University High came out with just the right recipe to rebound from a Week 1 loss.
The third-ranked Cubs of Class 3A took a hefty amount a defense and sprinkled in some big plays, including three long touchdown passes by D.J. White, who also had a TD run.
There was no more bitter taste of defeat. Just a 35-16 victory over top-ranked Southern Lab of 1A in a nondistrict game Friday night at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
“It took us a little while offensively to get into a rhythm,” UHS coach Chad Mahaffey said. “We were close on some plays early. Then we finally relaxed and made some plays.
“But I thought the defense was solid all night long. We got them in some long downs and distances. Some of that was self-inflicted by them. We pursued to the ball and did a lot of good things.”
The best thing was notching the win a week after a 24-7 loss to Class 5A No. 2 Archbishop Rummel. White completed 8 of 16 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns for the Cubs (1-1).
Second-half TD passes of 74 yards and 39 yards to Jackson, a South Carolina commitment, were crucial. Jackson had three catches for a 110 yards. Mike Hollins caught a 35-yard TD pass in the first half and ran for 69 yards on 18 carries.
Southern Lab (1-1) found itself on the flip side of the coin after a 35-0 win over 3A Bogalusa in Week 1.
Darbbeon Profit Jr. ran for a game-high 86 yards, most of which came in the second half for the Kittens. Profit had a first-half TD called back by a penalty and lost yardage on a couple of early fumbles. Bladrick Veal completed 11 of 20 passes for 133 yards for SLHS.
“I think they came in with a chip on their shoulder,” Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall said. “They played with a lot of heart. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball early in the game.
“I said coming in that it would come down to who was the most disciplined and in shape. It looked like they had us on both counts.”
U-High spent most of its offensive possessions on the Southern Lab side of the field in the first half. The Cubs scored on their second possession after a 17-yard punt gave them the ball at the SLHS 37. White tossed a 35-yard TD pass to running back Hollins.
UHS started three straight possessions on the Southern Lab side of the field and capitalized once. While the Southern Lab defense did a good job of limiting the Cubs early, its offense had issues.
SLHS had two first downs and minus-11 rushing yards in the first half. What looked like a 90-yard TD run by Profit was nullified by a holding penalty.
The Kittens faced a third-and-46 on one possession after a snap got behind Veal, who fell on the end for a 22-yard loss.
University got its second TD on a 23-yard run by Titus Nelson, and the Cubs led 14-0 with 7:11 to go in the half. UHS had a chance to tack on more points. An 11-play drive ended with Gale missing a 21-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining.
Southern Lab came out and rolled up a few first downs, before turning the ball over on downs just past midfield to open the second half.
“We limited their big-time plays,” U-High defensive lineman Vondero Weir said. “They’ve got some play-makers, and we held them in check. That’s what you have to do against a team like them.”
Jackson’s first TD catch — the 39-yarder — made it 21-0 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.
“We just have to get our timing down, me and D.J.,” Jackson said. “We haven’t had that much time together. You can see it coming.”
A 24-yard scoring run by White gave the Cubs a 28-0 lead with 11:03 left in the game.
Southern Lab got on the board a little over three minutes later. A 34-yard pass from Veal to Tevis Abraham set up a Veal’s 1-yard TD run. Curlan Williams’ two-point conversion run made it 28-8.
It didn’t take long for U-High to add the final spice to its winning mix as White hit Jackson in stride to complete the 74-yard TD with 6:02 left to make it 35-8.