As McDonogh 35 coach Wayne Reese will tell you, don’t let the record fool you.
His Roneagles won just their second game of the season Thursday night.
But boy was this 33-7 victory over Belle Chasse a big one, probably vaulting McDonogh 35 into the Class 4A playoffs.
“We are starting to play a little more consistent now and I feel like we are one of the better teams in the state,” said Reese.
“We have the second toughest schedule in the state behind Salmen.”
McDonogh 35 came into the game as the No. 34 seed according to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s unofficial power rankings, just outside the 32-team field for the playoffs that will be announced on Sunday.
Thursday’s win over No. 23 Belle Chasse looks to have helped the Roneagles’ chances.
It was a dominant effort by the defense that helped the Roneagles snap a 4-game losing skid and win for the first time since beating Bonnabel 26-12.
McDonogh 35 held Belle Chasse to just 130 yards.
“That was as sound a game as we have played on defense this year,” said Reese. “We had a complete game tonight against the pass and the run. But I was just as happy with the offense.”
On offense, it was Darius May. The junior rushed for 194 yards on 21 carries.
The Roneagles (2-7 overall, 1-3 in District 9-4A) wasted little time getting started on Senior Night.
They scored on their first possession, marching 74 yards in eight plays. Sidney Wilson capped off the drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Darius Williams.
It was the first of two touchdown passes for the duo. Wilson connected with Williams on a 22-yard scoring play with 3:58 left in the first half to give the Roneagles a 14-0 lead.
But the Cardinals got back in it late in the second quarter when Kazmi Antoine picked off a Wilson passed and returned it for a 61-yard touchdown with 56 seconds left in the half.
McDonogh 35 had a chance to expand the lead in the half, thanks to a 56-yard run by May. The Roneagles got to the 10-yard line, but came away empty.
But it was still enough for a lead after a first half they dominated.
They held the Cardinals to just 29 yards in the first half (15 rushing, 14 passing).
May finished the first half with 139 yards on 14 carries.
McDonogh 35 broke the game open in the third quarter.
First, Omar Spears plunged in from 1-yard out. Then on the next possession, after forcing a turnover on downs, Wilson threw his third touchdown of the game, this time a 12-yard strike to Eric Randolph for a comfortable 27-7 lead. Then Josh Jones scored on a 5-yard run to push it to 33-7
“I just think the kids are starting to believe,” Reese said. “When we don’t make mental mistakes, we are ok. We have scared a whole lot of people and didn’t get the win, so we feel like we are as good as anybody.”
McDonogh 35 held Belle Chasse’s Andrew Hicks in check. Hicks came into the game as the second leading rusher in the Greater New Orleans area with 1,377 yards and 19 touchdowns. But he was held to (-3 yards) on just two carries for the Cardinals (4-6, 0-4) who lost their fifth straight game.
Hicks also caught four passes for 39 yards, lining up mostly at receiver after playing quarterback most of the season.
“They just dominated us offensively and defensively,” said Belle Chasse coach Stephen Myers. “They came out ready to play and we definitely were not ready to play.”
Clifford Chattman had an interception and Sci Martin and Cleveland Ford recovered fumbles for the Roneagles.
“We did some things tonight that we wanted do,” Reese said. “That’s the sign of a sound football team getting better.”