Carver coach Byron Addison knows making the leap from Class 2A to 4A won’t be as easy as his team made it look during the early part of Thursday night’s jamboree.
But he had to be pleased with what he saw in his Rams going up against one of the larger schools in the area.
Carver scored on its first three possessions and held on to beat Class 5A Bonnabel 20-14 in the first game of the Kiwanis East Bank Jamboree at Yenni Stadium.
“We feel like we can play with anybody if we go out and play our game,” senior running back Rodney Major said. “The first few drives we scored, so that was a good confidence booster for us.”
Despite its fast start, Carver didn’t seal it until D’Quintez Wilson picked off a pass with 2:04 left to halt the Bruins’ comeback. Wilson’s interception came just one play after Bonnabel’s Taylor Ross picked off a pass to give Bonnabel one last chance.
“As a senior, I feel like I have to take advantage of every chance I get,” Wilson said. “I saw the ball in the air, and I said ‘it’s mine.’ ”
Wilson also had a touchdown catch, one of three scores the Rams had on their first three drives of the first half.
After forcing Bonnabel to a three-and-out on its first possession, Carver scored on its first play.
Izea Hurst connected with Gary Young on a 57-yard touchdown to put the Rams ahead 6-0. Young finished with four catches for 113 yards.
Major put Carver ahead 14-0 on the next possession with a 24-yard run, and Hurst threw his second touchdown moments later, finding Wilson for a 26-yard score.
Carver coach Byron Addison decided to give Hurst the start at quarterback over Quinton Mattehws, who is expected to be the starter.
“It was good seeing Izea do that,” Addison said. “He has been working, and we figured we would give him a shot. We have to watch the film and see who we are going to go with.”
Hurst completed 4 of 11 passes for 116 yards, and Matthews completed 3 of 5 passes for 54 yards in the second half.
Bonnabel’s lone touchdown of the first half came after trailing 14-0 when quarterback Semaj Franklin sprinted in for a 57-yard score.
Franklin’s touchdown was one of the few highlights for the Bruins in the first half. The lowlight came when receiver Justin Johnson was injured with 29 seconds before halftime.
There was a 17-minute delay, and Johnson was carried off on a stretcher. He was able to move his limbs.
“Please keep him in your prayers,” Bonnabel coach Reggie Rogers said. “He took a hard shot on the interception. He was able to move everything. It just scared him a little.”
Franklin completed an 18-yard pass to Nijel Steer, who outjumped the defender, for the only score of the second half.
The Bruins had a chance to score on the previous possession, driving to the 2-yard line. But Carver defensive lineman Alvin Brown stuffed Maurice Britton on fourth-and-goal.
Franklin rushed five times for 63 yards and completed 6 of 14 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
“Semaj is a leader,” Rogers said. “He knows what to do and how to run this offense. Hats off to Carver. They are physical, quick and fast. We had to play from behind, and I thought we showed a little something.”
Addison knows Carver’s road will only get tougher, especially in rugged District 9-4A that includes Karr, McDonogh 35, Belle Chasse and Warren Easton. But they aren’t intimidated.
“We are aware of the district,” Addison said. “The coaches, the kids and the community, we feel like whether we are in 4A, 3A, or 2A, we are going to come out, compete and work hard and do the small things right.”