Broncos open playoffs with victory over district rival Live Oak

The Zachary Broncos struggled during the regular season to pull out a 21-16 win over Live Oak in the district opener. From that early October matchup to the first round of the 5A state playoffs, the two teams took divergent routes. The Broncos would go undefeated in District 4/5A and secure a 5 seed. Live Oak would lose three of their next four district games and come into the playoffs as a 28 seed.

Typical of all Brett Beard teams, the 2019 Live Oak Eagles served as a dangerous first-round opponent for the Broncos that played solid defense behind LSU commit Jalen Lee and a strong running game led by Army commitment Kee Hawkins.

The first half would see the Broncos display a total defensive domination as the Eagles were only able to gain 41 yards of total offense and two first downs while the Broncos offense scored 17 points. On the defenses’ dominance, coach David Brewerton Live Oak ran "a lot of stuff they hadn’t shown on film — not one time. Our guys adjusted on the fly, and our defense was the catalyst for this win tonight.”

The Eagles would finish with 212 yards of total offense on the night.

The Broncos defense also got in on the scoring with Dejarion “Pop-Tart” Jones returning a Live Oak fumble 25 yards for a touchdown. Jones would also return an interception 50 yards before being tackled just short of the goal line.

Offensively, the Broncos were able to run the ball much better than during their October matchup gaining 84 yards on 34 carries while the also garnering 212 yards in the passing game with Keilon Brown finishing 11 of 18 with touchdown passes to Jayden Williams and Chris Hilton. R.J. Allen picked up touchdowns on the ground with runs of 7 yards and 1 yard. Logan Fletcher provided field goals of 25 and 37 yards.

Brewerton said it’s hard to beat a team twice in one season. "I am proud of how the team prepared last week and played tonight.”

The Broncos will be home at 7 p.m. Friday to take on the Hahnville Tigers. The Tigers are no strangers to the Broncos, as this will be the third straight time these teams have faced each other in the playoffs. The 2017 matchup was for the 5A state championship where the Broncos shut down now-Kansas Jayhawk running back Pooka Williams in a 34-14 route. “There were 32 teams three hours ago and now there are 16. Next week we get to see one of them in the Hahnville Tigers” Coach Brewerton told the team.

Last year the teams met in the second round at Hahnville where Zachary torched the Tigers 40-21 on their way to a second straight 5A championship. The 2019 incarnation of Zachary-Hahnville playoff football features an intriguing matchup as both coaching staffs are familiar with each other and the personnel each brings to the battle.

Kickoff at the Corral

On Nov. 16, the Zachary wrestling team hosted “Kickoff at the Corral” where ninth grade and junior varsity wrestler from nine schools and over 150 wrestlers competed in the ZHS gym. Over 25 Bronco wrestlers competed in the tournament.

Top finishers for the Broncos ninth graders were Ethan White (first place at 106), Caden Detre (second place at 132), Jonathon Tierce (second place at 170) and Ryan Dennis (second place at 285).

Top JV finishers for the Broncos were Kyler Pierre (first place at 120), Logan Curry (second place at 132), Kevin Chapaneri (third place at 132), Sheriff Hartley (third place at 138), Voltaire Sanders (first place at 145), Riley Messer (second place at 145), Aiden Mickelson (third place at 160), Parker Robertson (second place at 220), Caleb Daigle (first place at 285) and Zachariah Chambers (second place at 285).

The Broncos wrestlers will be splitting into two teams and competing at the 2019 Bulldawg Brawl and Griffin Open tournaments on Nov. 23. They will host the Zachary Big Horse tournament on Dec. 14 and host a home duel with Live Oak on Jan. 8.

Warren Brady covers sports for The Plainsman. He can be contacted at zachary@theadvocate.com.