DONALDSONVILLE — Curtlan Williams wasn’t listed on the Southern Lab roster given to the media before the game. It’s a safe bet that Ascension Catholic won’t forget the versatile senior any time soon.
Williams returned three punts for touchdowns and also had an interception while leading second-ranked Southern Lab to a 46-7 victory over ACHS in a District 6-1A opener Thursday night at Floyd Boutte Memorial Stadium.
“I just try to take the God-given talent I have and use it,” Williams said. “I never thought about returning three punts for touchdowns.
“That just doesn’t happen often. But I’m glad I did it to help the team. It got us going.”
Williams had punt returns of 57 and 64 yards to help the Kittens (3-1, 1-0) race out to a 26-0 halftime lead. He added a scintillating 89-yard run in the third quarter to help power another 20-point surge that put the District 6-1A opener out of reach.
“I’m proud of the way we fought,” ACHS first-year coach Drey Trosclair said. “We scored there in the fourth quarter, which shows we never gave up.
“(Williams) is an exceptional player. At the same time, you just can’t give up big plays like that. I feel like we gave them 28 points tonight and we can’t do that against quality teams.”
Darbbeon Profit Jr. ran for 69 yards and two TDs, including a 49-yard TD run that opened the second half scoring. Bladrick Veal completed 10 of 21 passes for 177 yards with a 38-yard TD pass to Louis Joseph “Trey” James III in the second half. Veal also had a rushing TD.
Kaleb Winchester ran for a game-high 74 yards on 12 carries for the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-1), who have lost three straight, including two to ranked teams. Winchester scored ACHS’ lone TD on a 17-yard run in the final quarter.
“There were some things we didn’t execute on offense as well as we’d like,” Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall said. “Our plan is to use (Williams) for big plays on offense. Tonight he made them on special teams and defense and that helped, especially in the first half when we didn’t run the ball well.”
Williams was the star of the first half, thanks to two punt returns for TDs.
The Kittens drove to the ACHS 8 on their first possession. Veal completed a 41-yard pass to Tevis Abraham.
But the drive sputtered in the red zone and SLHS turned the ball over on downs. However, Ascension Catholic fumbled on the next play and Tre’veon Epps recovered at the ACHS 4.
Three plays later, Veal scored on a keeper and Xavier Bell booted the PAT to make it 7-0. The Kittens quickly forced a three-and-out.
Williams gathered in Nick Bellina’s punt at the SLHS 43 and raced to the end zone. Bell made the PAT to make it 14-0, capping the first special teams big play.
Once wasn’t enough. Williams returned Bellina’s next punt 64 yards to make it 20-0 in the first quarter. The senior zig-zagged across the field and directed blockers along the way.
Williams also picked off a DC Mattingly pass for the Kittens in the first half. Southern Lab cobbled together an 11-play drive late in the half. Darbbeon Profit Jr. scored on a 6-yard to make it 26-0.
SLHS got the ball to open the second half. Profit raced around left end to score on a 49-yard run on the Kittens’ first scrimmage play. Williams’ 89-yard return for a TD followed and then came Veal’s completion to James.
“We’ll look at the film and correct things,” Randall said. “You take the win any way you can get it and move on.”