ZACHARY - Ex-LSU player and Zachary city court judge Lonny Myles was an honorary captain at the LSU-Florida game last Saturday before returning to his spot behind the microphone as Zachary High’s PA announcer on Friday night.
The game he called, Zachary against Scotlandville, was more exciting than that LSU game as Scotlandville ran up nearly 600 yards in total offense and fought off a late Zachary rally with a key interception to pick up a key 4-5A win 41-36.
“I’m excited,” Scotlandville coach Ken Hilton said. “To get a big district win is huge for us. We never really got it going last week (in a loss to Denham Springs), so tonight was big.
Hilton was especially happy with his team’s offensive turnaround.
“Last week it seemed like our offense couldn’t get on the field, but tonight we made some plays,” he said.
“We were able to make some adjustments at halftime against some of the things they were doing, and we’re just happy to get the win.”
Sophomore running back Dontraill Hilliard, junior wide receiver Cevon Cage and senior quarterback Kimani Smith put up some gaudy numbers to key the potent Hornets offense. Hilliard picked up 207 yards on 27 carries, Smith threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns in a 16-of-25 performance, and Cage had nine catches for 223 yards and four touchdowns.
“We try to keep a balance with running and passing,” Smith said. “(Cage) and I work together all the time, sometimes even on weekends. If I get it to the right spot, he’ll go get it.”
Smith’s only stumble came on four straight incompletions down the stretch as Scotlandville (6-1, 1-1 in District 4-5A) was trying to hold onto the lead.
“I’ll admit I was a little nervous toward the end,” he said.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle. The teams swapped touchdowns and appeared headed for a 22-22 stalemate at halftime before the Hornets took advantage of a Larry Clark punt return in the last minute of the half to take over on the Zachary 24. Cage caught a 9-yard TD pass with 11 seconds left in the half, and the Hornets had some momentum on their side.
Ladarrius Vessell had two first-half touchdowns for Zachary (5-2, 1-1), scoring on a 21-yard run, a 1-yard run and a 9-yard pass from Mason Pace.
The Hornets grabbed control of the third quarter by shutting down the Zachary offense and scoring on two more Smith-to- Cage touchdown passes, one for 15 yards and the other for 52 yards.
The Hornets had a chance to go up by three touchdowns when Hilliard broke a 73-yard run to the 2-yard line, but they fumbled on the next play to stifle their drive.
“I would have liked to have got the touchdown, but it’s OK when we win,” Hilliard said.
Despite the offense onslaught that found them down 41-22 at the end of the third quarter, the Broncos patiently fought back in the fourth quarter to narrow the margin to 41-36.
Boston Scott scored on a 2-yard run, and Vessell ran for 13 yards with a screen pass to pull the Broncos within five.
Zachary stopped the Hornets to get the ball back with 3:29 left in the game. From its 17, Zachary went for the long ball, but safety Dondre Dobbins make a leaping interception of Pace’s pass.
Scotlandville made a couple of first downs, and when Smith ran 6 yards on a keeper play on fourth-and-four, the Hornets ran out the clock.
“I thought our guys were in pretty good position, but they just didn’t make plays,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “Their guys did make the big plays.
“We’ve been playing with fire all year long, and we had to come back in the fourth quarter in three of our games. You just can’t do that against good teams like Scotlandville who are well-coached and have good schemes.
“Our kids never quit, but you can’t put yourself in that kind of hole.”
Pace completed 17 of 35 passes for 247 yards and one interception. Scott was Zachary’s leading rusher with 54 yards.