WHITE CASTLE — East Iberville coach Ron LeJeune knew that Javier Batiste was trouble, even before Friday’s 14-0 loss in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
The No. 6-seeded Tigers (8-3) received a full dose of the White Castle quarterback in Week 7 of the regular season, when Batiste scored two touchdowns for the win in a 22-20 shootout. LeJeune knew that the defensive game plan would have to account for his mobility, but also for his big arm. He also knew that it would be no easy task.
“He’s a great athlete, I don’t know what else to say about it,” LeJeune said. “We were there, we just couldn’t tackle him. We can’t pull his flag a lot of times, much less tackle him.”
The Tigers held Batiste to just three completions on 14 attempts for the game, but the senior signal caller still had his moments, including a 42-yard strike to wide receiver Keith Landry after rolling out to his left to avoid pressure. He also set up the No. 3-seeded Bulldogs' (8-3) only score of the first half when he took a keeper up the middle for 27 yards, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Marcus Williams. Batiste snuck in for a six-yard touchdown run in the second half to give the Bulldogs a two-score lead.
East Iberville was led by Roderique Valentine on the ground, who finished with 94 yards on 13 carries, although Junior Williams and Dedrick Wilson laid claim to 57 and 44 rushing yards, respectively. The two teams amassed 20 penalties for a combined 195 total yards, including a personal foul call late in the fourth quarter after Batiste intercepted a pass from Valentine and took it back for a score.
While Batiste led the team through the air, Williams dominated the ground game. The senior posted 119 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, despite facing a defensive front that allowed less than two touchdowns per game against opponents in the regular season.
“They had a great box tonight and some great D-linemen,” White Castle coach Aaron Myers said. “But we were able to get him pounding it inside and he was able to get us our first downs tonight.”
The quarterfinal loss was uncharted territory for East Iberville, who had never made it out of the second round of the playoffs. That fact wasn’t lost on LeJeune, who made sure his squad knew it as well.
“It was a great year for us, third round, we made history,” LeJeune said. “We won eight football games. They’ve never done any of that before.”
The Bulldogs face the No. 2 Oberlin Tigers in the semifinals next Friday.