PORT ALLEN — Central football coach Sid Edwards said the characteristics his team displayed in Thursday’s jamboree will ultimately define his team’s season.
The Wildcats were opportunistic with second-half field position, solid on defense and executed in the kicking game.
It all added up to a 14-6 victory for Central over Port Allen — with all points coming in the final 5:33 in Thursday’s Port Allen/Placid Refining Jamboree at Guy Otwell Stadium.
“I thought all three phases of the game came together,” Edwards said. “That’s how we’re going to have to play. We’re going to have to play stellar defense, have to try and move the chains and take advantage of opportunities.”
Central broke a scoreless tie with 5:33 remaining, only having to drive 17 yards after a short Port Allen punt.
Quarterback Gabe Brown kept on first down for 10 yards followed by consecutive carries from Caleb Moore, the latter a second-effort run covering 3 yards for a touchdown.
Ross Melton kicked the first of his two extra points.
Central made it 14-0 with 1:23 left, capitalizing on Jearlmiah Ward’s 20-yard punt return to Port Allen’s 24-yard line. Brown kept on all three plays on the Wildcats’ scoring drive, capping the march with a 17-yard keeper on a on third-and-3.
Brown paced the offense with 29 yards on seven carries, while punter Kyle Kennedy drew praise from Edwards for his ability to keep Port Allen pinned deep in its territory during the second half.
Dontrius Franklin’s 42-yard kickoff return enabled Port Allen to answer with a touchdown in the final 39.3 seconds.
Quarterback Jarius Robertson scrambled for 28 yards to Central’s 20 and three plays later connected with Sean Garner for a touchdown on a slant route, but Central blocked Robertson’s extra point.
Robertson accounted for 85 yards, 64 rushing on eight carries to go with 21 yards on 3-of-12 passing.
Central wide receiver Mason Evans recovered Robertson’s onside kick attempt, allowing the Wildcats to kneel twice and run out the final 37.4 seconds.
“We’ve got to continue to play every single series and not worry about what the scoreboard says,” Port Allen first-year coach Nick Mitchell said. “That’s a learning experience. A lot of our guys were playing in their first (varsity) game at some positions. I’m proud of our guys, but we know we’ve got work to do.”
Port Allen’s defense delivered an impressive first half, limiting Central to 5 yards on 14 plays over four drives and allowed 30 yards on 27 plays.
James Jones and Demonte Jordan each delivered tackles for losses, while Trevon Dixon registered a sack.
“Defensively, I knew we would give them some fits in some areas,” Mitchell said. “I think we were prepared.”
and were sharp.”
Central defensive back Joshua Herbert returned an interception 15 yards to Port Allen’s 45-yard line with 10.7 seconds left before halftime but a holding penalty on a first-down pass play to Xavier Lewis negated a 20-yard gain and kept the game scoreless.
“I’ve been doing it a long time, and I’m very pleased,” Edwards said. “We’re trying to learn who we are, and we’re much different than we’ve been in a while.”