Varnado comes back to defeat Houma Christian

Published 10:59 pm Friday, October 27, 2017

Varnado trailed 13-0 in the blink of an eye and came back nearly as quick in a 44-39 win over Houma Christian School in District 8-1A action at Varnado on Friday night.

Houma Christian won the toss and elected to receive. The Warriors returned the kickoff to the 34 and on the first play of the game, Damien Pennison, who threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns to go with two rushing scores, completed a pass to Je’Coirie Ward. Ward took it the distance on a 66-yard score to make it 6-0 after the missed extra point just 18 seconds into the game. Ward had 97 yards receiving.

Houma Christian’s Bryce Pierce recovered a kickoff at Varnado’s 35 and scored on the third play when Zachariah Trujillo took off on a 31-yard touchdown run. Phuongnam Le hit the extra point with 10:08 left in the first quarter. Trujillo ran for 72 yards.

Then it was Varnado’s turn for a run.

James Williams, who threw for 128 yards and a touchdown, completed a 27-yarder to Desmond Harry. The two-point conversion was no good, keeping it a 13-6 game with 6:55 left in the first period.

Houma Christian fumbled on the kickoff and Varnado’s Kevis Brooks recovered at the Warriors’ 25.

Jaccourious Bickham, who had 41 rushing yards, got the call on third-and-goal and took it in from the 7. Harry converted for two points and Varnado led 14-13 with 4:46 left in the first quarter.

“The thing about it is that anytime you get down, you’ve got to be able to fight and you got to fight to the end and you fight four quarters and that’s what it’s about,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “That’s why you play the game of football. You got to fight your butt off and we fought and we fought till the end, and because we did fight for four quarters, we came out on top.”

Houma Christian took the lead in the second quarter on third-and-28 from the 26 when Pennison bought time and found a wide-open Justin Medina near the goal line and he scored the touchdown. Houma Christian’s two-point conversion was no good after Varnado jumped offsides and the Warriors had a 19-14 lead 12:54 into the game.

That was it for scoring until early in the second half.

Harry, who had four total touchdowns, gave the Wildcats the lead back when he ran in from the 7 to make it a 20-19 lead for Varnado with 9:29 left in the third quarter.

Harry finished with three rushing touchdowns.

“We lost last week (to West St. John, 45-0). We came in and we were determined to get this win,” said Harry, who ran for 79 yards.

Harry credited the blockers to help lead the team to the win.

The Wildcats made it 28-19 with 5:47 left when Harry scored on an 11-yard run. Bickham ran it in for two.

Houma Christian pulled to within two on the second play of the fourth quarter when Pennison ran in from the 1. Le’s point after made it 28-26 with 11:06 to go.

Harry scored on a 7-yard run to cap off the following drive and Bickham was good for two. It was 36-26 with 9:10 left.

The Warriors attempted to punt on the ensuing possession, but a low snap led to a safety and Varnado led 38-26.

But the Wildcats fumbled on the first play after the kickoff. Medina recovered. He later scored on a 3-yard run and Le’s point after had it at 38-33.

Harry pushed it back to two possessions when he took a third-and-eight handoff from Houma Christian’s 16 to the end zone. The two-point attempt was no good. It was 44-33 with 1:25 left.

Pennison scored on the game’s final play for the 44-39 final.

Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia talked about the game.

“We got winded. We got tired. We made some mistakes and they made some great plays,” Battaglia said. “I think their quarterback (Williams) did a great job of throwing the ball downfield. We had them in some fourth down situations, four-and-long, probably at least three times during the game and they made the big play and we didn’t and that’s the difference when it comes down to a one-score or so ballgame.”

Varnado’s JaDarrell Magee ran for 34 yards and Armontee Kemp had 52 receiving yards.

Tyler Voison had 97 yards receiving and Medina posted 55 for Houma Christian

Varnado improved to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in district. The Wildcats cap off the regular season in non-district play with a road game against Mangham on Friday.

Houma Christian is 6-2 overall and 1-2 in district. The Warriors play Covenant Christian on Friday to wrap up the regular season.