The Pelicans fell behind early thanks to a safety on the second play of the game and couldn’t rebound, dropping Friday’s game to the Plaquemine Green Devils 42-12 at Andrew Canova Green Devil Stadium in Plaquemine.
Back-to-back errant snaps went over quarterback Jacoby Howard’s head, with the second resulting in two points for the Green Devils.
From that point, Plaquemine’s offensive onslaught ensued and by halftime, the home team held a 36-6 advantage, which put the game out of reach.
“The biggest thing that we were afraid of was making sure we got out of this game healthy,” said Port Allen head coach Don Gibson. “We got banged up a little bit, but more than anything else, we gotta keep going, keep plugging. We have a lot of grit. We won’t see another team like this this year. The thing I like about these guys is the heart and determination to keep fighting.”
Several Pelicans suffered injuries throughout the game, which included both Port Allen quarterbacks Howard and Jeremiah Dehon. Howard did not return to the game. Dehon finished the game but was visibly hobbled by a lower leg injury.
Melvin Mcclay’s 4-yard touchdown run put Plaquemine ahead 9-0 with 8:23 left in the first quarter.
The Port Allen defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Treveon Scott on the Plaquemine 35 late in the first quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-8, Lekelvin Batiste lined up at quarterback and broke several tackles on the way to a 34-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 9-6.
The Green Devils responded with three touchdowns in the second quarter. The last touchdown came off a blocked punt that was returned 10 yards for the score to boost Plaquemine’s lead to 30-6 with 3:59 left before halftime.
Plaquemine quarterback Herb Thomas rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter and threw for another score in the fourth to put the Green Devils ahead 42-6.
Port Allen junior Myles Hopkins exploded through the offensive line for a 50-yard score to end the game.
Plaquemine outgained Port Allen 348-116 with most of the home team’s damage coming by was of 236 yards rushing.
Plaquemine head coach and former Port Allen coach Paul Distefano said he was happy with the win, but disappointed in some of the mistakes his team made. The Green Devils committed 10 penalties.
“Of course we’re happy with the win and everything, but we just have to get sharper as a team,” Distefano said. “Too many mental mistakes on offense. We had two touchdowns called back. We have to eliminate those types of mistakes. That is going to hurt us in a close game.”
Hopkins led the rushing attack for Port Allen with 56 yards on three attempts with a touchdown. Batiste finished with 34 yards on two carries and Edward Wilson added 39 yards on 12 attempts.
Before leaving the game because of injury, Howard completed 3-of-3 passes for 26 yards. Dehon completed 8-of-12 for 28 yards.
Batiste led the Pelicans in receiving with 19 yards on three receptions.
“We were overmanned, they tripled us almost in numbers,” Gibson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work ethic, attitude and the mentality that these guys have.”
“It’ll slow down this week against Donaldsonville,” he continued. “Donaldsonville has a lot of guys that play both sides of the ball that have about the same type of numbers that we have. Things from here on out will slow down from that part of it. You want these types of games to get you where you wanna be when it gets around that district part. Plaquemine did a good job. Plaquemine is a heck of a program. When you talk about 4A programs, Plaquemine is up there. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us, but I liked the attitude and the mentality to keep fighting. That’s how you change a program and get it back going in the right direction.”
Port Allen will be on the road to face Donaldsonville, while Plaquemine will travel to Lafayette to battle St. Thomas More.