MONROE — Sometimes, you just have to make a stand. And that’s exactly what 25th-seeded Live Oak did in the final seconds of its Class 5A playoff game Friday night.
The Eagles stuffed eighth-seeded Ouachita Parish short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal. LOHS headed back to Livingston Parish with a 33-28 win and the school’s first playoff win. Live Oak will host No. 9 John Ehret in the regional playoff round.
Ouachita started its drive toward the winning score with 3:08 to play, converting a fourth-and-13 along the way and using its last timeout to set up the last play of the game at the 2-yard line. The Eagles (6-5) met Emmanuel Johnson at the line of scrimmage and brought him down as time expired.
“It was no secret those guys were the ones we wanted on the field in that situation,” Live Oak coach Brett Beard said. “On that last play, it was their big guys against ours up front. They came at us, and we made the play.”
It was a huge blow for Ouachita, which had to use a valuable timeout before the final play.
“We thought that we could run a play, and if we didn’t get in the end zone, we’d save that last timeout instead of burning it there,” Ouachita coach Jeff Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t get in and we killed the clock and used our timeout and didn’t get in again.”
“(Live Oak) has a very good defense and a very good football coach. Their kids played hard, and my hats off to them.”
Live Oak ate up the clock and the Ouachita defense by rushing for 284 yards. Quarterback-running back Dillon Wang led the team with 21 carries for 151 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:08 left.
Quarterback Devion Warren kept Ouachita in the game by completing 11-of-20 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown, adding 19 carries for 117 yards on the ground. The Lions took a 28-27 advantage with just over five minutes to play after the lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter.
Desmond Jones, finished with five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown for OHS. Senior Jaylen Payne added three catches for 56 yards and another score.
Using quarterback Wang as a human battering ram, Live Oak went down the field on its second possession and took a 7-0 lead on Khalil Smith’s three-yard run.
Warren answered the Live Oak score by deliver a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jones, but a missed extra point kept the lead in the Eagles’ favor. Jones was limited to two catches in the first half as the Lions struggled to move the ball outside of their lone scoring drive.
Live Oak caught Ouachita in the wrong defense at the wrong time and burned the Lions for six points when Will Higginbotham navigated through the blitz and took a screen pass 42 yards untouched.
Warren’s heave to the end zone on fourth down fell incomplete and sent Ouachita into the locker room down 14-6 at halftime.