BALDWIN — Finish up strong and play for four quarters of football is the message Erath High School head football coach Doug Dotson said he told players this past week as they prepared to play West St. Mary in a key District 6-3A game Friday.
And shortly after the young Bobcats team beat the Wolfpack 22-20, Dotson reminded his players and his staff the season is not over and next week they will have to play another four quarters of football and finish up strong if they wanted to make the 2013 playoffs.
With the win on Friday Erath improved 3-6 overall and 2-2 in district. West St. Mary fell to 3-6 and 0-4 on the year.
After forcing West St. Mary to punt on its first possession of the game it only took the Bobcats five plays to score as running back Elijah Mitchell thrashed through the Wolfpack defense on runs of 17, 26, and 14 yards before he scored on a nine-yard run to make the score 6-0. Mitchell than went on to score a 2-point conversion on the next play to make the score 8-0.
West St. Mary answered Erath on its next possession and drove the ball from the WSM 41-yard line in seven plays before running back Torrance Ballard scored on a nine-yard run. After a successful extra point the score was 8-7.
Erath then went on to score twice in the second quarter to build a halftime lead of 22-7 to hang on for the victory. On the first of the two scoring drives, Erath’s offense, paced by Mitchell, ran 14 plays for 85 yards and Ty Bares scored on a one-yard run at the 11:55 mark. After the extra point was successful the score was 15-7.
On the second scoring drive after a West St. Mary turnover, quarterback Ben LeBlanc found receiver Alec Toups for a four-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter. After the extra point the score was 22-7.
“In the first half we really moved the football well on the ground,” Dotson said. “We are healthy now and our offense is making plays. Hopefully we can get into the playoffs we played for four quarters and we got out of here with a win.”
Dotson said after the game his Erath Bobcats were ranked 38th in the latest state power rankings.
“I am gonna say a prayer and hopefully we can get and make some noise,” Dotson said.
“All we have to do is win and the rest will take care of itself.”
Mitchell led Erath 131 yards of rushing on 24 carries.
Thaddeus Gabriel scored on a 16-yard run in the third quarter for the Wolfpack but WSM missed its extra-point try. In the fourth quarter, Gabriel scored from 10 yards out and Jovan Anderson kicked the PAT to pull the Wolfpack to within 22-20.
West St. Mary head coach Marquis Newsome said his team has just have to keep playing.
“We had some positives and some negatives. We will go back to the drawing board and hopefully can get a win next week,” he said.
Erath will take on North Vermilion while West St. Mary will travel to Abbeville in district 6-3A contests.