The first half couldn’t have gone any better for the Mandeville Skippers on Friday night, and they rode that quick start back into the state semifinals for the first time since 2012.
Scoring on their first three possessions of the first half, the 12th-seeded Skippers defeated 13th-seeded Landry-Walker 31-14 in the Class 5A state quarterfinals at Sidney Theriot Stadium.
With the win, Mandeville (10-3) advances to face No. 9 John Ehret on the road next week with a trip to the 5A title game on the line.
“You want to score every time you get the ball, and in the first half we were able to do that,” Skippers coach Guy LeCompte said. “We wanted to keep a powerful Landry-Walker offense off the field and at the same time be efficient when we had the ball.
“We had an outstanding defensive game plan put together by our coaching staff, and the kids were able to go out there and execute it. We played good defense and were able to run the football. When you do that, you can compete in any football game no matter who you play.”
Controlling the ball for nearly the entire first half, Mandeville scored on its first possession when Cody Orgeron found twin brother Parker for the first of two first-half touchdowns. The first one covered 20 yards and gave the Skippers a 7-0 lead.
After Landry-Walker (10-3) was forced to punt, Mandeville took a 10-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas after a 13-play, 70-yard drive.
The Orgeron brothers connected again late in the second quarter on an 8-yard touchdown score which finished off an impressive, nine-play, 82-yard drive.
Parker finished with seven catches for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Cody completed 14-of-17 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
“We had to set the tempo early in the game,” Cody Orgeron said. “We were able to do that early in the first half. We wanted to try and control the ball, and our running game was able to do that for us tonight. Our offensive line owned the line of scrimmage tonight.”
Fritz Walker and Taron Jones combined for 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the night.
Mandeville’s only scoreless possession in the first half was at the end, when Cody Orgeron took a knee.
The Skippers forced the Charging Bucs into four turnovers on the night. Junior defensive back Evan Guillory led the team with three interceptions.
“It all started with us stopping the running game up front,” he said. “That credit goes to the defensive line. We wanted this to turn into a 7-on-7 game. That was the plan. We were able to force them into turnovers at key times. This game to me was one during the week in practice when we had a game plan that really kept those guys (Landry-Walker) in check.”
Landry-Walker got on the scoreboard in the third quarter on Kahlil Williams’ 59-yard punt return for a touchdown. Keytaon Thompson connected with Devonta Johnson for a 10-yard touchdown late in the game to make it 31-14.