Their brutal nondistrict schedule behind them, the Southern Lab Kittens had their first chance Friday to find out if the early competition helped them.
The answer, on this night, was a resounding yes.
Lab looked nothing like a one-win team in its District 6-1A opener against Madison Prep, bolting to a 25-point lead through one quarter and cruising to a 63-6 victory at Louisiana Leadership Institute.
Junior quarterback Bladrick Veal threw four touchdown passes to three different receivers — all in the first half —and ran for one more as the Kittens snapped Madison Prep’s four-game winning streak.
“We knew that those teams we played were playing fast football,” Southern Lab coach Nick Mitchell said. “What we did when we made the schedule is we gave ourselves an opportunity to be hardened by the competition.”
Lab spoiled Madison Prep’s homecoming despite being penalized 18 times for 193 yards.
Madison Prep (5-2) had not lost since Week 2, but trailed 43-0 at halftime Friday after winning its 6-1A opener against Christian Life last week.
“Sometimes a young ball club may need something like this just to keep us focused,” Madison Prep coach Michael Roach said. “I think we may have started to read our clippings a little bit.”
Southern Lab’s nondistrict schedule included one 4A opponent (Plaquemine) and four 3A foes (St. Charles, University, Amite, Donaldsonville and Patterson) that entered the week with a combined 25-11 record.
The Kittens (2-5) will face only 1A competition the rest of the way, and they looked Friday like a team that could be playing deep into the postseason.
Veal set the tone with first-half TD passes covering 18, 21, 22 and 63 yards to go with a 1-yard TD keeper. He finished 12 of 18 for 210 yards, with 177
yards on 8-of-11 coming en route to the 43-0 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Lab defense held Madison Prep to 60 yards and six first downs.
The Kittens set up a Veal scoring pass when Dorien Welch intercepted Charrod Brumfield at the Madison Prep 24 late in the first quarter, provided the game’s fourth touchdown when Deion Rainey pounced on a blocked punt in the end zone, and recorded an early safety when Madison Prep was flagged for a chop block in his own end zone.
One more highlight for the Lab defense came when Javahn Fergurson returned a Brumfield interception 75 yards for a 51-6 fourth-quarter lead.
Unable to generate much offense most of the night, Madison Prep got its only points on a 30-yard interception return by Otis Dunmars in the third quarter.
Brumfield was sacked six times for minus-61 yards and threw three interceptions.
“Those guys work hard every day, and they take butt-chewings to be their best,” Mitchell said of his defense. “Tonight, they showed they were willing to play their best.”
Lab has Christian Life at home next week. Madison Prep will look to get back on track when it travels to face Kentwood.
“Take nothing away from them,” Roach said of Lab, “because they have a lot of talent and a good team. Our guys will take this as a learning experience.”