“You have to give those guys credit,” DCS Head Coach Brett Raley said after the game. “We knew they would come in here and give us all we could handle. They did it the first game and they made us earn every yard tonight as well.”
This game was very similar to the first in all aspects, including the score with DCS winning 27-0.
The Bears may have even played better in this game than the first one and had several chances to change the momentum of the game.
However, just like game no. 1, the Gators converted their chances on offense and played just enough defense to secure the win. Delhi entered the redzone six times and scored only once, while Delhi Charter scored on all four trips.
Delhi (3-7) won the coin toss, but failed to get a first down. Following the punt, DCS took over and Randy Julian rambled 55 yards on the first play.
Later in the drive, quarterback Stuart Scurria lofted a 7-yard pass to Julian on fourth down and goal for the score. Jeremy Foote added the point after for a 7-0 lead.
On the next possession, the Bears answered after a Marvin Richardson 32-yard run to the Gator 19. Quarterback Desmond McDowell found Dantrell Polly on a 16-yard catch and run, but the extra point kick was blocked leaving the score 7-6 after one quarter. For the night, Polly finished with six catches for 79 yards.
The Gators jumped out to a big lead in the second quarter, but it wasn’t without some tense moments. On the third play of the period, fullback Hunter Simms appeared to score on a 28-yard run, but it was called back due to holding. Later, facing fourth-and-five from the Delhi 25, Scurria lofted a pass into the endzone that appeared to be intercepted by Aaron May. But as May was bobbling the ball, Heath Pruitt ripped it out of his hands and caught it to increase the DCS lead to 14-6 after the PAT.
McDowell’s pass on the Bears’ next series was tipped by Polly and then intercepted by Gabe Robinson at the DCS 37. He returned it to midfield and Delhi Charter appeared to have the momentum until two plays later, when Scurria and Simms mishandled the ball. Delhi’s Lee Gray scooped up the ball and rumbled 31 yards before being tackled by Julian at the Gator 19. The Bears returned the favor on the next play as Polly fumbled a pitch and DCS’ Riccie Gray recovered.
Julian, who finished the game with 210 yards on 25 carries, ripped off his longest TD run of the year with 3:50 remaining before the half to give DCS a 21-6 lead.
Delhi threatened again before halftime thanks to an unsuccessful onside kick by the Gators. Delhi quickly moved down to the 17 before the Gator defense thwarted the drive on fourth down when Robinson trapped Delhi’s Wynton Godbolt for a seven yard loss. Delhi Charter’s attempt to add more points just before halftime appeared to have serious consequences as Scurria scrambled on third and four from the 35.
As he dove toward the first down marker, he was met hard by Delhi’s Charles Gee. They hit helmet-to-helmet and both players lay motionless on the field for a couple of minutes. Thankfully, both walked off the field under their own power. Scurria returned to play the second half, while Gee remained on the sideline.
“That play with both kids laying on the field was pretty scary and luckily both of them were okay.” Raley commented. “I was afraid we would be a little flat coming off that big win over Mangham last week and I knew Delhi would give us fits. I told the kids at halftime we had to play better because they weren’t going to give up.”
The second half didn’t start out like Raley wanted. Following Simms’ fumble on the second play of the half, Delhi marched into the redzone for the first of three times in the half. The Bears had first and goal at the five and after two QB sneaks by McDowell, were at the DCS 1. On third down, Raley inserted senior tackle Corey Reese (6’3” 310lb) at noseguard and he and the line held McDowell out of the endzone on two more attempts to preserve the lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Delhi had first down at the DCS 11, but was stymied again after two runs for one yard and two incomplete passes. On the next possession, the Gators were driving after another long run by Julian, when Scurria appeared to throw his first interception of the year. However, the Bears were called for roughing the passer to keep the drive alive and Julian’s three yard run five plays later sealed the win.
The Bears last drive ended when Ben Gates intercepted McDowell, who passed for 164 yards, late in the quarter and returned it 69 yards before McDowell dragged him down to save the touchdown.
“This was just a strange week and this game just didn’t have the same playoff atmosphere with the rainy weather and a rematch game,” Raley added. “We’ve got to regroup and get focused for next week if we want to keep playing.”
The Gators improve to 10-1 on the year and in a little bit of a surprise, will travel to Delcambre, district champion from District 8-1A, to take on the Panthers. Delcambre (9-2) the #19 seed upset #14 LaSalle 35-22 thanks to a bruising running game. If DCS happens to get past this weeks game in south Louisiana, they could be headed for another rematch in the quarterfinals with the Mangham Dragons. Based on the results from this first round game against Delhi, I’m not sure if another rematch is good or bad.
Kickoff is slated for 7 this Friday night in Delcambre.