FRANKLIN — Vermilion Catholic showed Thursday that its No. 4 ranking in Class A is not solely a product of star running back Jacoby Davis’ tremendous talent.
With Davis, the 2011 Class A MVP, sitting out Thursday’s District 8-A game at Hanson after injuring his knee in a 21-20 loss to Dunham the previous week, VC still rushed for nearly 300 yards and had four plays covering 50 or more yards in a 42-0 win over the Tigers.
“That’s what everybody’s got to realize,” said Vermilion Catholic coach Russell Kuhns. “We’re Vermilion Catholic, not Jacoby Davis. Jacoby’s obviously a huge part of our team and he’s a great, tremendous athlete, but we’ve got other guys. We’ve got guys everywhere.”
Davis is the state’s leading rusher with over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns through the first five weeks. But the rest of the Eagles filled in fine for him, said Kuhns. VC improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in district while Hanson fell to 2-4 and 0-1.
Junior running back Mike Campbell raced 65 yards around right end for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, receiver Dustin Desormeaux went 78 yards to the HMS 3 on a bubble screen on the Eagles’ first play on their next possession and Campbell scored on the next play to give VC a quick 14-0 lead after only three offensive plays and less than 41⁄2 minutes of play. Campbell finished the night with 129 yards on seven rushes and carried only once in the second half.
“They’ve got all the parts,” said HMS coach Richard Sandusky. “They’ve got a big O line, a big D line. They’ve got skill players all over the field. They’re a tremendous team. They’re not ranked 3 or 4 in the state for nothing.”
Hanson, meanwhile, continues to fight its own injury bug, losing two more starters in the course of Thursday’s action when running back Drake Businelle and quarterback Bo Barrilleaux both were hurt. HMS coach Richard Sandusky said the two injuries didn’t look serious, though doctors will have to evaluate them.
“We’re not at the point right now where we can play a good team and be successful with the amount of injuries and adversity that we have right now,” said Sandusky. “Our running back went down, and then our quarterback went down. It just puts us in a tough position. We tell the kids all the time not to have the self-inflicted adversity, and right now some things are happening that are just out of our control.”
Running back Collin Broussard and QB Drake Rodriguez both were injured earlier in the year, though both have since returned. Rodriguez came in after Barrilleaux’s injury to guide the Tigers.
Hanson had its chances to score, and could have been within 14-7 after one quarter but Broussard’s 18-yard TD run late in the opening period was erased by an illegal shift penalty.
The Tigers were flagged only four times for 30 total yards, but they were costly penalties. In addition to the negated TD, two holding penalties stalled drives, and an offside penalty kept a VC drive going.
Three of Hanson’s seven fumbles were recovered by the Eagles.
The Tigers also had a snap that sailed over punter Royce Norton’s head, a couple of muffs on kick returns and a couple of bad snap exchanges.
Vermilion Catholic put the game effectively out of reach with three third-quarter touchdowns, a 61-yard run by Joey Faulk from the wildcat formation, a 59-yard pass from Brennan Gallet to Connor Menard, who got open up the middle, and a five-yard keeper by Gallet.
“I think we did a tremendous amount of arm tackling tonight,” said Sandusky. “But on top of that they are very athletic and very speedy.”
Faulk had 73 yards on four rushes and TJ LaFrance added 63 yards on seven runs for the Eagles. Gallet completed nine of 12 attempts for 174 yards.
“Jacoby’s like a brother to all these guys,” said Kuhns. “If a brother gets hurt, you’ve got to pick up the slack. I think that everybody responded and played their hearts out.”
Broussard led Hanson with 62 yards on 24 rushes. Businelle carried only five times before injuring an ankle in the first quarter and finished with 22 yards. Barrilleaux completed eight of 13 attempts for 71 yards before leaving the game.
Hanson returns to action next Thursday with a non-district game at Berwick. VC plays host to 8-A rival Gueydan.