Saints win state title in electric 40-21 victory over Richwood

When the West Feliciana football team needed a spark against Richwood, they got it from a guy named “Smoke.”

Where there’s Smoke, there’s fire.

Davon “Smoke” Harris and his Saints teammates ignited the fired-up Superdome crowd Friday with an electric 40-21 victory over Richwood to claim West Feliciana’s first Class 3A state title in the All-State Sugar Bowl /LHSAA football championships.

Harris set a Prep Classic record with 167 kick return yards and scored two touchdowns including an 87-yard return as his Saints marched out of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Friday with their first football championship trophy. Harris was named the Most Outstanding Player for West Feliciana.

“In this game, it is all about the momentum,” Saints coach Robb Odom said after the game. “Harris’ kickoff returns gave that to us. Once you get the momentum and things start rolling, it is hard to stop. When that momentum jumps on your back, you'd better just roll with it because it is hard to stop.”

The victory capped a remarkable 14-1 season for the Saints, whose only loss was to rival University High, which earlier Friday claimed the Division II state crown, giving District 6-3A a sweep of Class 3A/Division II championships.

Senior quarterback Derek Turner rushed for a game-high 140 yards on 13 tries and completed 5 of 8 passes for 76. Harris added 84 yards on 13 attempts.

After Richwood jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 31-yard pass play, Turner scored on a 73-yard run to knot the score. Luke Stelly added a 20-yard field goal, and the Saints managed a 16-7 halftime advantage on a 6-yard scoring pass from Turner to Clayton Howard.

Harris returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a 23-7 advantage, but two touchdowns by the Rams narrowed the advantage to 23-21 midway through the third period.

Harris went to work again, returning the kickoff 67 yards and later adding a 6-yard touchdown run. The Saints padded the cushion when Derius Davis added a 5-yard touchdown run for a 37-21 lead at the end of the period. A 22-yard field goal by Stelly provided the final margin of victory late in the fourth, and the celebration was on.

West Feliciana held the Rams to 298 total yards while amassing 367 yards, including 291 on the ground. Richwood receiver Geo'Quarius Spivey caught five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

“Words can’t describe this feeling,” Odom said. “It’s awesome. I’ve been using that word a lot the last couple of weeks. We have been close before, and we finally got over the hump. I’m just so excited for these young men.

“These kids deserve this. A state championship tastes great. The fan base doesn’t see what this team does in practice, the extra work and just the all-out dedication that they gave this season. They wanted it, and they deserve it. It proves that hard work pays off.”

On Monday Dec. 18, the community is invited to celebrate the championship with the Saints at 1:30 p.m. at Saints Stadium. All students from Bains, Bains Lower, West Feliciana Middle School and West Feliciana High School will be invited to attend. The event will be livestreamed.

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