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Cardinals settle in to top Braves, 37-16

HLB quarterback Todd Adkins (top) passes while running back Markice Bogan (5) blocks E.D. White's Hunter Cabellero during Thursday's scrimmage in Houma. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)

It was exactly the start the H.L. Bourgeois Braves were looking for in their scrimmage against E.D. White Catholic on Thursday night — an early interception and a quick touchdown.

But once the Cardinals settled in, they flew away for the Braves, outscoring them by 29 points the rest of the way in a 37-16 victory at Tom B. Smith Stadium in Houma.

The teams played two 20-minute halves with no rush on punts, kickoffs or field goals, and they used mostly starters in the first half and mixed in back-ups in the second half.

"I wasn't happy with the slow start. I don't think we focused right off the bat. We just didn't handle the pregame correctly, and we can't do that when it's for real," E.D. White coach Kyle Lasseigne said. "After that, we rebounded and played well for the most part. I was proud. We had great effort"

The Braves got an interception on the first play from scrimmage by Rindel Charles and that led to a touchdown pass from Todd Adkins to Tyrone Johnson, which was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Adkins to Chris Harris for an 8-0 Braves lead.

Adkins, a sophomore, played most of the game at quarterback for the Braves, who also played freshman Jake Broggi at times.

"Todd Adkins is our starter, but we are trying to get Jake as many reps as we can," second-year Braves coach Ben Powell said. "At this point he will be our third-series guy. He is only a ninth grader. As long as he can handle what we keep putting on him, he is going to get some playing time. Both guys have totally different skills sets. Todd is a run, short-pass, zone-read guy, and Jake can throw it deep. He will launch it on you."

After an interception by Jace Toups set the Cardinals up in good field position, senior quarterback Benton Arceneaux hit Stephen LeBouef on a screen pass that setup a short touchdown run by Darius Charles, and Rene' Thibodaux made the point after to cut the Braves lead to 8-7.

The Cardinals then went ahead 14-8 on a screen pass from Arceneaux to Colby Masse, and Thibodaux made the extra point then added a 45-yard field goal to put the Cardinals ahead 17-8 at halftime.

"(Thibodaux) was great as a 10th grader last year. We are confident in him," Lasseigne said. "He has great ability. When we get down in field-goal range, we aren't going to hesitate to put points on the board. I believe in Rene's ability"

To start the second half, the Braves drove 50 yards on 15 plays with Broggi at the helm, but failed to score.

After E.D. White's Trey Dobson later recovered a fumble, freshman Kairon Brooks swept around the left side for a score and Thibodaux added the point after for a 24-8 Cardinals lead.

Thibodaux then missed a 50-yard field goal, and the Braves hit on a big play when Adkins completed a short pass to Tyree Andrew, who dashed close to 80 yards for a score. Markice Bogan then ran in for the two-point conversion before Arceneaux found Masse on a 70-yard touchdown play down the left side to make it 30-16 after the failed extra point.

Arceneaux lofted a high spiral down the left sideline and Masse ran under it in stride and took it in for the score.

Arceneaux later threw a fade route to LeBouef, who at 6-foot-3, out matched the H.L. Bourgeois cornerback in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown toward the end of the scrimmage.

"He (Arceneaux) is comfortable, and he has a year of experience," Lasseigne said. "It was one of the best summers I ever had with a quarterback. He understands the system. He understands the guys that he has. He understands his weapons, and he understands where he needs to get the ball in key situations. He understands he needs to make good decisions. I liked our consistency offensively, and I saw some good things on our offensive line."

Powell said after the Braves struggled to a 2-8 record last year, he was pleased with what he saw from his team on Thursday night.

"It was kind of one of those good, bad and ugly things," Powell said. "I thought our conditioning was good. It needs to improve. I didn't like our tempo on offense, but I thought we were getting the better of them conditioning-wise in the end, even though we were down a score or two. I felt like we were matching up well at the end, but Kyle and those guys run a great program. They have some big, strong kids, and they are fundamentally sound, so at the end of the day I think we fared pretty well."