Brother Martin 26, Bastrop 20

Quarterback John-Paul Pierce ran nine yards for the game-winning touchdown with 1:05 to play as New Orleans Brother Martin departed Ram Stadium with a 26-20 victory over Bastrop on Friday night.

Brother Martin (2-4) started the decisive drive from its own 48 after stopping the Rams (3-3) on fourth-and-four.

With the score knotted at 20, Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette never thought twice about leaving the offense on the field, but the fourth down play never had a chance.

"We had a miscommunication on fourth down," Burnette said. "(Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins) misunderstood the call."

What was designed as a pass play to Christian Smith off of a play fake, instead turned into a straight handoff to Desi Holmes, who was stopped three yards shy of the first down marker.

Although he did not get the play he wanted, Burnette had no misgivings about his decision to try for the first down.

"I really didn't want to give the ball back to them with 2:30 left on the clock because our defense was so gassed," Burnette said. "Their kicker can kick it from 30-plus, so the field position isn't what you would think it is. Ultimately, I thought we would be in the same position anyway if we didn't convert the fourth down."

Three plays into the Crusaders' final series, on third-and-short, Matthew Alfonso broke free for 26 yards before fumbling out of bounds at the Bastrop 16.

Ryan Rouege carried for seven yards on first down before Pierce covered the final nine yards on a keeper. A high snap doomed the PAT, but the Crusaders had taken a 26-20 lead with 1:05 remaining.

Noah Labbe hustled downfield to make the tackle on the kickoff, forcing Bastrop to start from its own 11 with no timeouts.

Quaterius Hawkins kept for 33 yards on fourth-and-10 before stepping out of bounds to stop the clock with 21 ticks left.

After an incomplete pass, Jabari Watts' interception closed the book on the outcome.

Bastrop missed two opportunities early.

Receiving the opening kickoff, the Crusaders moved the chains twice. Pierce temporarily left the game after being sacked by T.J. Blanch and the visitors soon punted from their own 49.

Bastrop began its initial series from its own 1 after Alfonso's punt traveled 50 yards with a favorable roll.

Two incomplete passes later, Quaterius Hawkins connected with Celento Traylor for 67 yards to flip the field position.

SirQuan Hawkins' 9-yard catch on fourth-and-six was good for another first down at the 22.

With the Rams facing second-and-10, Alfonso picked off a pass in the end zone and broke a tackle at the 12 before finally being tracked down after a 66-yard return to the 34.

Bastrop got the ball right back as Dylan Owens recovered a mishandled shotgun snap.

Regaining possession at their own 45 on the turnover, the Rams advanced to Brother Martin the 4, but Mack Brown smothered a fourth-and-one pitch for a loss of one.

Looking back, the missed chances would come back to bite the Rams.

"That's where we lost it," Burnette said of the Rams' first two possessions. "One thing I do know is we have loads of talented kids that can play football.

"Win tonight and lose four weeks down the road, and it's all for naught. We're still building for the big picture. We made some big plays, and Quaterius made some big throws. He got hit on the first interception."

Re-entering the game, Pierce directed an 11-play, 95-yard drive.

Chris Smith's 32-yard run and LJ Gilyot's 16-yard reception on back-to-back plays resulted in a first down at the 7. After the Rams were flagged half the distance for encroachment, Chris Smith took it in from 4 yards away to give Brother Martin a 6-0 lead at 9:30 in the second period.

Jack Landry's kickoff went for a touchback, and the Rams set up at their own 20.

Passes of 5 yards to SirQuan Hawkins and 11 yards to Christian Smith moved the sticks to the 36, but a holding penalty brought up first-and-20 from the 26. From there, Quaterius Hawkins found Christian Smith, who turned a short pass to the right side into a 74-yard touchdown strike. Blanch's PAT gave the Rams their first lead, 7-6, with 7:47 to play in the half.

Bastrop dodged a couple of Brother Martin threats late in the half to maintain its lead.

After a long kickoff return was negated by an illegal block, the Crusaders moved from their own 20 to the Bastrop 18 before Phillip Jackson pounced on a fumble.

A second down holding penalty led to an empty possession and the Rams soon punted from the 13.

Aided by a fair catch interference infraction, the Crusaders took over at the Bastrop 24 with 1:38 showing on the clock.

On second-and-six, Pierce slipped under pressure from Blanch for a loss of seven, and the Crusaders eventually missed a 38-yard field goal try.

Bastrop went three and out to start the second half as Erick Lassair read a third-and-five screen pass perfectly for a loss of two.

Brother Martin began its first series of the final half from its own 42 after A.J. Fenceroy's 31-yard punt.

Four plays later, on third-and-seven, Pierce eluded a sack, and found a wide open Davonn Moore for 39 yards and a first down at the 6. Chris Smith barged in from there on the following snap, and Landry's PAT upped the Crusaders' lead to 13-7 with 8:19 to go in the third frame.

Bastrop counter punched with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Christian Smith's 25-yard reception started the series on a promising note before the Rams regained the lead, 14-13, on Quaterius Hawkins' 14-yard toss to SirQuan Hawkins.

Starting from their 19 after the kickoff, the Crusaders held the ball for nearly eight minutes on their next possession.

Brother Martin reached the Bastrop 26 before a holding penalty and back-to-back sacks by Blanch and Jackson brought up third-and-21 from the 41. Bastrop caught a break when Alfonso's 37-yard pass to Brady Faust off a fake punt was erased due to illegal participation.

Moments later, the Rams started from their own 13 after an actual punt.

Going to work immediately, Quaterius Hawkins found Calvert Johnson for 49 yards to jump start a nine-play, 87-yard scoring drive.

With the Rams staring at fourth-and-22 from the 28, Celento Traylor took a pass across the middle into the end zone as Bastrop went up 20-13 with 8:02 remaining.

Brother Martin tied the game by covering 74 yards on eight plays. Coming down with a third-and-19 pass, Turner stayed on his feet despite being hit by two defenders at the 10, and made his way to paydirt. Turner's 52-yard reception and Landry's PAT tied the game at 20 with 4:41 to play.

Notes: Friday's game was designated as "Pink Out" night in order to promote breast cancer awareness. Serving as the Rams' honorary team Captains, cancer survivors Audrey Rayford and Christine Scott accompanied Captains Lawrence Moore Jr. and Celento Traylor at midfield for the pregame coin toss. ... Morehouse Parish's GUMBO athletes were recognized prior to the game, and joined the Rams as they made their way on to the field. ... Class 5A Brother Martin listed 101 players on its roster in the game program. ... Using seven different backs, the Crusaders capitalized on their size advantage up front to rush for 237 yards on 51 carries. Chris Smith led the way with 20 carries for 133 yards and a pair of scores. ... Bastrop racked up 437 yards of total offense, with Quaterius Hawkins completing 23-of-37 passes for 366 yards. Christian Smith accounted for 122 yards and a touchdown on six catches. ... Bastrop, which had its three-game winning streak snapped, will get a long weekend going into an open date. With Morehouse Parish Schools out Monday and Tuesday, the Rams return to the practice field Tuesday at 10 a.m. ... Bastrop opens District 2-4A play vs. Franklin Parish on Friday, Oct. 20 at Winnsboro.