Five Port Allen turnovers turned into 20 Northeast points as the Vikings spoiled the Pelicans’ homecoming with a 32-15 win at Guy Otwell Stadium last Friday night.
Port Allen (0-5, 0-2) forced four Northeast (2-3, 1-1) turnovers, but the Pelicans failed to convert several red zone drives into points.
“I told my offensive coordinator after the third, I said ‘now look you cannot count on three defensive touchdowns ever again in your life,’” said Northeast head coach David Masterson.
“I told coach Gibson after the game that that was two jv teams playing tonight because both of us are so young and it showed tonight with all of the mistakes from both teams on both sides of the ball. Port Allen’s going to be fine as their kids grow up and Northeast is going to be fine as our kids grow up.”
Northeast quarterback Rashaun Steel committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, which resulted in a safety for Port Allen with 4:52 left in the opening quarter.
The Pelican lead last two minutes and two seconds before Northeast’s DJ Taylor recovered a fumble and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 6-2 lead.
Jacoby Junis picked off a Jeremiah Dehon pass and took it 70 yards for another Northeast score, which put the visitors ahead 14-2 late in the first quarter.
Port Allen’s first touchdown came in the second quarter with 9:31 remaining on Edward Wilson’s 6-yard run. The score cut the deficit to 14-9.
Northeast added another score just before the half to take a 20-9 lead into the break.
The turnover bug bit Port Allen again in a big way near the end of the third quarter when the Pelicans drive was halted in the red zone thanks to a fumble that Trevor Stovall recovered and returned 88 yards for a Viking touchdown.
Dehon scored on a 1-yard run with 4:48 left which cut the Northeast lead to 32-15.
“You can’t turn the ball over three times for touchdowns and then you get a punt blocked, basically four touchdowns,” said Port Allen head coach Don Gibson. “They (Northeast) scored pretty much one offensive touchdown when they had to drive the field. They probably had 100 yards of offense at the most.
“We thought we had a really good defensive plan, but football is played in three phases,” he added. “We have to do a better on offense and special teams to make sure we’re competing at all levels.”
Failure to convert red zone drive into points have been a consistent problem for the Port Allen offense this season and Friday was another example, despite the Pelicans earning nearly 300 yards of total offense.
“We thought we could run the ball on them and that was one of the positive things, but we have to learn to finish drives,” Gibson said. “You can run the ball and move the ball from the 20 to 20, seems like that’s been the theme of our year so far, but you gotta be able to finish drives. We’re not finishing enough drives.”
Wilson rushed for 110 yards on 28 attempts. Dehon completed 13-of-25 for 148 yards. Marcus Joseph was the leading receiver with six receptions for 81 yards. Lekelvin Batiste hauled in three passes for 39 yards.
“Five more games from here,” Gibson said. “We have to figure it out. We thought we had it figured out this week, so we’re gonna go back to the drawing board and look and see what’s some of the things we can do better to make sure we put them in a better situation.”
Port Allen hosts Loranger (1-4) next week in non-district action.