Leading by 13 at the half, the Plain Dealing Lions seemed poised to upset the West St. John Rams in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A playoffs Friday night in Edgard.
But it didn’t happen. The No. 3 seed Rams scored four second-half touchdowns and rallied for a 35-20 victory.
Sixth-seeded Plain Dealing closed one of the best seasons in school history at 9-3. The Lions made their first quarterfinal appearance since 1997 and it was the school’s first nine-win season since 1991.
“It was a good year,” Brotherton said. “The seniors are walking out of here with 30 wins under their belts. That’s a lot for a graduating class. The seniors are a big part of where our program is at now and hopefully the young guys can build on that and improve on it.”
West St. John (10-2) will travel to defending state champion Haynesville in the semifinals.
Senior quarterback Logan Allen, who finished his career with more than 5,000 yards passing, scored Plain Dealing’s first touchdown on a 1-yard sneak. Keldrick Carper set up the TD with a kickoff return to the Rams 12.
The PAT failed and the Lions trailed 7-6. Carper scored the other two touchdowns on runs after taking a direct snap from center.
West St. John quarterback Jemoine Green threw two touchdown passes to 6-foot-4 Morrell Bartholomew in the second half. The Rams tied the game at 20 on a pass from Green to Lamore Boudoin. They kicked the extra point after getting a personal foul penalty.
Two of West St. John’s second-half touchdowns came on fourth down. The Rams converted six fourth-down situations in the half.
“In the first half we got a bunch of key stops,” Brotherton said. “When you get down to it, they made more big plays than we did.”
The Rams defense stepped up in the second half, too, holding Plain Dealing to just two first downs.
Including Allen, the game was the final one for eight seniors — Deandre Coleman, Desean Morris, Isaac Jacobs, Jaylyn Woods, Jarvis Washington, Weston Bates and Desmond Stromile.
Jacobs, who had a streak of 18 games with a touchdown catch snapped, will be especially hard to replace. He was also one of the team’s top defensive players from his secondary position.
But the Lions should have big-play man Carper back along with linebackers Herb McCauley and Bijan Mitchell.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com