Dutchtown falls in district championship game
Catholic High pitched a second-half shutout for the second straight week--this time holding Dutchtown out of the end zone to clinch their first District 5-5A championship.
The Griffins came into the home contest 7-1 and looking to win back-to-back district titles. After jumping on top 14-0 early, they looked well on their way.
However, the Bears showed the same composure they displayed from the previous week when they stormed back from being down 14-3 to St. Amant. They shut out the Gators 21-0 in the second half of that game to win going away 31-14.
They used the same recipe to dethrone the Griffins. Their defense eliminated big plays in the second half, and the tailback tandem of Khalil Thomas and Derrius Guice ran wild.
But early on, it was all Dutchtown.
After Catholic fumbled away a first-quarter punt, the Griffins took over at the Bear 16-yard line.
Just four plays later, Mason Nickens gave Dutchtown the early 7-0 lead when he took one in from seven yards out.
The Griffins kept the momentum going when they got the ball again. Their offense got their first big play of the game with Torrance Mosley exploding up the middle for 61 yards to put Dutchtown up 14-0.
Facing the double-digit deficit, the Bears finally generated some offense of their own.
Thomas broke loose on a 41-yard touchdown run that cut the lead in half heading into the second quarter.
Catholic kept surging ahead as Nick Coomes hit David Lasavio for 50 yards. That led to Guice running in for a 10-yard score to tie things up.
The Griffins answered promptly as Nickens reeled off a 27-yard run. Shortly afterward, Mosley got into the end zone for a second time--this time from four yards out.
The score regained the lead at 21-14 for Dutchtown, but it was the last points they would be able to put up.
Right before the half, the Bears were able to get back on the scoreboard as they drove 80 yards on 12 plays. Guice highlighted the march with a 20-yard sprint.
To finish it off, Catholic broke out the patented jump-pass with Coomes hitting Thomas for the touchdown. However, the extra point was missed, so Catholic still trailed at halftime 21-20.
After the high-powered shutout that was the first half, the defenses finally stepped up in the third quarter. No points were scored by either team in the period.
Finally, early in the fourth quarter, the Bears put together a surgical four-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in a 38-yard touchdown gallop by Guice.
Catholic failed on the two-point try, but they took their first lead of the game at 26-21.
The Griffins' last gasp at regaining their district crown stretched them into Bear territory with less than a minute to go. But a big rush forced Nickens to intentionally ground a pass.
The costly penalty ended the Dutchtown scoring threat and allowed Catholic to hold on to win the District 5-5A championship.
In the victory, Catholic's running game dominated. Thomas carried the ball 20 times for 157 yards and a score while Guice ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Dutchtown got strong performances on the ground as well. Nickens ran for 114 yards and a score, and Mosley carried the ball 15 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
The loss was the only blemish in the Griffins' district schedule, and they finished the year 7-2.
The pollsters were brutal on Dutchtown after the loss. Despite the 7-2 record and despite being ranked No. 6 coming into the game, the Griffins were only awarded a No. 16 seed heading into the playoffs.
They'll open up the postseason at home in a rematch against parish and district rival St. Amant. They beat the Gators 31-17 in their Oct. 5 matchup.
The Griffins will be trying to win their first playoff game in two years after last year's shocking first-round exit to Ponchatoula.