And then there were two.
Port Allen faced more than another district foe Friday when E.D. White Catholic visited the Pels at Guy Otwell Field. PAHS needed the win to bump the Cardinals out of a three-game tie for second place with the Pels and Brusly.
The Pelicans survived E.D. White’s second-half comeback attempt to take a 20-14 victory in District 7-3A action. The victory kept Port Allen locked in a tie for the runner-up spot district, behind St. Charles.
Texas A&M commitment Darian Claiborne tallied 150 rushing yards off 20 carries for two touchdowns to power the Pelicans. Claiborne also completed 7 of 14 passes, including one for a TD.
Teammate Jestin Kelly rushed 13 times for 61 yards.
The Pelicans chalked 215 yards on the ground and another 76 on the passing attack.
Much of Port Allen’s success came off a stingy defense, which held the Cardinals to only five first downs and 94 yards total offense – including a mere 54 yards rushing.
“My hat goes of to Coach (Leonard) Parker for the defensive plan and Coach (Josh) Laborde for the great job on offense,” Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said. “They did a great job leading this group into action tonight.”
Port Allen reacted quickly against E.D. White, which started the season ranked in the Louisiana Sportswriters Association Class 3A Top 10 polls.
Claiborne connected with fellow senior Caleb Johnson for a 5-yard scoring pass in the first quarter, but got only six points thanks to a failed point-after try.
The Pels scored after Claiborne intercepted a pass from Benton Arceneaux on the opening play from scrimmage. PAHS took over at the Cardinal 38-yard line and found its way to the 7-yard mark after Claiborne reached Kyle Moore on a 24-yard fourth-down pass.
The Cardinals reacted quickly when Levi Boudreaux returned the kickoff 80 yards for the TD. The extra-point kick gave the Cardinals their only lead in the game.
Port Allen wasted no time regaining the lead. Claiborne broke loose for an 80-yard run for the third TD of the game – all in less than one minute.
Claiborne followed with a two-point conversion that put the Pela ahead 14-7.
The Pelicans got a little help on the next drive when a Cardinal punt gave the PAHS possession in EDW territory. The lofty field position opened the gate for Claiborne to score on a 45-yard run with 6:22 left in the first half.
The extra-point kick failed, which sent PAHS to the locker room with a 20-7 halftime advantage.
The Cardinals held themselves down late in the first half when Port Allen’s James Jones intercepted a Brenton Arceneaux pass just before the buzzer.
EDW got another opportunity to stop Port Allen when Justin Theriot intercepted a Claiborne pass to put the Cards at the Pelican 20-yard mark.
The Cards lost possession on an incomplete pass on a fourth and-one. The Pelicans quickly returned possession to EDW when the Cards grabbed a Port Allen fumble on the first play of the drive and found their way to the PAHS 14-yard line.
The strong field position allowed the Cards to cut their deficit when Darius Charles scored on a 1-yard sneak.
The Pelican defense held back a hungry EDW in the fourth quarter, which got the wheels in motion for a drive late in the game. A holding call put the brakes on the attempt with just one minute left in the game.