In a game where both offenses struggled to score in the first half, it was only right that the first score of the game would come from the defense.
Huey Johnson’s 23-yard pick-six gave Brusly just the jolt it needed to put up 16 points in the third quarter on the way to a 23-12 win over rival Port Allen in the 50th matchup in the Sugar Cane Classic Friday night at Guy Otwell Stadium.
With Friday’s win, Brusly takes a two-win advantage in the all-time series at 26-24. Last year’s game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The matchup was one of few games played in the area Friday night because of the impact of Hurricane Ida earlier in the week.
“We knew coming in we were blessed to be playing tonight,” said Brusly coach Hoff Schooler. “They’re a whole lot of players and coaches who are missing out tonight and hopefully some of them had a chance to come out and watch this game and get a little break from what’s going on. It was important for our community, our schools and our kids to come out and compete tonight.”
A scoreless first half was a testament to how well each defense had since the opening kickoff.
Less than three minutes into second half, Johnson picked off Jeremiah Dehon’s pass and took it in for the score. Sammy Daquano’s successful 2-point conversion run gave the Panthers an 8-0 advantage.
Port Allen responded three minutes later when Dehon connected with Stephen Springer on a 65-yard touchdown pass.
The Pelicans tried to even things up, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed.
On the next Brusly possession, Ryder Rabalais found a seam up the middle and broke free for a 66-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion put the game at 16-6 with 6:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Facing a fourth down inside their own 5-yard line, there was a miscommunication that led to a fake punt attempt that resulted in Brusly taking over at the Port Allen 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Rabalais punched it in from two yards out to put the game essentially out of reach.
Rabalais finished the game with 127 yards on 15 attempts. Brusly rushed for 175 yards as a team. Quarterback Sammy Daquano completed 8-of-21 passes for 98 yards.
“The past couple of weeks, everybody’s wanting to talk about we’re throwing the ball around,” Schooler said. “We know who we are. They’ve got a really good defense and so it takes a little time, and those two or three yards turn into five or six. We just stuck with it. The guys up front kept pushing. Hats off to the whole offensive line staying with it and got us going.”
Port Allen added a touchdown late in the fourth on Landon Jones’ 12-yard run. The Pelicans ended the night with 310 total yards, including Dehon’s 207 yards through the air. Springer was the leading receiver with five receptions for 147 yards.
“I’m proud of my kids. We fought our butts off,” said Port Allen coach Don Gibson. “I have to give credit to Brusly. Hoff does a great job. They came out with the win. We had our chances. When we have opportunities to score when we’re in the red zone we have to capitalize off them. They had a little more depth and it showed at times but overall, I want to say congratulations to Hoff. I’m proud of my kids we’ll come back, and we’re learn from this. We don’t have anything to hang our heads down for. We’ll go and learn and have some good football from here on out.”