Haynes Academy leaned on a heavy dose of their running game in a dominant 28-7 victory over Houma Christian in a nondistrict matchup at Joe Yenni Stadium on Thursday night.
Haynes running backs Malik Bailey (118 yards) and Ronald Clay (133) each scored touchdowns and wide receiver Connor Wolfe added a TD catch and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
“I think we held on to the ball and kept the time of possession in our favor,” Haynes coach Kenny Kendrick said. “Our (offensive) line and our defensive line showed up big tonight.”
After the Warriors (3-3) lost a fumble on their opening drive of the second half, Haynes (4-2) went on an 18-play, 72-yard drive that ended with Bailey getting stuffed on a fourth down inside the Houma Christian 5-yard-line.
The Yellow Jackets may have walked away empty-handed at the end of the drive, but they held the ball for almost the entire third quarter and forced the visitors from Houma to start their next drive inside their own 5.
“I challenged the defense to get a stop when they came out in the second half and they did,” Kendrick said. “I told the offensive line, ‘Let’s go win the second half,’ and Houma Christian made a great stop on us at the 2-yard line.
“I’m extremely proud of my team ... they wanted to change the culture here at Haynes Academy and this is a great first step to doing that.”
Haynes provided opportunities for Houma Christian to keep things close in the first half, fumbling three times on handoffs — losing two of those fumbles. But the Warriors followed both of those turnovers with turnovers of their own — one on a fumble and one on an interception. Haynes converted their two takeaways into 10 of its 22 first-half points.
“(Cornerback) Derrick Jenkins did a great job tonight ... he worked hard at practice and it showed tonight,” Kendrick said. “And our defensive line did a great job of containing the quarterback.
“I credit the ends and the secondary for a big defensive victory.”
After both teams exchanged fumbles, the Yellow Jacket offense began to settle in. They marched nine plays for 56 yards before Bailey dove in from a yard out for a touchdown. After failing on the two-pint conversion attempt, Haynes led 12-7.
After the ensuing Houma Christian drive ended on a turnover on downs, the Yellow Jackets only needed three plays before a Magaw fake handoff fooled the Warriors defense and left Wolfe running wide open for a 49-yard touchdown catch, giving Haynes a 19-7 lead.
“(Wolfe’s) an all-around player for us. Anything we ask him to do, he does,” Kendrick said. “He really gave us a spark with those two big plays he made tonight.”
Wolfe returned the opening kickoff 78 yards to score the first points of the game. After missing the extra point attempt, Haynes led 6-0.
The Warriors responded with a four-play play, 83-yard drive that was capped by a misdirection play that started with quarterback Drake Battaglia rolling right, then reversing field and finding, his brother, Devin Battaglia wide open up the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown to give Houma Christian a 7-6 lead.
Drake Battaglia finished 11-of-20 for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception and also added 11 carries for 61 yards. Devin Battaglia had five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.