Having started district play by losing to West Feliciana last season, Port Allen made sure the same thing would not happen for a second year in a row. Propelled by an opportunistic defense and a sound rushing attack, the Pelicans opened District 7-3A with a 30-14 win over the Saints.

“We felt like we had a good shot this time because we are much improved from last year,” Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said. “I’m just so proud of these guys.”

With a lead to start the second half, West Feliciana squandered its opportunities to keep its undefeated record with two second-half turnovers in the red zone which turned into 15 points for Port Allen.

“We made mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against a good football team,” West Feliciana coach Robb Odom said. “Turnovers are big, especially where they happened, but that’s part of football sometimes.”

Trailing by a point after a touchdown run by PAHS junior running back Juwan Johnson, West Feliciana quarterback Ryan Reed was intercepted in the end zone by Jarious Robertson. It set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Pelicans quarterback Deven Hammond.

On its next drive, WFHS again threatened and had the ball near the goal line, but a fumble by Reed gave the ball back to the Pelicans. On the following play, running back Demarcus Franklin ran it 90 yards to the WFHS 5-yard line.

Hammond finished it off with a scramble for the score.

“They had us pinned back both times,” Blanchard said. “Our guys turned in big plays to deflate them a little bit.”

Hammond posted just 84 total yards on offense but turned in three touchdown runs.

Franklin did the most damage on the ground with a game-high 168 yards on 17 carries.

“We had a great game plan and really trusted our offensive line,” Hammond said. “We thought we could beat them by running the ball. That’s what we are good at.”

After the teams traded fumbles to open the contest, the Pelicans took an early lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Hammond. The score was set up on a 27-yard reception by Lorenzo Osborne on a third -and-long to get the ball into WFHS territory.

On the ensuing drive, the Saints methodically moved the ball down the field, picking up four first downs despite attempting just one pass. Jazz Ferguson capped the drive by taking a pitch and finding the end zone from 6 yards out to cut the Pelicans’ lead to 8-7 midway through the second quarter.

West Feliciana got the ball right back after senior defensive back Barry Siguer intercepted a pass from Hammond at his own 45-yard line. A Port Allen unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the ball up even further.

Six plays later, Reed snuck in for a touchdown from 2 yards out to give the Saints a 14-8 lead at the half.

“When you’re up at half, you feel good,” Odom said “In the second half, they were able to move the ball down the field, and we had some missed tackled. We’re going to fix it.”

Ferguson, an LSU commitment, led WFHS with 114 total yards in addition to his second-quarter score.