Cards grind past Gators
Sat. September 22, 2012 at 12:55 a.m. | By Kelly McElroy/Staff Writer
E.D. White running back Dillon Pierce (36) runs before being tackled by South Terrebonne's Cullen Bergeron (42) during Friday's nondistrict game in Bourg. (Photo by Jim Cenac/Correspondent)
BOURG — Justin Theriot just wasn't in the right place at the right time for the E.D. White Catholic Cardinals on Friday night, he put himself there.
Theriot's fourth-quarter interception in a tied game against South Terrebonne left the Cardinals with a short field, and they scored seven plays later when Dannon Steib ran around the end for the go-ahead touchdown that resulted in a 21-14 E.D. White victory over the Gators at South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium.
The Cardinals moved to 4-0 with the nondistrict victory.
Theriot intercepted Gators quarterback James LeBlanc, who threw short in the middle of the field, and then a key 27-yard pickup on a third-and-long on a pass from quarterback Benton Arceneaux (5-of-12, 67 yards) to Steib later led to Steib's 6-yard score that put the Cardinals ahead 21-14 with 5:07 left, and E.D. White preserved the victory.
"The slot guy came across and coach told us all week to drop back and watch the middle of the field," Theriot said. "I just read the ball and picked it. We fought hard and dug deep."
The Gators returned the ensuing kickoff to near midfield, but failed to get another first down, and the Cardinals took over with 3 minutes to go and ran out the clock with the help of Darius Charles, who the Cardinals rode for 104 yards on 27 carries and a TD.
South Terrebonne's game plan was to limit E.D. White receiver Colby Masse and tight end Stephen LeBouef in the passing game, so that left it up to the Cardinals running backs and offensive line to carry the load on offense.
E.D. White rushed for 161 yards, and Steib (39 yards on six carries) added two scores on the ground.
"They took Colby Masse (three catches, 22 yards) away," E.D. White coach Kyle Lasseigne said. "It came down to power football with Darius running and our offensive line doing a great job. The key to the game was up front in the trenches. We are kind of mirror images of each other. We both play hard. You know when these two teams play, we are going to play hard, and they are going to play hard."
South Terrebonne coach Richard Curlin's team fell to 1-2 on the season, but said he was proud of the team's defensive effort in limiting the Cardinals to 228 total yards, which included 67 passing.
"I thought we did a fairly decent job of taking away the receiver and the tight end," Curlin said. "I thought our defense grew up a little bit. There were no easy yards. This game was that close. It could have gone either way, but you have to give E.D. White credit, they are solid ball club."
After a scoreless first quarter, E.D. White's Jace Toups intercepted a pass and brought it back 19 yards to the South Terrebonne 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Charles ran in from 2 yards out and Rene Thibodaux made the extra point for a 7-0 E.D. White lead with 10:36 left in the first half.
After the South Terrebonne defense gave its offense a short field, the Gators drove 32 yards in five plays and got a 3-yard touchdown run from Channing Champagne before Matt Benoit tied it at 7 with 3:03 left in the first half with the point after.
The Cardinals (13 first downs, 10 penalties for 91 yards) then stalled on offense, and South Terrebonne (11 first downs, four penalties for 45 yards) got the ball back just before halftime.
It looked like E.D. White would force a punt after a fourth-down stop, but a late hit gave the Gators an automatic first down and a 14-yard pass from LeBlanc (5-of-9, 63 yards, 2 INTS) to Justin Johnson led to a 1-yard scoring dive by Johnson, and Benoit's extra point pushed South Terrebonne ahead 14-7 with 6 seconds to go before halftime.
Johnson was just cleared to play on Friday after suffering a head injury in Week 2 against Terrebonne and led the Gators with 67 yards on 17 carries, but the Cardinals limited him from the big play.
"He is a big-play guy," Lasseigne said. "The key for us on defense was to make them grind it down the field. Not giving up the big play and making the clock run was big for us."
The Cardinals took the opening kickoff of the third quarter 47 yards in 10 plays and got another touchdown run by Steib around the end and Thibodaux's extra point tied it at 14 with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
South Terrebonne then missed on a 40-yard field goal try on its next possession, and later turned it over on downs before its next offensive possession resulted in Theriot's interception and the eventual game-winning touchdown run by Steib for the Cardinals.
"Offensively, we just have to be able to make more plays, and we have to get better in the short passing game," Curlin said. "A couple of turnovers were the different in the game, and we could not continue anything offensively in the second half."