Running back Nelson Smith said he considers Parkview Baptist to be more of a second-half team.
The Eagles proved Smith right while running away with a 34-7 victory over Lusher Charter to open the Division II football playoffs in a game played Friday night at PBS.
In addition to outscoring the 10th-seeded Lions 21-0 in the second half, the seventh-seeded Eagles (7-3) held New Orleans-based Lusher to 74 yards and three first downs.
Smith helped lead a Parkview squad that rolled up 297 rushing yards. The junior had 80 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns.
“We just prepared and we played hard like we always do,” Smith said. “We played hard the whole game, but in the second half I think we picked it up even more.”
Quarterback Reggie Hayes Jr. added 71 yards on 16 carries for the Eagles (7-3), who advance to play No. 2 St. Michael the Archangel (9-1) in next week’s quarterfinal round. Joshua Barney ran for a game-high 98 yards for Lusher (4-7), but was limited to 20 yards on five carries in the second half.
“We played a solid first half and we had some confidence going into the second half,” Lusher coach Louis Landrum said. “Things just didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. They made some adjustments, but it came down to us not executing and moving the ball.
“Parkview has that (running) offense and they stick to it. And they had success with it.”
Lusher took the opening kickoff and drove 59 yards for a TD. Barney accounted for 36 yards during the 11-play drive that ended with Louis Landrum’s 8-yard TD pass to tight end Brian Arceneaux-Sackett with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
Parkview answered, scoring in 3:27 on a 64-yard drive. A 20-yard run by Hayes helped set up a 2-yard TD run by Aaron Leonard that tied it at 7-7 with 2:17 left in the opening period.
Lusher drove into PBS territory once more and also made its way to the Eagle 14 after a short punt. A 31-yard field goal try by Liam Flanagan was blocked by PBS’ Michael Tarwater.
A 21-yard run by Hayes and an unsportsmanlike penalty against Lusher set up a 19-yard TD run by Smith that made it 13-7 with 58.3 remaining in the half.
Parkview launched its second-half offensive on its second drive of the third quarter. The Eagle defense pinned Lusher deep in its our territory. PBS took over at the LC 45 and scored six plays later on a 13-yard run by Kayin White, who also ran for a two-point conversion that made it 21-7.
A 17-yard punt gave Parkview another short field that led to a 3-yard TD run by Houston Robert. The Eagles tacked on another TD in the final quarter. Smith broke loose on a 40-yard run, but fumbled.
A teammate recovered the bouncing ball at the LC 2. Nelson scored on the next play.
“They came out running the football and it took us a while to get adjusted,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “We only had 16 offensive plays in the first half. Defensively, once we settled in, we felt pretty good about what we were doing. We settled in and were doing our thing.”