The Port Allen head football coach stated the last several weeks that turnovers would make victory seem elusive for the Pelicans.
Defending Class 3A state champion St. Charles exploited those gaffes in a 35-0 win over PAHS in District 7-3A action Friday night.
The Comets capitalized on two miscues to stifle the Pelicans, who slipped to 4-2 and 1-1 in district fare.
“We’ve said all along that if you turn the ball over, you’re going to lose the game,” he said. “You can’t make those kinds of mistakes against a team like St. Charles and expect to win.
“We kept trying to get things going, but either we’d get a penalty or drop passes,” Blanchard said.
Sean McGraw cashed in on a Darian Claiborne fumble and returned it for a 48-yard touchdown for a 7-0 Comet lead in the first quarter.
The Comet TD came after Claiborne crossed into SCHS territory on a 22-yard scamper. One play later, St. Charles swiped the ball from Claiborne to get on the scoreboard.
“That’s their thing,” Blanchard said. “It’s very uncharacteristic for Darian – he isn’t a fumbler and doesn’t do it a lot. “
Claiborne completed 7 of 20 passes for 52 yards, and ran 29 yards on 15 carries. The Pelicans mustered 65 yards rushing.
St. Charles took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter when Austin Webber connected with Jared Lubin for a 6-yard TD and starting quarterback Jemal Batiste found Brandon Zimmer for a 6-yard score.
The Webber-Lubin TD came after the Comets forced the Pels to fumble at the snap on a punt, which gave SCHS possession at the PAHS 11.
The Batiste-Zimmer score also followed a blocked Pelican punt.
Despite the struggles on offense, the Pelican defense put a clamp on what could have been a much longer night. PAHS held the Comets to 53 yards total offense in the first half.
PAHS held St. Charles to only 203 yards total offense – including a negative-yardage and no first downs in the opening stanza.
“Defensively, we played our hearts out,” Blanchard said. “We’re getting ourselves behind the chains on turnovers and penalties.”
The Comets outscored its three previous opponents 154-12.
Port Allen’s unsuccessful attempt to recover an onside kick paved the way for the first of two Comet TDs in the third quarter.
After a 33-yard catch by Zimmer, Webber punched in a 12-yard TD run that stretched the SCHS lead to 28-0.
Zimmer scored on a 1-yard run later in the third to cap Comet scoring.