Wayne Griffin’s Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as Mandeville held on for a thrilling 14-7 victory over Slidell on Friday in a bidistrict playoff game at Mandeville.
The Skippers (8-3) will travel to Barbe in the second round.
“Our kids played their hearts out” Mandeville coach Guy LeCompte said. “Like the old saying goes ‘defense wins championships.’ We were banged up, and hopefully we can recover from it.”
After a scoreless first half, the Skippers scored on a 48-yard touchdown run by Codie Nye. Parker Pastorello added the extra point to give Mandeville a 7-0 lead with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
Slidell (6-5) turned the ball over five times.
“Our kids deserved to win this game” Slidell coach Larry Farve said. “This is the best defensive effort we had all year. They waited for us to make a mistake and we did.”
The first half was marred by an injury to Tigers’ starting running back Kyron Smith. His neck was immobilized before he was taken off the field on a stretcher. The game was delayed 19 minutes to attend to the junior back.
Mandeville seemed to put the game away when Koree Hollins returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown. Pastorello’s extra point increased the lead to 14-0 with just 7:06 left in the game.
“First thing I thought about was taking it to the house” said Hollins. “And on that last drive we wanted to play fast and take it to them.”
Griffin threw his third interception of the game, and Malik Reimonenq returned it 33 yards to the Tiger 11-yard line. Three plays later, however, Justin Leiger intercepted Joseph Bulovas and returned it 90 yards to the Skippers’ 3 yard line. Two plays later, Griffin hit Jalin Evans for a touchdown. Evan Barbot added the extra point to close the gap to 14-7 with 4:56 left in the game.
After the fourth Tigers’ interception, the Tigers stopped the Skippers and forced a punt, and Pastorello boomed a 51-yard punt, his 10th of the game — and Slidell was forced to start at its 9-yard line with just 39 seconds to go. After converting a fourth down on a hook-and-ladder pass play, the Tigers had just 8 seconds left and the ball at midfield.
The Tigers held the Skippers to 44 yards rushing and passing a total of 88 yards. Mandeville had four first downs in the game.
Slidell had 182 yards of offense for the game.
Both defenses dominated in the first half. Mandeville was held to 7 yards of total offense and minus-11 yards rushing thanks in large part to Evans, who had four sacks of Bulovas.
Each team had five first-half punts.
The Skippers drove to the Tigers’ 27-yard line on their second possession of the game. Mandeville faced fourth-and-2 but was called for illegal procedure. After a timeout, the Skippers punted and neither team threatened the rest of the half.
The Tigers had two first downs and the Skippers just one in the first half.