Sacred Heart quarterback Wesley Launey (5) tries to pick up big yardage against Ville Platte High in the Tee Cotton Bowl Friday night, while Keiran Thomas (57) and Alex Griffith (56) give chase. Sacred Heart defeated Ville Platte 20-7 to take home the Tee Cotton Bowl title for the second year in a row. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
VILLE PLATTE -- A lot of times the game does not live up to the hype.
That was not the case here Friday night, as the Sacred Heart Trojans downed the Ville Platte Bulldogs 20-7 in an old fashioned street fight to take home the Tee Cotton Bowl trophy for the second year in a row.
As the game progressed, every one in the stands was harkened back to the days when the two teams competing on the field ran right at each other and played knock down, drag out defense.
Think football from the 60’s and 70’s and you have Tee Cotton Bowl XV.
“I knew this game was going to be a grind,” Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper stated after the game. “This game was a battle. Last year we went into their house and picked up a win. I knew Ville Platte was coming in this year with a different mind set. This was one of those old fashioned slobber knocker games.”
To emphasize that point, the Trojans ran 57 offensive plays, with 49 of those coming on the ground. Ville Platte High put up 51 plays on offense, rushing it on 29 of those occasions.
Sacred Heart will host rival St. Ed’s Friday, while Ville Platte will take on Pine Prairie at Ville Platte High on Friday.
Despite the slugfest, perhaps the biggest play of the first half came on special teams. After receiving the opening kickoff, Ville Platte was unable to pick up the initial first down of the game had to punt the ball away.
Sacred Heart’s Wesley Launey hauled the ball in and raced 63 yards down the field before being tackled at the Ville Platte seven-yard line. Three plays later, Trojan running back Alec Gotro bolted in from four yards out to put Sacred Heart on the board at the 9:28 mark of the first quarter.
The extra point was no good off of the foot of Launey, but the Trojans owned an early 6-0 lead.
Two penalties on Ville Platte’s next possession prevented the Bulldogs from gaining much ground and forced them to punt the ball back to Sacred Heart. The Trojans took over at the Ville Platte 39-yard line after the kick and moved the ball down to the 21-yard line.
However, the Bulldog defense stiffened and shut down Sacred Heart on a fourth and three pass play.
The two teams traded punts on their ensuing drives. After a Trojan punt, Ville Platte found themselves with the ball at their 42-yard line.
Needing to get things going on offense, the Bulldogs found some relief in the their run game. Junior running back Jahmal Byers was finally able to find some space behind the Ville Platte offensive line and ripped off 27 yards in two of the first three plays of the possession.
Getting the ball down to the Trojan 30-yard line, the Bulldogs faced a third and nine situation. Quarterback Brandon Veazie showed off his athleticism, rolling to his right and buying enough time for wide out Tyler Jones to come free in the Sacred Heart secondary.
Veazie made a perfect delivery to Jones, and the junior receiver hauled the ball into his hands only to stroll into the end zone untouched for the score. Veazie added the extra point and with 9:42 left to go in the half, Ville Platte led 7-6.
The Trojans did not seem to be intimated by the Ville Platte touchdown, as they blasted their way down to the Bulldog one-yard line in five plays on their very next possession. The big play of the drive, a 33 yard run by Gotro, occurred on the opening play.
However, the Ville Platte defense came up huge, causing Launey to fumble the ball just as he was about the hit pay dirt. The Bulldogs pounced on the ball in the end zone, creating a touch back.
Ville Platte could not do much with the ball after the fumble, falling back to their 10-yard line and having to punt the ball away.
Sacred Heart took advantage of the good field position after the punt. Taking over at the Bulldog 37-yard line, the Trojans rushed the ball eight times in a row. On play eight, Launey squeezed in from three yards out for the score. The extra point was good and with 2:12 to go in the half, Sacred Heart climbed back on top 13-7.
That score would remain as the two teams headed into the locker room.
The third quarter saw much of the same, with the two teams delivering blow after blow. Both Sacred Heart and Ville Platte were able to reach deep inside the other’s territory throughout the quarter and into the fourth, but neither were able to capitalize because of several miscues by both squads.
Late in the fourth quarter with a little over six minutes to go, Ville Platte gained possession of the ball at their 33-yard line after a Trojan fumble. Facing third and ten at that same spot on the field, Veazie once again unleashed a ball down field that was hauled in by Ernest Roberts at the Sacred Heart 23-yard line.
On the very next play, Byers took a handoff around the right side of the Trojan defense and barreled his way down to the one-yard line. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, a holding penalty negated what could have been a chance at another touchdown for Ville Platte.
From that play on, the Bulldogs could not get the offense together and had to turn the ball over to Sacred Heart on downs.
Taking over at their 39-yard line, the Trojans began to wear down the Ville Platte defense and marched 61 yards in seven plays to score the final points of the game, as Gotro scooted in from nine yards out on first and goal. Launey tacked on the extra point to make the score 20-7.
“We told the players after the game that they really played hard,” said Ville Platte head coach Jorie Randle. “One positive thing for us is that some younger guys were able to step up and give us some big minutes. I thought our defense played extremely well. Offensively, we just had too many miscues. It was a tremendous game. Hats off to Sacred Heart, they are a good team and they fought for it and rightfully won it.”
Gotro led all Trojan rushers with 12 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Launey tacked on 69 yards on 16 carries and a score
Byers wound up with 73 yards on 15 carries, while Veazie was three for 18 passing for 47 yards and one touchdown. Jones hauled in two passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.