The Port Allen Pelicans opened district play with a complete team effort in Friday’s 32-14 win over East Feliciana Friday at Guy Otwell Stadium.
Port Allen (2-4,0-1) gashed the Tigers on the ground with 268 yards rushing, while the defense forced three turnovers to hand East Feliciana its second loss of the year.
“It was a complete team effort and that’s what it’s going to take,” said Port Allen head coach Don Gibson. “I knew what kind of team we had. We just went through a little struggle at the start of the season. It’s a start and we have to continue to build on it, continue to work and we’ll get there. It’s a process. Those coaches have done a tremendous job with them and it just starts with these coaches and these kids, I’m just here to facilitate it all.”
Jacoby Howard’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Joseph kickstarted the Pelican offense.
After the Port Allen defense forced East Feliciana to punt from its 1-yard line, Mekyle Franklin capped the ensuing drive with a 32-yard touchdown run that put the home team ahead 14-0 with 6:51 left remaining in the first half.
“Caleb Anderson connected with Rodney White on a 10-yard touchdown pass for East Feliciana’s first points. A 2-point conversion run cut the deficit to 14-8.
It didn’t take long for the Pelicans to respond. Forty-nine seconds later, Howard was in the end zone after a 60-yard scamper up the middle to put Port Allen ahead 21-8 at the half.
East Feliciana scored first out of the break. Anderson threw a screen pass to Frankie Dunn who took it 90 yards for a score.
Jared Tisdale drilled a 23-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which put the Pelicans ahead 24-14.
Howard and Franklin connected on a 41-yard touchdown pass that put the game out of reach with just over nine minutes left to play.
““We had to make sure we don’t mentally beat ourselves,” Franklin said. “That’s what we’ve been doing for the last two weeks. We beat ourselves. We gotta make sure we stay focused. Can’t have brain farts or nothing like that. Have to make sure we stay focused.”
Howard connected on 7-of-10 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He carried the ball 17 times for 131 yards and another score.
Port Allen responded in a big way after not being able to play at the same high level for four quarters in a loss against Opelousas Catholic last week.
“It’s just momentum,” Howard said. “Both weeks (previous two weeks) we had good weeks of practice, and it was just something about this week that was different. We just came out and executed.”
Franklin carried the ball six times for 26 yards and a score and caught two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. He also intercepted one of Anderson’s passes in the fourth quarter.
Edward Wilson carried the ball 14 times for 75 yards with an interception on defense. Joseph ended the game with 48 rushing yards on five attempts, one reception for 11 yards and an interception.
“The biggest thing is we knew what we were as a football team,” said Port Allen head coach Don Gibson. “When you know what you are, you have to fix those little things and we harped on discipline all week long. We had a heck of a practice this week. Every day the kids bought in, they understood that this thing was resetting for district play now, so no matter what we did then, these are the ones that count. They bought into what we were doing and it’s amazing what you see.”