High school football: Defense, strong second half lift Haughton past Ouachita Parish in 5A first-round game

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A stout defensive performance and dominant second half on both sides of the ball lifted the Haughton Bucs to a 28-7 victory over Ouachita Parish in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night at Harold E. Harlan Stadium.

Haughton (9-2), the No. 11 seed, will travel to Lafayette to face No. 27 Comeaux (6-5) in the second round. Comeaux upset No. 6 Slidell 41-14 Friday night.

Haughton had one of the tougher first-round games for a higher-seeded team. Ouachita Parish (5-6), seeded 22nd, is a member of a very strong District 2-5A. The Lions were competitive with most of the district’s top teams.

“That was a big win for us right there,” said Haughton coach Jason Brotherton, who has a team in the second round for the second straight year.

The score was tied at 7 at the half. The Bucs took control in the third quarter with a long, time-consuming drive capped by quarterback Peyton Stovall’s 1-yard run.

“We were just able to play from ahead at that point — run the ball, control the clock — and then we hit a couple of big passes,” Brotherton said.

Stovall returned to action after basically missing the last three games. He suffered an ankle injury very early in Week 7 against Captain Shreve.

Senior receiver CJ McWilliams, who was injured in the second half against Shreve, also was back in action after missing the last two games.

He caught a 6-yard touchown pass from Stovall with 1:06 left in the game.

“They both played, and both played well,” Brotherton said. “Peyton made some great throws there, especially in the second half to make some big plays.”

One of those was a 42-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Whitten that gave the Bucs a 21-7 lead with 6:13 left in the game.

Stovall completed 13 of 21 passes for 148 yards. He also rushed for 43 yards.

Whitten had five catches for 77 yards. McWilliams had six for 45.

Haughton also got its running game going. Senior Keyshawn Davis gained 149 yards on 28 carries and scored the Bucs’ first touchdown on a 20-yard run in the second quarter.

“I think the story of the game is that we just controlled the line of scrimmage,” Brotherton said. “Our line did a great job and we were able to run the football.”

Brotherton said the defense simply continued to perform as it has all season.

“The defense played great,” he said. “I don’t think they had 200 yards of offense. We just played great on defense like we have really all year long.”

Per Haughton stats, the Lions finished with 174 yards, including just 48 on the ground.