Zachary quarterback Keilon Brown is a high football closer. When the sixth-seeded Broncos need a big play on offense, the junior usually has a hand or both legs involved.
It was no surprise to see Brown play a key role with 259 total yards and three rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 26-14 quarterfinal road victory over third-seeded Acadiana. Like the other ZHS players, Brown was pleased to get the win. One thing in particular set this victory apart, said the quarterback of the defending Class 5A champions.
“Tonight, we went through a little adversity … we fumbled the ball and had some turnovers,” Brown said. “We fell behind early and some things did not go our way. We could not let that get to us. We found a way to get things done.”
The task this week figures to be tougher as Zachary (11-2) travels to play second-seeded Destrehan (12-1) in a semifinal Friday night. ZHS is the only local nonselect team to advance to the semifinals. Coach David Brewerton’s team has already accomplished the rare feat of advancing to the semifinals in 5A for the fifth straight season.
For the second straight year, Louisiana’s top running back prospect is among the obstacles for Zachary. Last year it was Anthony “Pooka” Williams and Hahnville in the title game. This time around it is LSU commitment John Emery, who ran for 217 yards and four second-half TDs for Destrehan in its 31-14 quarterfinal win over Terrebonne. Destrehan’s last appearance in a title game was 2014. Zachary has won two of the past three 5A titles.
The game also is the third straight road playoff game for the Broncos, who beat Sulphur at home in the first round and went on the road to beat Hahnville and Acadiana.
“Once our defense settled in, I thought we played fast and very well. We did not play particularly well on offense. Anytime you make deep playoff runs like this you have to be able to win games like this … the ones where you don’t play your best," Brewerton said. "You have to figure out a way to win, and we did that tonight in what is a very tough place to play.”
Zachary is certainly the local team to watch this week, but Class 5A East Ascension almost advanced. Fourth-seeded John Ehret rallied past East Ascension in the final minute and will play top-seeded West Monroe, which has outscored its opponents 130-0 in the playoffs.
There is an Acadiana flair in 3A with Iota, Kaplan and Eunice all in the semifinals. Second-seeded Amite in 2A and No. 3 Kentwood in 1A also advanced. Kentwood travels to another 1A power, Haynesville for its semifinal game.