Edna Karr may no longer mimic its recent history as a Class 4A juggernaut.
But the Cougars showed Friday night that they still are a power in District 9-4A, the way they rallied late against No. 4 Warren Easton to take a 34-33 victory at Pan American Stadium.
With 1:49 left, Aldon Clark threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Martin and after Karr failed to convert a two-point conversion, its defense finally found a way to stop quarterback Deshawn Capers-Smith and Tyron Johnson with 50 seconds left, shocking Easton, which was seeking its first district title since 2001.
Instead, Karr (6-3, 3-1) earned its share of a three-way district championship with Easton (8-2, 3-1) and Landry-Walker.
On fourth and four at the Easton 48, the Cougars tipped a Clark pass to Johnson, igniting a celebration on Karr’s sideline.
The swag is still on the Westbank.
“We don’t rebuild at Karr. We load,” said Karr defensive lineman Isaiah Washington, an LSU commitment.
“The team’s growing up. We had a young offensive line at the beginning of the season, but they’re growing up. The defense had the game on our backs and we didn’t want to let the offense down.”
Clark’s TD pass occurred minutes after one of his worst plays of this regular-season finale. With 4:29 left, Clark fumbled while being tackled, and Easton defensive lineman returned the fumble 27 yards to give the Eagles a 33-28 point lead.
Despite a huge offensive advantage, the Eagles played far from perfect football on special teams, where they had two botched punts that set up Karr for two first-half scores. Karr trailed 21-14 at halftime after taking over two possesions in the red zone, and capitalizing.
“Pride. Pride — 3332 Huntley Drive,” said Karr coach Nathaniel Jones, referring to the school’s Algiers address. “That’s what our kids believe in. Just doing the little things. Warren Easton is a great team. Our kids played with pride.”
Clark recovered from a slow start — he didn’t complete a pass until late in the second quarter — to throw for 147 yards and rush for 34 yards, keeping plays alive with his feet and finding a way to out-duel Capers-Smith, whose offense has replaced Karr as one of the speediest in Louisiana.
Capers-Smith threw two early scores to give Easton a 14-0 in the first quarter, but failed to take advantage of Karr’s continuous mistakes in the first half, leading to punts instead of scores. That allowed Karr an opportunity to rally, capped by Warren Newman’s 50-yard punt return early in the third quarter, leading to Clark’s 15-yard TD pass to Kenneth Jordan with 10:03 left. The Cougars were penalized for excessive celebration, backing up the extra point to the 35-yard line, but Achille Duronslat converted, giving Karr its first lead.
Capers-Smith passed for 199 yards and rushed for 157 yards.