South Plaquemines had the district championship T-shirts already prepared.
It didn’t take long to see why.
South Plaquemines scored on its first play from scrimmage and never looked back, cruising to a 34-8 victory over visiting Haynes Academy to claim the District 8-2A title.
Simply put, the Hurricanes (6-4, 4-0), ranked No. 10 in The New Orleans Advocate Small School Super 10, were too much for the No. 9 Yellow Jackets (7-3, 3-1).
“It feels amazing,” South Plaquemines defensive lineman Jonathan Wilson said. “To win the district championship on senior night, there’s nothing better. We play fast and come off the ball fast and just play hard.”
Wilson, who has committed to Tulane, was one of eight seniors recognized before the game.
Shortly afterwards, South Plaqumines got rolling, scoring on its first three possessions.
Quarterback Wade Barthelemy jumpstarted things with a 79-yard run on the Hurricanes’ first play.
Micah Ancar scored on the next possession with a 69-yard run.
Then the Hurricanes went to the air. Barthelemy connected with Eli Bourgeois, who outran the Haynes defense.
Kendrick Smith closed out the first half scoring on a 3-yard run that capped off an 80-yard drive. The big play on the drive was Barthelemy’s 63-yard pass to Drew Sanger.
By then, it was pretty clear that South Plaquemines was “dialed in,” just like the back of their championship T-shirts said.
“It’s one of those things that means to just stay focused and minimize those mental mistakes,” first-year South Plaquemines coach Stephen Weins said. “That’s been our mantra all year. We are usually a pretty good team when we are dialed in and not beating ourselves.”
Barthelemy finished with 100 yards rushing on eight carries to lead the South Plaquemines offense, which also had two long touchdowns called back by penalties.
The Hurricanes defense, led by Wilson, held the Jackets to just 20 yards in the first half. Haynes’ only first downs in the half came on a pair of penalties. South Plaquemines outgained the Jackets 333-20 in the first half.
“That defense is a heck of a group,” Weins said. “We put them in position, but they are the ones making the plays.”
Haynes was seeking to win a district title in its first season of league play after playing the previous six seasons as an independent.
Junior defensive lineman Brennan Higginbotham helped Haynes avoid the shutout when he sacked Barthelemy for a safety late in the third quarter. T.J. Duckworth then scored on a 15-yard run with two minutes left to close the scoring.
“They were good,” Haynes coach Paul Longo said. “They were physical, and we knew they would be. We learn something every day. You have to learn something from the good and something from the bad. You could see at the end of the game that we’re going to fight.”
Both teams will be headed to the playoffs. The pairings will be announced Sunday.
But Friday, South Plaquemines was enjoying its first district title since 2009.
“It’s awesome,” Weins said. “This is one of the goals we set at the beginning of the season. We got everything together and we were able to accomplish it.”