Varnado tops Houma Christian

Published 11:39 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

By Jacob Batte
The Courier/Daily Comet

HOUMA — The Varnado Wildcats picked up their second win of the season with a 12-10 defensive struggle over Houma Christian on a chilly Friday night.
Varnado (2-6) used a 115-yard rushing performance from senior quarterback Caleb Allen, a quick start on offense and a dominant defensive performance to pick up their fourth consecutive win over the Warriors (5-3).
“I just took what the defense gave me and tried to make the best of it,” the converted wide receiver said after the game.
“(Allen) is so important to our offense,” added Varnado coach Anthony Hicks. “We’ve been having a battle at quarterback between about three to four guys. Caleb did a good job tonight, he found the holes and threw his first touchdown. I told him, you’re an athlete, go make some plays.”
The Wildcats’ defense held the Warriors to just 126 yards of total offense and came up big with the game on the line. Hicks credited his defensive coordinator, Aaron Luper, for the team’s performance.
“Coach Luper, he’s done a great job this season,” Hicks said. “Our defense has been playing with heart all season. I’m glad to work with him and thankful to have him on the staff.”
For Houma Christian, it was the team’s third loss in four games. In each of those losses, the offense has struggled and that was no different Friday night. This time, the team was plagued by penalties — eight, all on the offense.
“We’ve got to reduce our penalties. Any time you get a penalty, especially when you’re struggling on offense, it just kills your momentum,” Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia said. “We had some opportunities, some guys open downfield, but we couldn’t make the plays when we needed to.”
One of those missed opportunities came late in the second half on a fourth-and-15 from midfield when quarterback Westyn Spry faked a reverse and rolled out to his right, throwing to a wide open Eyan Webre, but the ball bounced off the junior receiver’s chest to the ground inside the red zone.
“We’ve got to stay focused. They showed a lot of heart and intensity tonight but we’re going to have another tough opponent next week,” Battaglia said. “We’ll keep it positive with them tonight, clean up our mistakes on film and move on.”
Varnado dominated the first quarter. After forcing Houma Christian into a three-and-out on their first possession, the Wildcats moved the ball five plays and 64 yards. Facing a third-and-17, Allen escaped pressure and, with a defender wrapped onto his leg, found receiver Trevin Haynes who broke a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone.
After forcing another punt, Allen put the Wildcats up two scores with a 66-yard touchdown run.
“I broke a couple of tackles and then I just saw green. At that point I tried to out-run everyone on the field,” Allen said.
The Wildcats didn’t convert on either two-point conversion.
Houma Christian responded with a seven-play, 54-yard touchdown drive that included passes by Spry of 24 and 20 yards, to Chad Portier and Webre. Quarterback Hayden Fontana punched it in from 1 yard out.
Then the Warriors’ defense showed up. After allowing 130 yards on the first two drives, Houma Christian would limit the Wildcats to just 53 yards more for the rest of the game, forcing three turnovers and a stop on fourth down.
But the offense would go quiet until an 11-play drive that began in the third quarter and ate up 7:50 off the clock. Even though they would reach the Varnado 9-yard line, Houma Christian was forced to settle for a 26-yard Phuongnam Le field goal to cut Varnado’s lead to 12-10.
The Warriors had an opportunity to win the game when they took over on their own 27-yard line with 2:41 left to play, but a fourth-down reverse pass from Spry fell harmlessly to the ground, and on the next play Allen effectively ended the game with a 23-yard run.