Warriors open new field with 56-37 victory

Houma Christian's Keamon Sims (25) runs past Lafayette Christian's Gage Broussard (22) as Kobe Thibodeaux (53) and Myles Lawrence (32) defend during Friday's game in Schriever. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)

SCHRIEVER — Houma Christian's new field of dreams was a nightmare for Lafayette Christian Academy as the Warriors took advantage of several unforced mistakes in a 56-37 nondistrict victory on Friday evening.

The game served as the christening for Warrior Field, Houma Christian's brand new facility behind Living Word Church along La. 311.

"This is a tremendous day for our program. You couldn't have asked for a better outcome," Houma Christian head coach Chuck Battaglia said. "These guys came out here, and they were motivated. Just seeing this whole thing come together, they really took it to heart."

Despite being outgained by 90 yards, Houma Christian (1-0) bettered the Knights by recovering three fumbles and dominating on special teams, taking advantage of nearly every opportunity.

Nate Frye, coming off a shoulder injury that kept him out of practice recently, rushed for 163 yards on nine carries in the win, delivering two touchdowns on the ground while hauling in a 40-yard reception for another score.

"It feels good to be back," Frye said after the game. "My legs were fresh. I had stamina and strength and no hesitation coming in. But everyone played a role in this win. We had good balance (Friday) and when we saw an opportunity, we took it."

The first half served as a shootout after Houma Christian's initial drive stalled, resulting in their only punt of the game. Subsequently, Lafayette Christian (0-1) quarterback Regan Miller fumbled a snap and the Warriors pounced. Two plays later, Daniel Achee' busted up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown for the day's first score.

The Knights replied with a sustained 10-play, 69-yard drive, resulting in a Myles Lawrence 2-yard scamper to tie the game at 7 with 2:04 to go in the first quarter.

In a critical turn of momentum, though, Houma Christian's Keamon Sims returned the kickoff 85 yards to put the Warriors back in front. The Knights would never fully recover.

"That return just opened the door," Battaglia said. "We were able to cause turnovers and make big plays. I was really concerned about having the week off because of Hurricane Isaac. We had a short week to prepare, but these boys showed heart, and they made things happen."

After the Warriors defense forced a three-and-out, Sims came up big again, taking a pitch and racing it 76 yards to give the Warriors a 21-7 advantage. Another Knights fumble in their own end presented the Warriors with a chance for an early dagger. On the very next play, Achee found Frye for a 60-yard touchdown connection, putting Houma Christian up by 21 points.

To its credit, LCA hung around, as Dylan Hargrave, who ran for a game-high 218 yards on 18 carries, scored the first of his three touchdowns, braking away for a 65-yard run to cut the Knights' deficit to 15 midway through the second quarter.

The teams would trade scores on their next possessions, as Frye capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 31-yard dash up the left sideline for the Warriors. In response, Regan Miller hooked up with Sterling Miller on a 17-yard touchdown strike before finding Hargrave for a two-point conversion to make it a 14-point game.

But Houma Christian scored twice in the final 2:18 of the half, first on a 65-yard run off right tackle by Frye, and then on a 22-yard pass play down the left sideline from Achee to Devin Battaglia after the Knights lost another fumble deep in their own territory. The advantage turned into 28 points at the break.

The Warriors capped their scoring in the third quarter on a 20-yard touchdown run up the middle by Nick Callais, who also went 8-for-8 on extra point attempts. Hargrave added touchdown dashes of two and 21 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter to lead the Knights' offense.

"Special teams hurt us. That kickoff return just deflated us," Lafayette Christian coach Barry Baldwin said. "We looked better offensively later. We moved the ball better. But our defense has to learn to wrap up and make tackles. We're young and inexperienced, and they'll be some growing pains."