Bastrop 38, West Ouachita 23
Bastrop started the game with 32 unanswered points and coasted to a 38-23 homecoming victory over West Ouachita on Friday night.
"That was our primary deal," Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette said of the Rams' early getaway. "There was lot going on between homecoming and dealing with the weather (rain showers off and on), which made it hard to stay focused. But we had a football atmosphere and a lot of former players came in, which is always good."
Neville (5-3, 2-0) and Bastrop (5-3, 2-0) meet Thursday night in Ram Stadium with the District 2-4A championship on the line.
In Friday's game, Christian Smith's 59-yard punt return gave the Rams a short field at the 17 for their initial possession.
On third-and-17, Smith moved the chains with a 17-yard reception. Two plays later, Quaterius Hawkins dished to SirQuan Hawkins on a bubble screen for a 9-yard touchdown and an early 6-0 lead.
Following a second straight empty possession by the Chiefs (2-7, 0-2), the Rams set up at their own 33.
From there, Quaterious Hawkins found Desi Holmes for 21 yards, then scampered 46 yards on a keeper to the right side as the Rams opened up a 12-0 lead less than five minutes in.
Hayden Hester's 22-yard kickoff return with an additional 15 yards stepped off for a personal foul enabled the Chiefs to start their third series in Bastrop territory at the 47.
A defensive holding infraction advanced the Chiefs to the 37, leading up to a fourth-and-two from the 29. Phillip Jackson and Germany Powell then combined to stop a running play in the backfield for a minimal gain, and the Rams took over on downs at their own 28.
After the two sides traded punts, the Rams set up at their own 47.
Holmes' 26-yard carry and Quaterius Hawkins' 13-yard run helped bring up first-and-goal. Kyrese Lawrence covered the final seven yards as Bastrop opened up an 18-0 advantage with less than a minute to play in the opening period.
West Ouachita picked up a pair of first downs on its ensuing drive. With the Chiefs facing fourth-and-third from the Bastrop 36, Jackson shot into the backfield, knocked the ball away to disrupt the option, made the recovery and dashed 56 yards unimpeded for the touchdown. A.J. Fenceroy's extra point widened the difference to 25-0 with 8:16 to play in the half.
Two possessions later, Lawrence Moore Jr.'s 28-yard interception return put the Rams back in business at their own 40.
Three plays later, Calvert "Big Body" Johnson leaned backwards to make an improbable catch against double coverage at the 5-yardline, and fought his way into the end zone to complete a 45-yard TD strike. Fenceroy's extra point pushed the bulge to 32-0 with 2:17 remaining before the break.
Taking advantage of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Rams, the Chiefs set up at the Bastrop 45.
Tobias Owens' 17-yard run and a personal foul left the Chiefs with a first down at the 13. Three snaps later, Cameron Bradshaw took a short pass from Peyton Parker and bolted across the goal line. Bradshaw's 10-yard catch and run closed the deficit to 32-7 with 1:16 remaining before the homecoming court was introduced.
Beginning the second half on offense, Bastrop moved to the West Ouachita 34 behind Holmes' 22-yard run.
Bastrop regained possession four plays later on Jackson's fumble recovery at the Bastrop 37.
Two carries by sophomore Cartavious Allen netted 24 yards before Quaterius Hawkins' 13-yard pass to Johnson put the Rams up 38-7.
Allen was among several underclassmen getting some varsity work Friday night.
"It's always good to get some young kids in and get them some burn, especially on a night like tonight where you have a lot of people in town," Burnette said. "Family and friends were able to get to see everybody play."
West Ouachita countered with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Owens, who had a 27-yard reception earlier in the drive, covered the final 35 yards on a screen to the right side to bring the Chiefs within 38-14 late in the third quarter.
West Ouachita outscored the Rams 9-0 in the fourth quarter on a safety and Bradshaw's 56-yard touchdown off of a screen down the left sideline.
Notes: Some (but not all) of the Rams' alumni attending the game were Kentravis Aubrey, Denzel Devall, Maurice Doty, Troy Mason and LaMarcus Williams. ... Aubrey and Williams were defensive tackles during the threepeat state championship run from 2005-07. Both signed with SEC schools — Aubrey with LSU, Williams with Mississippi State. ... Devall played for two national championship teams at Alabama and remains with the Crimson Tide as director of player development. With the Crimson Tide taking a bye week prior to next Saturday's showdown with LSU, Devall turned chef Friday night. ... Mason, who went on to play wide receiver for UNLV, now resides in Dallas. ... Doty was an All-State linebacker for the Rams prior to playing at Northwestern State and Ouachita Baptist. He is now offensive coordinator at West St. Mary High School in Baldwin. Bouncing back from an 0-3 start, the Wolfpack is 4-2 since Doty was promoted to OC.