THE POST-SIGNAL / Jacob Dupuis
Crowley High’s Donald Francis darts into the end zone Thursday for one of his four touchdowns during the Gents’ 38-0 victory over Port Barre.
Francis’ big night propels Crowley past Port Barre
Donald Francis is a name the Port Barre Red Devils likely won’t soon forget.
Francis, a senior, haunted the Red Devils in every phase of the game and scored four touchdowns Thursday to help lead the Crowley Gents to a 38-0 victory on Port Barre’s Senior Night.
The victory sent the Gents to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in league play heading into their regular-season finale next Thursday against Pine Prairie
“Donald didn’t have the best game last week but he looked like he was on fire tonight,” said Wall of the senior two-way player, who struggled last week in the Gents’ 42-34 home loss to Church Point.
“He happened to be the right guy in the right place every time tonight and that was good to see.”
Francis scored twice on short runs with the goal line package in, hitting pay dirt from one and two yards, respectively.
However, he made his biggest impact on defense where he had a number of tackles for a loss, including a sack, and he picked up a fumble for a scoop-and-score in the third quarter.
And that wasn’t all he did.
On special teams play, Francis blocked a punt and also scored on another blocked punt from seven yards out.
“It was good to see him have a little pazazz back to him,” said Wall.
As dominant as he was, however, Francis was just one piece of a much larger puzzle for the Gents.
Desmond Harmon made his return after missing last week’s game with an injury and the senior defensive lineman was in Port Barre’s offensive backfield all night long. He logged a sack and a handful of tackles for a loss to lead the Gents’ defensive unit to their third shutout of the season.
“It was nice to have Dez back. He made a lot of plays tonight,” said Wall of Harmon. “He got cleared today (by the doctor) so we figured we’d play him sparingly, but he didn’t want to come off the field.”
Senior Perry Myles also made an impact with a handful of tackles and an interception in the first half. He also had a big punt return that would have gone for a 76-yard touchdown had it not been for an illegal block.
“Perry had a great game,” said Wall. “He probably should have scored on the interception, but he got tripped up and then he caught another bad break on the punt return. It was a clean block; with the new rules, you have to have your hands out on the block and we didn’t. It’s just one of those things but he did a great job.”
In all, Port Barre finished with minus 10 yards of offense and just two first downs.
The Red Devils benefited from a roughing the passer call midway through the second quarter for a first down and the only other time they moved the chains was with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run by Spencer Lanclos.
The Red Devils ran 27 times with 13 of those rushes going for negative yards.
“We didn’t give up much tonight,” said Wall of his defense. “They were on fire and they saw things well tonight. They were well prepared, the coaches did a good. We did what we were supposed to do.”
Offensively, the Gents finished with 245 total yards and 13 first downs.
Obadiah Butler, playing with a cast on his hand due to a broken finger, led the Gents’ rushing attack with 48 yards on 13 carries.
In order to spell Butler, Wall elected to give senior Paul Dugar, the Gents’ former quarterback, some reps in the backfield.
Dugar, plagued by injuries this fall, picked up 47 yards on nine carries while also logging time at defensive back.
“Paulie dotted the I a few times and we put him out and tried to get him the ball in space a few times,” said Wall of Dugar, who also had a reception for 23 yards.”Like I said: he’s a dynamic player when he’s healthy and he’s getting there.
“It was good to spread him around and look at some things that we can do with him.”
“With Marquis (Garrett) kind of taking the reigns at quarterback, that kind of gives Paulie the flexibility to be the good little athlete that he is. And with Obadiah’s hand injury, having Paulie to pick up some reps back there really helps.”
Garrett, the Gents sophomore quarterback, got in on the scoring action with an 8-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half. He rushed just four times for 12 yards and completed seven of 17 pass attempts for 81 yards. He hit senior Chris Lewis three times for 29 yards and Demarcus Dioron twice for 18. Jai’Rece Lewis also had one reception for 11 yards.
Another plus for the Gents on special teams play was kicker Wyatt Stelly, who connected on two extra point attempts and then lined up and drilled a 34-yard field goal for the final points of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
“We know Wyatt has the leg and we’ve been working on it (kicking game) all year,” said Wall. “He’s kicking the ball well right now and that will be big for us in the future if he can continue to do that.”
The Gents took control of the game in the first half, but it took them a little while to get going.
After turning the ball over on downs twice just ouside the red zone in the first four minutes, the Gents finally found pay dirt on Francis’ 1-yard score.
Markel Domino helped set up the Gents’ second touchdown shortly after when he sacked Port Barre quarterback Kenneth Martin on third down to set up a punt.
On the punt attempt, Harmon powered through blockers to block the kick and Francis picked up the loose pigskin to pick up his second score.
After forcing another punt, the Gents got the ball back at the Port Barre 34-yard line and ran eight plays before Francis hit the end zone on a 2-yard run.
The Gents’ final touchdown of the half was Garrett’s 8-yard run with 34 seconds remaining.
Francis added his final score of the game with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter on a fumble recovery to push the lead to 35-0.
From there, the game went to a running clock with Stelly’s late field goal being the only other score of the game.