devils held on another fourth down in the third quarter on a sack by Dijon Forrest. This stop set up the 52-yard touchdown run by Dominque after Gibson picked up a crucial first down on a 12-yard run.
“That was two good football teams going toe-to-toe tonight,” coach Daniel Luquet of Woodlawn said. “In a game like this, you have to be totally focused on every play. We missed some opportunities, but I was proud of the way we played tonight.”
Rushing leaders for the game were Domingue (150 yards and 4 touchdowns), Toussant (146) and Meyers (120).
Darion Johnson led all receivers with eight catches for 147 yards, followed by Taj Sullivan of Woodlawn with 72 and Meyers with 66.