Varnado wraps up District 8-1A title

Published 10:54 pm Friday, November 4, 2016

Varnado scored 26 points in the first half and won the outright District 8-1A title with a 26-0 win over Houma Christian at home Friday.

“It’s a great feeling,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “I’m happy for the kids. They’ve done it. They earned it. They’ve worked hard. They’ve been working hard. This senior class has worked their butt off for four years to get to where they were.

“They came prepared. They fought all year. They battled all year. They got better every week and they deserve a district championship. They went out, and somebody didn’t just give it to them, they earned the district championship.”

Varnado received the opening kickoff, but Houma Christian tried an onside kick and recovered it. The Wildcats defense stood tall, however, and forced a punt.

Varnado’s offense then went on a pair of time-consuming drives, each 12 plays, to go up 12-0 after both two-point conversions failed.

The first scoring drive went 75 yards, using up 5 minutes, 46 seconds, and ending when JaDarrell Magee ran it in from the 7 to make it 6-0 with 5:25 left in the first quarter.

After a three-and-out, Varnado went 70 yards in 3:45, and scored on a 9-yard run by Armontee Kemp to make it 12-0 at the 11:54 mark of the second quarter.

The score improved to 18-0 when James Williams ran it in from the 1, capping off a 29-yard drive. The two-point conversion was no good, making it 18-0 with 7:50 to go in the first half.

There was a scary moment with 2:50 left in the second quarter. Houma Christian drove the ball down to Varnado’s 2. The Warriors ran an option pitch to Je’Corie Ward. Ward was hit and the ball came loose. Varnado’s Ardaryl McGowan ran it back for a touchdown, but the attention went to Ward, who was injured on the play.

After being down for several minutes, Ward was taken off of the field in an ambulance. Prior to the second half, a helicopter came out and airlifted Ward to a hospital.

Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia said after the game that he didn’t know all of the details of Ward’s injury, but that the player was moving and responding, so that is a good sign.

Shaffett said you never want to see anybody get hurt.

“It’s tough. The kids feel for him,” he said. “Both teams, we come together and prayed for him numerous times. We’ve just got to leave it in the Lord’s hands and hope he’s OK.”

After play resumed with 2:50 left, Travon Stokes ran in the two-point conversion.

The teams played a running clock from that point and neither scored again.

Varnado finished the regular season with a record of 6-3 overall, and 4-0 in District 8-1A play.

DAILY NEWS PHOTO/Chris Kinkaid Varnado's Travon Stokes runs up field with the ball after taking a handoff from James Williams during Friday's game.

Varnado’s Travon Stokes runs up field with the ball after taking a handoff from James Williams during Friday’s game.