After falling behind by three touchdowns in the first six minutes, the Plain Dealing Lions more than held their own with the defending Class 1A state champion Haynesville Golden Tornado Friday night in Haynesville.
The Lions got within a touchdown in the fourth quarter and had first-and-goal, but the Tors held and went on to win 26-12 in a battle for the District 1-1A title.
Plain Dealing (8-2, 4-1), which had a six-game winning streak snapped, could receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Haynesville (9-1, 5-0) will receive a bye. Official pairings will be announced Sunday.
“We played good,” Plain Dealing coach Coy Brotherton said. “Defending state champ and we went toe to toe with them for 48 minutes. And both teams were worn out at the end I can assure you.
“We can take a lot of positives out of it moving into the playoffs. It hurts to lose and you have a chance to win the district title and didn’t but if you can play with Haynesville, you can play with anybody that we’re going to see in the playoffs so we’re kind of glad about that.”
This was by far the most competitive game between the two teams in Brotherton’s four years as head coach. Haynesville won the first three by a combined 126-27.
It looked like the game would be one-sided again early.
Haynesville scored on its opening drive. After the Lions couldn’t move on their first possession, the Tors hit a long play-action pass that set up their second TD. Their third TD came on a long run helped by a couple of missed tackles.
“After that the guys kind of settled in and they kind of rallied around each other and kept believing and we were able to get stops,” Brotherton said.
The Lions got on the board in the second quarter on a 17-yard pass from Logan Allen to Isaac Jacobs. Haynesville led 18-6 at the half.
After Plain Dealing recovered a muffed punt in the third quarter, Allen hit Keldrick Carper for a 29-yard score to make it 18-12.
With about 3:30 left in the game, the Lions looked like they might tie or go ahead, driving to the first-and-goal.
A penalty and a sack moved the ball back. On fourth down, Allen threw to Jacobs in the end zone.
“We thought we had it there for a minute,” Brotherton said. “They just knocked the ball out of Isaac’s hands at the last second.”
A couple of plays later, the Tors sealed the victory with a long touchdown run.
Allen completed 12 of 30 passes for 188 yards. He finished the regular season 163 of 283 for 2,575 yards and 28 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
Jacobs caught seven passes for 134 yards and extended his streak of games with a TD catch to 17. He finished the regular season with 63 catches for 995 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Jacobs also led the defense with 9.5 tackles from his free safety position. Linebacker Bijan Mitchell had nine tackles and Weston Bates recovered a fumble.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org