OPELOUSAS — The Beau Chene defense made sure Opelousas didn’t take advantage of several scoring opportunities Friday night.
Opelousas was held without an offensive touchdown despite recovering six Beau Chene fumbles as the Gators won a St. Landry Parish rivalry game and a District 4-4A contest 23-6 at Donald Gardner Stadium.
“I thought my defense was pretty good, but I have to tip my hat to them. They really played well for us,” Beau Chene coach Josh Guidry said. “We had planned to come out in a Wing-T for this game, but our quarterback (Andrew Morgan) got hurt on the first play from scrimmage and our center went out with a leg injury, so we had to go back to the veer.”
The Gators (3-3, 1-1) received a premonition about what would occur throughout the rest of the game on their first offensive snap.
Opelousas linebacker Tanny Wheeler picked up a Beau Chene fumble and ran it back 24 yards to score the only touchdown for the Tigers (1-5, 0-3).
The fumble recovery was one of three Wheeler had during the night.
Both Opelousas and Beau Chene had offensive drives interrupted by turnovers and penalties.
Opelousas received 21 penalties for 140 yards. Beau Chene was flagged 12 times for 112 yards.
“We really couldn’t do very much offensively because of all the penalties. Wasn’t that something? I don’t know what to say,” Opelousas coach Quentin Payne said.
Guidry said he thought his defense swung the momentum several times in the game, especially during the final Opelousas drive of the second quarter.
Wheeler set up the drive at the Gators 34 with 3:06 remaining.
Opelousas moved down inside the 10 on a 30-yard completion from quarterback Ke’Andre Jones to wide receiver Darius Berard.
Three Collins Roberts’ rushing attempts got the Tigers to the 8, but on the last play of the first half, Jones was stopped at the 6.
Another Beau Chene fumble in the third quarter enabled the Tigers to have another scoring chance. A second Jones-to-Berard reception of 26 yards put Opelousas at the 6 again.
A 4-yard throw from Jones to Roberts allowed Opelousas to reach the 3. On fourth down, Jones was held out of the end zone at the 1.
“I thought for sure that (Jones) scored on that one, but the referees didn’t think so,” said Payne.
Beau Chene’s defense also collected points in the first quarter when the Gators tackled Jones in the end zone for a safety with 6:42 left.
The Gators dominated the rest of the first half offensively. Beau Chene consumed 6:37 of the final part of the initial period with a 46-yard, 15-play drive that was aided by four Opelousas penalties.
Quarterback Savion Broussard ran it in from 5 yards out.
Roberts was the leading rusher for Opelousas with 124 yards on 21 carries.