There was no post-game water shower for Louisiana School for the Deaf football coach Susan Gremillion this time.
The War Eagles briefly celebrated a 68-8 victory over Carolinas Schools for the Deaf and a winning season Friday afternoon at LSD. The promise of next season resonated through the moment.
“I want to win national championship next year,” Murrell Jackson said, with Gremillion interpreting sign language.
Of course, there are no guarantees of a Deaf National Championship in 2016. With six players scoring touchdowns in the season finale, the future looks bright for the War Eagles and Gremillion, Louisiana’s first female head football coach in the post-World War II era.
LSD (6-5) scored 24 points each in the first and third quarters to power its way past a nine-member Carolinas squad.
“We were outmanned,” Carolinas coach Leonard Baker said. “They’re always well-coached and have talent. It was a long day for us.”
Carolinas had the game’s top rusher in Gustavo Lucha, who ran for a game-high 177 yards on 25 carries, including a 65-yard TD run that opened the second half.
Brandon Thomas helped lead LSD to its third straight win with 94 yards on just six carries. Thomas and Jackson each scored two TDs for the War Eagles. Jackson tallied 51 yards on just three carries. Three other players had 30 or more yards rushing as Gremillion started substituting soon after her 20-player squad had a comfortable lead.
Gremillion had been showered with water after two previous wins. Seniors Jacob Gordy and Montrell Hawthorne were honored at halftime and got the victory water shower from teammates in the final minutes. The linemen played running back and scored on two-point conversions.
“I was just pleased that we never let our foot off the pedal,” Gremillion said. “We continued with the same effort for all four quarters. Everybody paid close attention to what we were doing, even when we started subbing people in.”
LSD recovered an onside kick to open the game. The War Eagles’ first offensive play was a big one. Matthew Brown scored on a 45-yard run, and Thomas’ 2-point run gave LSD an 8-0 lead.
Next came a huge defensive play as D’Ericion Hayes returned a Carolinas fumble 58 yards for a TD.
A 34-yard punt return by Brown set up a 1-yard TD run by Jackson that put the War Eagles up 24-0 with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.
Carolinas drove to the LSD 21 on a 13-play drive but didn’t score. CSD drove into LSD territory another time, but that drive ended with an interception by Wyatt Bowman.
Brown’s 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Howard and a 5-yard TD run by Thomas with 5:51 left in the second quarter put LSD ahead 36-0 at halftime.
“We worked hard all season and put effort into every game,” utility player Josh Rebert said. “We didn’t do everything we hoped to. The team got better because we started working more as a team.”
When asked about Gremillion, Rebert added: “I thought she did a great job for her first season. We want to do more next year.”
Jackson answered CSD’s score with a 35-yard TD run for LSD. Jahr’en Joseph and Rebert also scored third-quarter TDs before Bowman closed out the scoring with a 1-yard TD run in the final quarter.
“I’m not overjoyed by it,” Gremillion said of the season. “When we set the lofty goals we did for this season, we didn’t know there would be some things that set us back early in the year.
“We overcame that ... it was good to see this team finish with three straight wins. As coaches, we’ve never said anything to them about next year. But we’re all looking forward to it.”