High school football: Plain Dealing loses heartbreaker in first round of 1A playoffs

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The Plain Dealing Lions lost a 42-38 heartbreaker to the Delhi Charter Gators in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs Friday night in Plain Dealing.

Plain Dealing, the No. 14 seed, closed the season 5-6, winning two more games than last season.

“It maybe exceeded some expectations and fell short in some others,” Plain Dealing head coach James Thurman said of the season. “It was just one of those deals where it could’ve been a lot worse but then could’ve been a lot better. It was a good season, definitely something we can be proud of.”

Delhi Charter (4-7), the No. 19 seed, will visit No. 3 White Castle in the second round.

The Lions led 38-34 in the fourth quarter. After the Tigers scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to take the 42-38 lead with about three minutes left in the game, Plain Dealing drove to a first down deep in Delhi Charter territory.

But on fourth-and-2, the Lions were stopped for a 3-yard loss.

“It was back and forth,” Thurman said. “Both offenses were pretty much not stopped for most of the night. We kind of figured the last one with the ball would have a chance to win.

“It was a good, hard-fought game. It was one of those deals where we just didn’t stop them when we needed to and when we needed to punch it in we kind of blew it.”

Plain Dealing scored on a 70-yard Ken Gay touchdown pass on the third play of the game. The game was the final high school one for Gay, who passed for more than 2,000 yards.

Other than a turnover and the final drive, the Lions scored on every possession.

One of the Gators’ touchdowns came on a kickoff return on one of the few times Plain Dealing kicked deep all season. The Lions almost always attempt onside kicks.

The Gators threw only two passes, including one on a two-point conversion, in the game.

“That quarterback and running back were the real deal,” Thurman said. “Those two were the only two to touch the ball all night. They were in the shotgun. They’d hand it to the running back one play. The next play they’d fake it to the running back and the quarterback would keep it.”

Dekevion McGee was one of a handful of Plain Dealing seniors who played their final game. He was a defensive starter for two years. Friday night, he also started on offensive.

“He doesn’t play offense much at all,” Thurman said. “I don’t think he likes to play offense but our starting guard kind of had a little bit of a back twinge this week. He decided he was going to step up and play. Played both ways all night, and actually had a good game.

“We ran the ball very well all night right at the point of attack, right behind him, so it was a great way for him to go out as a senior, to never come off the field, giving it his all on offense and defense. I was real proud of him.”