A sense of urgency – and a little anger – can take a team a long way, and it paid off well for Port Allen.
A higher playoff bracket to cap possible damage from the forfeit of a game earlier in the season helped keep the Pelicans focused on the task at hand in a 44-13 rout over The Church Academy in District 7-2A action in Baton Rouge.
“We stressed to the team all week how important it was to come in focused for what we will face in the playoffs, when each week can be your last,” head coach Don Gibson said. “We had a lot of motivation and the kids did a good job to assure themselves a playoff spot.
“It wasn’t the cleanest game of the season, but it had a lot of emotion. Those elements gave us extra spark and energy that carried us through the game.”
The Pelicans rallied for three touchdowns in the second quarter en route to the win.
Quarterback Harold Jones III scored three touchdowns to pace the Pelicans, who finished regular season action 3-7 against the school, formerly known as Christian Life Academy.
An 8-yard run and a pair of 1-yard sneaks helped Jones propel PAHS, which took a 15-0 lead in the first quarter before the Pels cruised to a 36-0 advantage at halftime.
Jones had one of his best nights on the passing game, with seven of nine completions for 135 yards, including a 56-yard completion to Donald Johnson in the second quarter.
Johnson led the receivers with three catches for 72 yards, while Jalen Ruffin grabbed a 46-yard pass in the first half.
Norrise Cummings, who ran for a TD in the second quarter, finished with 10 carries for 104 yards on a night with only 126 total yards on the ground attack.
The game also served as Senior Night for the upperclassmen who played the last regular season game in a PAHS uniform at Guy Otwell stadium.
The seniors included Jalen Ruffin, De’ante Woods, Harold Jones III, Donald Johnson, Rashawn West, Clyde Robertson, Brenton Brown, Johnte Smith, James Riley, Da’kodie Domineck, Jarmaine Jarvis, Treylin Johnson and Dallas Wright.
A win over Northeast in the opening round would possibly give the senior class at least one more chance to play on the home field.