When two players combine for 482 yards of offense, it’s hard to imagine defense playing a prominent role.
University High coach Chad Mahaffey begged to differ after his top-ranked Cubs ousted No. 6 Parkview Baptist 28-7 on Thursday night at UHS’ Boss Field/Gill Stadium.
“To be honest with you, I was very impressed with our defense,” Mahaffey said. “To hold a team like Parkview with their (option) offense to seven points isn’t easy. We made plays on offense, no question. Hats off to our defense.”
The Class 3A showdown had just about everything, and it was televised as the New Orleans Saints/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Game of the Week.
LSU commitment Nick Brossette ran for 209 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns to move into 10th-place tie on the all-time national list with 125 TDs. Quarterback Manny Miles, son of LSU coach Les Miles, completed 18 of 35 passes for 273 yards and one TD in his first start since Week 1 because of an injured ankle for U-High (6-0, 3-0).
There were flashes of brilliance from Parkview (4-2, 2-1), but the Eagles had trouble sustaining drives. And when they did, U-High found a way to persevere, even with linebacker Dylan Moses sidelined for much of the second half with a minor injury.
Case in point: Jalon Baker and several teammates tackling PBS’ Houston Robert short of the goal line on fourth-and-2 late in the third quarter.
“We knew we couldn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, and we did in the first half,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “We had a fumble and some penalties. We did it defensively, too. On two of their first-half touchdowns, we had guys in the wrong coverage.
“You can’t do that against a quality team and expect to have a chance to win. I’m proud of the effort. There was no quit in these guys. But we’ve got to clean up some things up and get better at what we do.”
Robert led the Eagles with 59 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Reggie Hayes Jr. was 6-for-14, including a 40-yard TD pass to Jaylon Carlin. He finished with 109 passing yards and 58 rushing yards.
“I don’t look at stats,” Miles said. “I try to do what I can to win the game. Even though I haven’t played much (since the injury), I was there throwing and getting mental reps. I felt ready.”
Will Keller, Jake Wharton and Tre’ Jackson caught passes of 21 yards or longer as Miles spread the ball around to his receivers. Brossette did the usual, pushing up the middle or around end for big plays, including TD runs of 45 and 49 yards.
“When you have athletes all over the field, it’s hard to defend,” Miles said. “Nick’s an SEC-caliber running back and, if you load up the box, we’ll throw outside where we have some other D-I guys. There’s always the chance for a big play.”
U-High started a little slow. The Cubs did not get a first down on their first possession and faced second-and-14 on their second, following a 15-yard PBS punt.
The long yardage was no problem: Brossette scored on a 45-yard run to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead with 7:55 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles knew they had needed to play mistake-free to maximize their chances. A fumble on their second possession did more than just stop a promising drive at the U-High 40.
Thomas Moore’s fumble recovery led to UHS’ second TD. Miles completed a series of moderate and long-range passes. Keller caught a crucial 21-yard pass on the drive and also made a diving catch on a 14-yard scoring play with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles drove into UHS territory on their next drive. The drive ended with Hayes heaving two incomplete passes.
That gave Miles the opening he needed to engineer another scoring drive. In addition to hitting Keller and others with sideline passes, Miles connected with Jake Wharton over the middle for a 20-yard gain.
Miles’ 28-yard pass to Jackson set up Brossette’s second TD run — this one from 2 yards, making it 21-0.
There were a few bright spots for the Eagles, including a 17-yard scramble by Hayes and a 13-yard run by Kayim White. But several unforced errors, including three illegal procedure penalties on one drive, helped keep the Eagles from mounting a serious threat.
An 18-yard run by Hayes and the 40-yard TD pass to Carlin gave PBS a boost to start the second half. Four plays later, the momentum shifted again when Brossette scored the 49-yarder.
From there, the defense took over. In addition to the goal-line stand, the Cubs stopped the Eagles at the UHS 21 after Hayes completed a 50-yarder to Carlin. Malik Antoine broke up one pass and, on fourth-and-7, PBS was called for offensive pass interference.