VACHERIE -- Big plays usually command most of the attention in football, but intricate elements can also become the difference maker.
Port Allen proved it Thursday when on a special-team play when the Pelicans stopped Assumption on a two-point conversion attempt midway through the game.
The effort paid off and allowed the Pelicans a 21-20 win over the Class 4A Pioneers in the St. James Jamboree.
“Our defense stepped up for this one,” coach Don Gibson said. “The biggest thing is that the kids are trusting their abilities, doing what they’re told to do, while we’re jelling as a team.”
The Pelicans open the regular season Friday when they visit archrival Brusly.
“We still have a lot to clean up, but this was a good start when you consider what we have ahead of us,” he said.
A Mekyle Franklin block on the two-point try slammed the door shut on Assumption’s attempt to stop the Pelicans.
The block came on a conversion pass came after the Pioneers scored on a Jaden Tyler 36-yard TD pass from quarterback Sage Rivere.
A Lekelvin Battiste 7-yard scamper put the Pelicans ahead 7-0 with 8:43 in the first half, but the Pioneers tied the game when Damon Bailey connected with Rashaun Jarvis on a 43-yard TD pass which tied the game 7-7.
PAHS ran past Assumption on the next driven when Marcus Joseph recovered a fumble in the backfield and dodged several tackles for an 82-yard TD that put the Pels ahead 14-7.
Assumption capitalized on a Port Allen fumble that paved the way for a Damon Bailey TD pass to Dorian Bailey for a tie score one minute into the second half.
The Pelicans responded with a Jacoby Howard 24-yard TD sprint for a 21-14 lead with 9:36 left in the game.
Assumption threatened with under three minutes left after a Jacobi Howard interception pass, but the PAHS defense sacked Damon Bailey on a fourth down at the Pelican 23.