ST. FRANCISVILLE — The fifth-seeded West Feliciana Saints relied on a potent offense and a defense that managed to make clutch plays as they rolled to a 48-21 Class 3A quarterfinal victory Friday over fourth-seeded Union Parish.
The Saints improved to 11-2 and will travel next week to meet No. 1 seed Livonia, which stayed unbeaten at 12-0 on the year with a 26-22 come-from-behind victory over No. 9 Rayville.
West Feliciana quarterback Ryan Reed accounted for three first-half touchdowns, running for two scores and passing for another. The senior later scored on a short run in the second half and made a key interception to snuff out a potential rally by the visitors.
“We knew they were going to run it coming in, but we weren’t able to stop them. They whipped our butt,” said Union Parish coach Joe Spatafora, whose team ended the season 11-2. “It was a matter of execution. West Feliciana executed, and I think we didn’t. Them jokers are good.”
The Saints fell behind 7-0 early, when the Farmers marched 69 yards in 16 plays, scoring on a 7-yard run by Desmond Turner.
The first play after the kickoff, Reed took the snap and ran 78 yards for the tying touchdown with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter.
After stopping Union Parish on a fourth-and-2, the Saints took just four plays to score when Reed hit Jazz Ferguson, who out-jumped two defenders and coasted into the end zone for a 14-7 lead. Turner scored again, 22 yards up the middle for a TD, but the kick missed, and West Feliciana led 14-13.
Taking advantage of a short field after a failed onside kick by the Farmers, West Feliciana moved 50 yards in seven plays with Reed keeping from a yard out for a 21-13 advantage that held up to halftime.
Receiving the second-half kickoff, the Saints drove 74 yards in seven plays with Reed scoring his third rushing touchdown and the PAT gave them a 28-13 edge. On the next series for Union Parish, Reed intercepted a pass by Spatafora, halting a deep drive by the Farmers into the West Feliciana red zone.
The Saints then marched 75 yards in six plays with Desmond Wilson scoring on a 7-yard run. The PAT gave the home team a 35-13 lead with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
Spatafora hit tight end Bobby Holly on a 59-yard scoring play and the two-point conversion narrowed the Saints’ advantage to 35-21. However, R.C. Carmenia added scoring runs of 9 yards and 34 yards in the fourth quarter as the Saints put the game away.
“We live to play another week, and that’s what matters in the playoffs,” West Feliciana coach Robb Odom said.
“These kids have done a great job and have set themselves up to be successful. It’s a shame that you don’t get to enjoy something like this because you’ve got to move onto another team that’s the No. 1 seed and a damn good ballclub.”