New Iberia Senior High quarterback Jason Jones said after Friday’s District 7-5A game against H.L. Bourgeois that with everything that happened this past week, it was good to get on the field and play.
After dealing with the distractions of homecoming week and the funeral of former NISH standout Derrick Olivier Wednesday, Yellow Jackets coach Rick Hutson wasn’t expecting his team to be super sharp Friday.
Catharsis came Friday night as the team dedicated the game to Olivier and his family, Jones had a record night for himself, and NISH’s offense and defense were just sharp enough in scoring 27 first-quarter points to beat H.L. Bourgeois 54-12.
“We weren’t super sharp tonight but I wasn’t expecting us to be sharp tonight with all the things that we went through this week,” said Hutson. “I knew the focus wasn’t what it (needed to be) and thank goodness we were just a little more talented that the team we played tonight.”
Jones completed 15 of 20 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns, the first four-touchdown game of his high school career. New Iberia’s defense returned two interceptions for scores and the Jackets (5-1 overall, 3-0 district) remained atop the district standings with a showdown against South Lafourche (5-0, 2-0) slated this Friday night at Lloyd G. Porter Stadium.
While the battle for first place looms Friday, the Jackets had to get past Bourgeois first after dealing with an emotional week.
“I thought we did well coming back from everything,” said the senior quarterback. “We were glad the week is over with but I’m excited for the win.”
Jones had touchdown passes of 17 yards to Antonio Jack, 34 yards to John Richie and 11 yards to Andrew Ricks in the first quarter alone as NISH jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Braves. He added to that total with another pass to Ricks in the second quarter before sitting out the second half as NISH held a 41-6 lead at the break
“My night depends on who does what,” said Jones. “The offensive line did fantastic and the receivers caught the ball.”
While NISH’s offense did its part, the defense also got into the act with two scores of its own.
Kavionte Haywood put the final touches on a 27-point first quarter with a 75-yard interception return for a score and Jacob Polk closed out the game with a 15-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter.
In between the Jackets gave up yards to the Braves, but were able to keep them out of the end zone for the most part.
“They moved the ball on us more than I thought they would,” said Hutson. “Their quarterback (Jake Broggi) for a freshman is phenomenal. He made some great passes tonight. We’ll chalk it up to being what it is and we’ll try to get better next week.”
Hutson said he thought if Bourgeois threw the ball enough times in the game, his defense would get some interceptions and NISH picked off three passes in the contest.
On the other side of the field, Bourgeois coach Ben Powell knew his team had to play mistake-free football to have a chance and with three interceptions and several mishandled snaps, it was far from mistake-free.
“You’re playing a Top 10 team,” said Powell. “They’re fast and they’re physical and you can’t shoot yourself in the foot. You can’t have fumbles, penalties and make mental mistakes against them.”
The Braves had all three types of miscues Powell described in the first quarter alone as the visitors fell behind 27-0 and trailed 34-0 before getting their first score of the game in the second quarter.
“Hats off to them,” said Powell.
“They’re rolling right now. They have a lot of momentum and are probably going to make a lot of noise in a couple of weeks when we get to the playoffs.”
With an emotion-filled week out of the way, the Jackets can look towards Friday’s district game of the year with first-place on the line.
“We’re going to practice all week and get ready for South Lafourche,” said Jones. “That’s going to be a fun game. I can’t wait for it.”