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Story Archives: Ferriday still had good year
|Ferriday still had good year|
Ferriday High supporter Delnora Cook and an assistant rolled a wheelbarrow of dirt out to the 30-yard line before the Trojans' first-round playoff game against Pope John Paul II to fill in a hole 30 minutes before kickoff Friday night.
After scoring on its first two possessions, the Trojan offense seemed stuck in a hole as the visiting Jaguars upset Ferriday 17-14 to end the home team's season.
After Richard Jefferson returned the opening kickoff from his 28-yard line to the Jaguar 33, Da'Vante Scott carried the ball three times to the 4-yard line before Jarvis Brooks took it in for the score and Ferriday led 6-0 just under five minutes into the game.
The Ferriday defense held the Jaguars and forced and fourth-and-12 from their own 35. PPJ then spread out its players on the punt, leaving the center, a blocker and the punter in the middle.
Quinn Flore then took the snap and ran left, picking up 19 yards and a first down to the Ferriday 46.
Seven plays later, behind the nifty faking and running of quarterback Clyde Perkins, the Jaguars scored on a 3-yard run.
Perkins did an outstanding job of faking and keeping the ball the entire game, waiting until the last second to pull the ball out of the hands of his running backs. Several times, PJP backs were popped by Ferriday defenders, only to have Perkins circling around end and picking up valuable yardage.
The 6-0, 175-pound quarterback proved hard to bring down, usually picking up four or five more yards after being hit, gaining crucial first downs or three or four plays after it appeared he was going nowhere.
"Last year was Clyde's first to start as a junior," said Pope John Paul coach Mark Jeanmard. "He's like having a coach on the field. He understands what we are trying to do. He has free rein to change a play. We very seldom question his decisions."
Ferriday answered with a 70-yard strike from Zuranie Thompson to a streaking Alfred Brown down the sidelines and went up 14-7 with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter.
But Pope John Paul's defense, led by 6-6, 310-pound senior R.J. Barba, who deadlifts more than 600 pounds, stifled the Trojan offense for most of the rest of the game.
PJP tied the game after faking a 50-yard field goal as Perkins hit Sean Bruhn on fourth-and-12 down the sideline on a 21-yard play to the Trojan 11 with 2:50 remaining in the first half.
Perkins then scored on an 11-yard run as the Jaguars went into intermission tied with Ferriday at 14-14.
The final score came early in the third period as Teddy Macke hit a 45-yard field goal that would have been good from 50 yards.
An interception stopped Ferriday's next drive and then a PJP punt was downed on the Ferriday 2-yard line to start the final period.
Ferriday did get down to the PJP 38 facing four-and-four with 5:22 remaining, but Scott was stopped for no gain.
Ferriday's defense forced two quick three-and-outs, but the game ended near midfield when Thompson's scramble on fourth down came up short.
The loss was a tough one to take for Trojan players, coaches and fans, especially one week after shocking Farmerville in Farmerville to claim the District 2-2A title.
But it should not take away from the many positives the Trojans can take away from the season.
Ferriday is losing some quality seniors.
Southern University offensive line coach Paul Lounsberry was on the Ferriday sidelines during the game, watching Scott and asking about No. 55 (Jerome Ventress).
Lounsberry coached under Lou Holtz at South Carolina for five years ("A very enjoyable five years," he told me. "Working for Coach Holtz was quite an experience. He was a great coach and motivator.")
Lounsberry had just as many complimentary things to say about current Southern coach Stump Mitchell.
Hopefully, several of the Trojan players can continue to play at the next level. As for current Trojans, they can learn a lot from this season. While Ferriday is losing several playmakers, there is a great deal of talent returning, as well as some young promising athletes waiting on their chance to continue building on the tradition.
Chad Harkins got a late start getting his system and coaching staff in place.
But the groundwork was laid and there are plenty of bright spots to build on. And Harkins will tell you there are plenty of places to improve on, as well.
Losing in the first round is never easy to take, especially when your time is considered the favorite.
But it should give the next time more motivation to make sure that doesn't happen next year. And that starts now. Fortunately, the Trojans won't have to wait until the summer to find out who is in charge. They know what to expect. And, as usual, in Ferriday, the expectations will be high again. How the team and fans react to this setback will go a long way in making next year more memorable.
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