Tigers’ big-play ability used to run by Albany

Peter Silas Pasqua

Donaldsonville scored on its two of its first three possessions, including a 89-yard run from Bryant Dunn, who finished with 205 yards on 13 carries, as the Tigers coasted to a 26-6 jamboree victory in the second game of the LeBlanc Food Stores Ascension – Livingston Challenge at Spartan Stadium Thursday night.

“Winning cures a lot of things,” Donaldsonville head coach Gary Adkins said. “A win is a win and they are always fun. We have young team right now. We only have six seniors and we are just trying to find our way. Who we are and what our chemistry is. We got a long way to go but it is a process. It is hot and muggy but we found out a lot about each other. Some good things, some bad things and some things in between.”

Donaldsonville fumbled on its first possession and found themselves at their own 5-yard line on their next before quarterback Laine Bailey kept his composure and hit a streaking Justin Breaux deep over the middle for 45 yards. Bailey’s 27-yard option keeper preceded Dunn’s 16-yard jaunt and following a hit out of bounds Dunn hit pay dirt up the gut from 3 yards. Devon Breaux’s kick was wide right leaving the score 6-0 with 8:10 left in the first half.

“The last couple of years we have had big play ability and we still have it,” Adkins said. “That is the type of things we have to have to keep us in ball games. I was pretty pleased with the way Laine played tonight. I think he has some things he has to get better at but that is why we have jamborees.”

Dunn jetted 89 yards up the center of the Hornets’ defense on the first play of Tigers’ next possession after Rusty Patterson and Robert Gibson dropped Albany’s Allen Garon for an 8-yard loss. Jamar Landry fumbled on the conversion to leave the score 12-0 with 4:43 left in the half.

“Dunn was our second leading rusher last year,” Adkins said. “We just tell him to run the grass. He is a good athlete. He is even a little bit faster than I thought he was. He is kind of a slasher and he runs hard. That is what I like about him.”

Albany capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive on the ensuing possession when Garon crossed the goal line from 1-yard. Chuck Murray’s 43-yard catch and run from Justin McKnight was the Hornets’ key play. Ben McKinley’s kick was wide left with 33.8 seconds remaining in the half to leave the score 12-6.

“We had our moments,” Albany head coach Brad Ficklin said. “We were just inconsistent. That is something we have to fix. “Their linebacker stayed home. They would walk down a safety and bring him. We had trouble at first with our communication. Sometimes we ran plays right at it where they were vacating and we hit them with our tight end.”

Shaqueel Babin blocked McKnight’s punt on the opening possession of the second half and Tre` Sullivan recovered to set the Tigers up at the Hornet 16. Landry hit the right pylon from a yard on his third try five plays later. Donovon Moore dropped Bailey on the conversion to leave the score 18-6 with 10:44 left to play.

Dunn capped a 12-play, 59-yard drive with a 13-yard score up the gut on the Tigers next possession. Bailey hit Dunn for a 13-yard screen to move Donaldsonville across midfield and spearing penalty kept the drive alive on a fourth down. Bailey kept on the conversion to the left pylon to make 26-6 with 2:27 left.

Brian Foster and Jarrett Cole sacked McKnight on the final possession of the game.

“Send the house,” Adkins said. “We have kids that can run so we are going to send as many as we can.”

Bailey added 33 yards on four carries, while Landry had 25 yards on six totes. 

“Their speed is second to none,” Ficklin said. “We couldn’t play a football game when it turns into a track meet. What we were hoping from the beginning was to be more physical than them and send a statement and we didn’t do that tonight. For us to come out and play against teams that aren’t very fast doesn’t prepare us for district. I would rather learn on the fly like this than a team that is slower.

McKnight finished 7 for 12 for 101 yards with Murray hauling in four receptions for 69 yards.

Donaldsonville regular season opener at St. Thomas More Friday night in Lafayette was canceled due to Hurricane Gustav.