Central Beat Ponchatoula 52-28 in 1st Round Playoffs, Hosts Mandeville Friday
No. 4-Ranked Central (10-1) Plays No. 13-Ranked Mandeville (9-2)
by Woody Jenkins, editor
CENTRAL — The Central Wildcats pounded Ponchatoula for 52 first half points in last Friday’s first round of the state 5A playoffs, took their foot off the gas in the second half, and won a 52-28 victory.
This Friday, Central will host Mandeville in Week Two of the playoffs.
For Central head coach Sid Edwards, the Ponchatoula game was everything he hoped for. “Our team came out on fire. They executed well. It’s the kind of effort you need in the playoffs.”
Edwards said it was a team victory for the Wildcats but he did see a decisive turning point in the second quarter when Gary Triplett ran back a Ponchatoula kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. This was followed by an onside kick, which the Wildcats recovered. Ponchatoula was never in the game after that.
Coach Sid praised the play of Triplett and quarterback Brett Courville, who lived up to predictions that he should be considered for the All-State team. Edwards called him the “Triggerman” in the Wildcats’ deadly offense.
Statistics provided by Tyler Wales showed Courville ran for 144 yards on 8 attempts for two touchdowns. He had one touchdown run of 67 yards. He also passed 15 times for 10 completions, 168 yards, and two other touchdowns.
Triplett ran for 80 yards on six carries for a 13.3 yard average. He scored one touchdown rushing.
Lamonte Janeau rushed 13 times for 99 yards, including a spectacular 80-yard touchdown run.
Looking ahead to this Friday night’s game, Coach Sid said Mandeville is “the complete team.” “I see no weaknesses in the Mandeville team,” he said.
“Their offensive line is as good as any we’ve seen,” he said. “Their receivers and running backs are excellent. They have a tremendous quarterback.”
“Their quarterback is the catylist who makes things happen. He extends the life of a play. He really puts the defense in a bind.”
Mandeville is 9-2. Their losses came to District Champion St. Paul, 16-13 in overtime, and to Catholic High. They beat East Ascension.
They beat Ponchatoula, 28-7.
Coach Sid warns that Mande-ville has eight returning starters from last year’s team that beat Ruston 28-0 and was down by only six points to West Monroe with five minutes left in the game. West Monroe eventually won the state championship.
Here is a comparison of the strengths of the two teams:
Central has an opportunistic defense that makes things happen and likes to take away the football. The offense has speed. The offensive line has cohesiveness. Overall, the Wildcats are a team that finds a way to win. They’re a lucky team, and they make a lot of their luck.
Strong defense. The offense is extremely well coached. Basically, this means each player fulfills his assignment and the team as a whole meets its potential.
Coach Sid said, “Mandeville gets the most out of their talent. I don’t mean they are playing over their head. What I mean is they are a very talented team and they perform at the level that they are expected to perform.”
Last week’s altercation. After the officials had left the field last Friday night, the Central and Ponchatoula players were shaking hands. Then suddenly, one of the Ponchatoula players threw a punch at Central’s Devon Gales. The punch was unprovoked, and it started an altercation that lasted perhaps 15 seconds.
This week, after both teams had a chance to review the film, officials from Ponchatoula High called to apologize.
The Central players appeared completely blameless, but there is always concern about an altercation, even though your team is completely in the right, simply because schools that are the victims of aggression are sometimes punished.
Good Sportsmanship. Coach Sid reminds all Central fans to be good hosts and make the Mandville players and fans feel welcome. But don’t forget to scream your heads off, he suggests.