November 20, 2017

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First American Southwest Conference Victory for Coach Justin Charles

It may have taken a couple more games than initially expected, but Louisiana College first-year, head coach Justin Charles got his first American Southwest Conference victory on Saturday night. The Wildcats used a dominant second quarter to propel themselves to a 52-34 Homecoming victory, snapping a four game conference skid. The Wildcats play the first of two consecutive road trips next week starting with ASC rival, East Texas Baptist.

It took only one play for the Wildcats to get on the board in the first quarter after both teams traded punts to start the game. Starting the drive at their own 45-yard line, quarterback D’Ondre Joseph found receiver Drake Battaglia as he tip-toed down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown pass, putting the Cats on top 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

After a touchdown drive from the War Hawks tied the game, LC once again moved the ball quickly down the field on two chunk gains from Leondre James and running back Aaron Woods. Joseph threw his second touchdown of the game to Shedrick Davis for 15-yards and gave the Wildcats the lead once again. At that point the momentum had swung in the Wildcats favor and would remain on the LC sideline for the rest of the half.

Orel Ledet Jr. intercepted his second pass in as many games, and fell just three yards shy of another touchdown on the return before being tackled. A reverse handoff to receiver D.J. Latino fooled the defense, allowing him to walk into the endzone for the first touchdown of the second quarter for the Cats. McMurry found space in the middle of the field on an 87-yard touchdown pass, but that did not disrupt the rhythm of the LC offense. On the next drive the Wildcats eased the ball down the field and Joseph found Battaglia once again for a touchdown, this time from 20-yards out, to increase the cushion back to two touchdowns.

The third score of the second quarter came on LC’s next possession when Aaron Woods found his first rushing touchdown of the season, finishing off a 59-yard run by D’Ondre Joseph the play prior. The Wildcats weren’t done with the assault there, as a quality read by Joseph on an option play saw the middle of the defense open wide for an easy walk in touchdown for the fourth touchdown of the second quarter and a 42-14 Wildcat lead. Only the clock would stop the Wildcats in the second quarter as the Wildcats scored every time they touched the ball during those 15 minutes of play. LC snapped the ball 18 times in the second quarter and scored 28 points.

Despite the huge halftime deficit, the War Hawks refused to give in and worked their way back into contention with 14 consecutive points in the third quarter. With the score 42-28 and McMurry back with the football looking to cut the lead down to just one touchdown, the LC defense stepped up with their second turnover of the night. A strip-sack fumble by senior Cade Maxwell knocked the ball from quarterback Kevin Hurley Jr’s hand only to be picked up by freshman Julius Johnson and returned to the McM 8-yard line. The Wildcats would punch it in the endzone two plays later on a touchdown pass to Davis, his second of the night.

The Wildcats extended their comfortable lead on their first drive of the fourth quarter, when Curtis Sebren knocked through a 32-yard field goal, his seventh made field goal of the season. The War Hawks had one more touchdown in them later in the quarter, but the explosive Wildcats second quarter was too much for them to overcome as the Wildcats picked up two first downs to ice the game on the final drive to secure the Homecoming victory.

D’Ondre Joseph was responsible for 298 yards of offense in the game, throwing for 181 on 14-of-26 and rushing for 117. He threw four touchdowns in the game and rushed for another. Aaron Woods had a breakout performance for the Wildcats, carrying the ball 25 times for 171 yards and one score. Drake Battaglia and Shed Davis each caught two touchdowns in the game. Orel Ledet Jr. and Julius Johnson both had nine tackles on the night, with Ledet picking off his third pass of the year. Cade Maxwell made seven stops, including 2.0 sacks and forcing a fumble.

The Wildcats improve to 2-4 overall on the year and 1-4 in ASC play. They will travel to Marshall, TX next weekend for a rivalry matchup with ETBU in “The Battle of the Border Claw”. Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm and can be heard live on 104.3 FM The Bridge.

About Andy Bryson 548 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach