Cardinals win to go to 4-0

Published 12:11 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

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By Scott Meyer

Special to the Daily News

Bayou Lacombe improved their record to 4-0 after making the long road trip to Birmingham, Ala. last Saturday night and picking up the hard fought 21-17 victory over the Alabama Blackhawks.

Alabama received the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards to the Cardinal’s 2-yard line before quarterback Boshe Watkins lost control of the football at the 2 with linebacker Jai’lun Palmer (Slidell High School) recovering.

After a short punt, Alabama was back in business at the Cardinals’ 24. Bayou Lacombe’s defense stiffened once again and forced a field-goal attempt. Kicker Austin Carney connected from 34 yards out to put the Blackhawks on the scoreboard, 3-0, with 6:58 remaining in the first quarter.

After battling through most of the second quarter, Bayou Lacombe was able to grab the lead just before the break. After a missed field goal on a botched snap, Bayou Lacombe took over at their 45-yard line. The Cardinals and quarterback Jervious Epherson (Northshore High School) got the birds going. Seven plays and 55 yards later, Bayou Lacombe crossed the boundary. Epherson threw a perfect strike to wide receiver Darrin Arline (Independence High Magnet School) from 24 yards out. Kicker Lance Foster (Duncanville High School) added the extra point to put the Cardinals ahead 7-3 with nine seconds remaining in the second.

After forcing a Bayou Lacombe punt on the opening possession of the second half, the Blackhawks’ offense got moving. Alabama marched 83 yards on 12 plays to regain the lead. Running back David Johnson capped off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. Carney’s extra point put Alabama ahead 10-7 with 4:53 remaining on the third quarter clock.

Two drives later Bayou Lacombe reclaimed the lead. Epherson remained hot throwing darts through the defense, but it was running back Lawrence Robinson’s 5-yard touchdown dash straight into the endzone that capped off the eight-play 74 yard drive. Foster added the extra point putting the Cardinals ahead 14-10 with 13:51 remaining in the contest.

Alabama took advantage of a short field in three plays to leap into the lead. Watkins hit wide receiver Dustin Wood from 16 yards out for the score. Carney’s added extra point put the Blackhawks ahead 17-14 with 12:06 remaining. Robinson went to Franklinton High School and Pearl River Community College.

The birds from the bayou would not be done.

It took Bayou Lacombe 2:50 to grab the final score on the evening. Epherson connected with wide receiver Xavier Chatman (Lakeshore High School, Southeastern Louisiana University) on a short pass with Chatman dashing and darting en route to the endzone for the score. Foster added the final score of the night with a successful extra point with 9:16 remaining in the fourth.

Alabama would threaten one last time when Watkins and wide receiver Michael Braggs connected on a 30-yard pass. Braggs then fumbled with Cardinals defensive back Kian Conerly recovering. After a Cardinals’ penalty, Bayou Lacombe took over at their 3-yard line with 6:03 remaining. Bayou Lacombe was able to kill the remaining clock in the highly-contested game to preserve the win. Conerly went to Franklinton.

Epherson finished the evening 16-of-28 passes for 266 yards. Epherson has now surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

Running back Jeremy Griffin led all Cardinals’ rushers with 40 yards on 11 carries.

Chatman led all receivers with nine catches for 127 yards.

Arline added three catches for 87 yards.

Watkins ended his night 11-of-28 for 180 yards. Johnson led all Blackhawks rushers with 73 yards on nine attempts. Braggs led all receivers with 53 yards and three catches.

Bayou Lacombe will return home to face the Crescent City Rampage on April 2.