A District 6-3A rivalry consisted of domination from beginning to end by the Kaplan Pirates in a 41-14 rout over the North Vermilion Patriots.
“We had a little chip on our shoulders from the last two years, and we took this game personally,” Kaplan coach Stephen Lotief said. “I rode the guys hard this week, and they responded.”
Kaplan scored first with just under 2 minutes left in the first quarter on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jade Herpin to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead.
After a three-and-out by North Vermilion, Kaplan took over with about 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter and methodically drove the ball down the field on a 16-play drive capped off by another 1-yard run by Herpin. The drive took 7 minutes off the clock.
Kaplan jumped out to a three-score lead with 58.9 seconds remaining in the half on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Herpin to Grant Frick on a screen pass.
North Vermilion got on the board on the ensuing kickoff. A squib kick by Jaise Meche was fielded by Flavors Caldwell and returned 65 yards for a touchdown to narrow the Kaplan lead to 21-7 heading into halftime.
The momentum of the Caldwell touchdown did not carry over into the second half for the Patriots. At their 15-yard line, the ball was snapped over quarterback Ty Desormeaux’s head, and recovered by Kaplan defensive end Jalen Bates at the 1-yard line.
The Pirates scored on the next play on a run by Julius Johnson to extend the lead to 28-7.
A fumble by North Vermilion’s Dylan Dent gave Kaplan the ball at the Patriot 40-yard line. On a fourth-and-inches play, Johnson broke threw and scored from 29 yards out.
North Vermilion scored at the beginning of the final quarter on a 25-yard screen pass from Desormeaux to Caleb Castro, who filled in at running back for the injured Taylor Abshire and Jordan Windham.
The Pirates added insult to injury with a 5-yard touchdown run by Johnson with under 3 minutes left to play.
“We came out focused, and we took the ball and shoved it down their throats,” Lotief said. “We didn’t have any blown assignments offensively or defensively. We are getting better.”
Kaplan rushed for over 200 yards and dominated the time of possession.
North Vermilion drops to 1-5 in the Richard Prejean era, but he says his team could take something from this experience.
“We had toughness,” he said. “I didn’t see quit in our guys tonight. We kind of fought our way out of things in the second half, but it was just a little too late.”
Both teams take the field next week on the road. North Vermilion travels to play Abbeville, and Kaplan travels to face West St. Mary.