PRIDE — In the muck that was the field at Viking Stadium on Friday, neither Northeast nor East Feliciana were able to do everything they would have liked on offense.
But it was East Feliciana that found something that worked well on a field torn up by a couple of weeks of steady rain.
An adjustment on the outside stretch play allowed the Tigers’ run game, which was stymied early, to pile up 242 yards as EFHS pulled away for a 20-12 win in a District 6-2A rivalry game.
Ge’Montae Franklin broke open a tie game with a 33-yard touchdown run on the stretch play in the third quarter and Christopher Chaney added the clinching score on a similar play, from 8 yards out later in the fourth quarter, as EFHS (6-4, 4-3) exacted a little revenge on Northeast (6-4, 4-3) for the Vikings’ two-game sweep of the Tigers last year.
That included a Northeast 14-12 win in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
“Talking to coach (Northeast coach David) Masterson, there’s a good chance it could happen again this year,” Tigers coach Cedric Anderson said.
Hopefully, the field will be in better shape if there’s a next time. This time, standing water in various parts of the middle of the field and loose, muddy turf everywhere made for ugly conditions.
“The field wasn’t ideal, but the good thing is it stopped raining during the game and both teams had to play on it,” Anderson said. “And the kids seemed to have fun slipping and sliding out there.”
And so did the close communities. Despite the bad weather, the “Country Classic,” drew a full house, with fans from both teams mingling on both sides of the field, mostly the result of families with split allegiances sitting together.
“It was great to see the fans come out and support this on a night like this,” Anderson said.
If the fans shrugged off the bad weather, Masterson gives Anderson credit for adjusting to the conditions best.
“They changed the way they ran that stretch play,” he said. “They started motioning over and cutting down the safety, which allowed them to get outside. Give coach Anderson credit for that adjustment. It was a good adjustment.”
It was one that threatened to allow EFHS to pull away. But true to a rivalry affair, the Vikings made the Tigers sweat until the end.
After Chaney’s touchdown gave EFHS a 20-6 lead with just under two minutes left, Northeast looked dead in the water, especially two plays later when Vikings quarterback Marqueon Kelly was knocked out of the game with a leg injury.
But wide receiver Quinshaw Kelly replaced Kelly and ran twice for 24 yards before hitting Ramon Parker for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left.
That meant EFHS could not breathe easy until it recovered the ensuing onside kick.
The two teams went to the halftime tied 6-6 after trading touchdowns, EFHS on a 12-yard pass from Carven Young to Kamaron Irvin and Northeast on Tyriq Kelly’s 30-yard touchdown run.