The Higgins Hurricanes have been trying to avoid the poor starts that have hurt them in games this season.
Against East Jefferson on Thursday night at Memtsas Stadium, they not only did that but had a strong finish, also.
Quarterback Daniel White led Higgins on a 97-yard drive in the final minutes, capping it with a 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Travis Broussard with 54 seconds left, as the Hurricanes won 28-21.
“We felt like we could get some mismatches on the back end with our receivers, and the game plan came together tonight,” said Higgins coach Craig Laborde after his team won its homecoming game.
White, known more for his running, was 16-of-26 for 284 yards and three touchdowns, as the Hurricanes (2-4, 2-1) took advantage of the size advantage of receivers Broussard, Joemone Bratton and Levar Gumms. White often threw high and let his receivers simply outjump the Warriors defensive backs for receptions.
“You can’t play 5 yards off of big receivers like Higgins’,” East Jefferson defensive coordinator George Ryan said. “They executed, and we didn’t.”
The winning touchdown drive came after Higgins’ defense stopped East Jefferson running back Roman Edwards on fourth-and-goal at the 3.
“We told our team ‘Watch the ball,’ ” said defensive lineman Rayshard Nichols. “We shifted to our left because they were running a power play.”
After that, White completed a 53-yard pass to Jordan Joseph at East Jeff’s 44.
For East Jefferson (1-5, 0-3), the loss was its fifth in a row. After the game, Coach Marc Martin spoke with his team in the locker room without his assistant coaches.
The Warriors had taken a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter on a 37-yard touchdown run by Delren Davis. A short kickoff gave Higgins the ball at its 44, however, and 10 plays later, Joseph ran 5 yards for the tying touchdown.
The teams were tied at 14 at halftime, with White completing 9-of-19 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
The Warriors led 14-6 after Malcolm Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown run with 9:16 left in the second quarter. However, a miss-hit kickoff gave the Hurricanes the ball at their 43.
From there, White led a 16-play drive that overcame 35 yards in penalties, two sacks and a bad snap for an 11-yard loss. Key plays were White’s 29-yard scramble to the five on second-and-32 from the 34 and a roughing the passer penalty against East Jefferson on fourth-and-12. That came one down after the bad snap and two plays after the scramble.
Four plays later, White threw his second scoring pass — 5 yards to Joemone Bratton — with 2:57 left in the first half. White ran for the two-point conversion, tying the score.