Port Allen High School’s first game of the football season had a bright ending despite the weather’s gloomy beginnings, as Port Allen defeated Avoyelles 40-28.
The Pelicans’ offense was on fire all night, with the defense catching the spark and igniting after halftime. Sophomore DeMarcus Franklin scored four of the six Pelicans’ touchdowns, rushing for more than 200 yards.
“The kid’s been working hard,” complimented Blanchard. “He has no idea how good he can be, but he’s a humble kid, and he comes to work hard every day. I don’t know how he can get much better. He had a great night, but he’ll be the first to tell you the line did a great job giving him lines to run in. It was a team effort, but he led the way.”
After an hour delay due to a thunderstorm, the Pels kicked off at 8 p.m. to the Avoyelles Mustangs. The Mustangs offense had a slow start. Avoyelles scored the first touchdown of the game with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter. After a failed attempt for a 2-point conversion, the scoreboard read Home-0, Visitors-6.
A short onside kick allowed Avoyelles to recover the ball at the 44-yard line which led to a touchdown run, putting the Mustangs in the lead 14-0.
The Pels got their first possession with 3:45 on the clock in the first quarter. Quarterback Alex Hebert carried the ball to the Mustangs’ 16, and a handoff to KaRon Young on the next play resulted in a touchdown for the Pels, putting them on the scoreboard for the first time. DeMarcus Franklin earned 2-extra points for the team, bringing the score 14-8.
At the close of the first quarter, the Mustangs were on the Pelicans’ 10-yard line. With five yards left to go to gain a first down, the Pelicans defense held firm, causing a turnover on downs on the 12-yard line.
With the ball back in Pelican hands, Kevin Ransom carried the ball to the 26-yard line for a first down. After two penalties on the Pelicans, both for false starts, Port Allen faced a first and 20 when Telson Allen caught a 30-yard pass from Hebert, bringing the Pels near midfield. After another false start penalty on Port Allen, Franklin broke through the Mustangs’ defense for a touchdown, tying the game 14-14.
An Avoyelles touchdown pass brought the Mustangs back in the lead, 22-14.
After a Mustang onside kick was recovered by the Pelicans on the 50, Hebert carried the ball to the 13 where he ran out of bounds. Franklin scored his second touchdown of the night for Port Allen, giving them a halftime score of 20-22 after the Pels could not convert the extra points.
A scoreless third quarter began with a Port Allen fumble with Avoyelles recovering the ball at their own 31. The Mustangs moved the ball down the field slowly but steadily toward the goal line. On a fourth down, with 7 yards to go, the Mustangs’ attempt for a touchdown was incomplete, giving the Pels possession at their own 11. After 4 carries by Franklin, the Pelicans reached the opponent’s 20, but ended their long drive with a fumble, which Avoyelles recovered.
The Pels began the fourth quarter with a quick touchdown by Young, giving Port Allen a 28-22 lead. Port Allen’s defense made progress down the field slow and difficult for the Mustangs, but they managed to score one last touchdown with 7:10 remaining on the clock, tying the game 28-28.
A completed pass to Franklin placed the Pels at the 35. After a carry by Young and a few more by Franklin, the Pels once again found themselves in the end zone, taking the lead for good, 34-28.
Port Allen’s defense held their opponents at the Pelicans’ 44, thanks to a sack by Deldridge Wiley, until the Mustangs were forced to give up the ball near midfield with 2:00 remaining in the last quarter. Franklin tacked on another Pels touchdown, his fourth of the night, with a 45-yard run, increasing the lead to 40-28.
Time ran out for the Mustangs as the Pelicans’ defense left them midfield at the close of the game.