SCOTT - Zachary coach Neil Weiner thought things were looking good for his team midway through the first quarter Friday night until a fumble quickly changed the entire picture.
Acadiana High linebacker Zack Burch picked up the loose ball and then ran 75 yards for a touchdown, opening the way for an avalanche of points that gave the 11th-seeded Rams a 75-21 win over Zachary in a first-round Class 5A state playoff game at Bill Dotson Stadium.
AHS tied a school record for most points scored in a game, equaling the amount scored last season in a 75-14 regular season win over Sulphur.
Acadiana (8-2) advances to play the winner of a Saturdau game between Archbishop Rummel-L.W. Higgins contest.
Zachary, seeded 22nd, ended the season 8-3. The loss marked the second straight year the Broncos have ended their year with a loss to Acadiana.
Acadiana beat Zachary 49-7 in the second round last season before winning the state championship.
“I thought we got off to a pretty rough start there early in the game, although we were not in bad shape early,” said Weiner.
After AHS scored in six plays on the game’s first possession, the Broncos moved to the Rams’ 25 on the next series, before Burch ran the fumble back for the TD.
Things got worse for Zachary 12 seconds later when AHS lineman D’ondre Chanet intercepted a pass and scored the Rams’ second defensive touchdown on a 17-yard return.
With 7:36 remaining in the first quarter, AHS led 21-0, an advantage the Rams would expand to 55-14 by halftime.
“I thought our running back was down on the fumble, but the officials saw it differently,” Weiner said. “When Acadiana scooped it up and ran it in, I thought the whole complexion of the game changed and things snowballed after that.”
ZHS scored twice in the second quarter after quarterback Mason Pace completed a 31-yard pass to wide receiver Dillon Beard and another of 72 yards to Aaron Simon with 7:08 left in the first half.
At halftime, Weiner told his team to persevere.
“I told them they had to look at the man in the mirror at that point. We would come up with a game plan and they had to be confident that we could come back, taking it play by play,” he said.
The Rams rolled up 549 rushing yards, using eight running backs. In the first half Acadiana rushed for 338.
AHS head coach Ted Davidson said the score the circumstances surrounding the first half were something he couldn’t have imagined.
“This was something I didn’t anticipate. That first quarter was so crazy, scoring two defensive touchdowns,” he said.
The Rams broke several long offensive touchdowns, scoring on runs of 63, 67 and 77 yards.
Acadiana scored on every offensive possession in the first half.
Zachary started the second half with a drive to the Acadiana 6, but a fumble and a sack of Pace at the 16 ended that drive.
“I thought Acadiana’s defensive line was big and just played awesome. They were the best we have faced this year,” Weinter said.
Zachary’s Ladarrius Vessell gained 128 rushing yards on 17 carries. The Broncos threw to seven receivers, with Quinton Jones catching four for 40 uards. Simon had two for 81. Beard had three catches for 48.
Acadiana’s Carday Spencer rushed 10 times for 130, while Dylan Scott gained 120 on as many attempts. In the first half Jeff Brown rushed three times for 97.