Chalmette uses big plays for victory

Nov 18th, 2013 | By | Category: Sports
Team players and fans celebrated their exciting 36-27 win at the end of the game. Photos by Michael B. Chutz

Team players and fans celebrated their exciting 36-27 win at the end of the game. Photos by Michael B. Chutz

By J. Bickford

After a two-week period of extreme highs from a huge upset victory over
West Jefferson and a devastating low from a loss a week ago to previous winless Bonnabel when four Owl starters missed the game, Chalmette closed its district and 2013 football season with an exciting 36-27 win over Higgins which featured a 21-0 Owl offensive explosive lead
only to have to depend upon a pair of fourth quarter game-changing plays – one a long touchdown pass from Timmy Alphonso to Malik Blaise of 36 yards and the other a prostyle ball-stripping tackle  a scoop and fumble recovery return of 55 yards for a two TD lead.

Finally, Connor Lambert – the game’s leading offensive producer who ran for 148 yards and scored twice – sealed the win with an end zone interception followed by
several first down producing power runs to close out the game after Higgins had scored a late TD and was on its way to attempting to tie the score.

Coach Jason Tucker’s squad jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead with a couple of time-consuming run-based drives behind Lambert and Alphonso and the third one on the first play of the second quarter to overwhelm the visiting Hurricanes for a 21-0 lead from Lambert’s second TD plunge last Friday night as Chalmette celebrated Senior Night for all those students associated with the football program.

Higgins came into Bobby Nuss Stadium with a strong team that Chalmette had not defeated during Tucker’s tenure as the Owls head coach. It was the first time Chalmette had ever defeated Higgins at Bobby Nuss Stadium. Lambert led all rushers with 148 yards on 26 runs and he added a big play on defense by interception a Higgins aerial in the Owl end zone to preserve Chalmette’s win and keep the Hurricanes from staging a comeback victory. The junior multi-purpose player who was injured early in the first quarter against West Jeff and didn’t play against Bonnabel was able to heal for the season’s finale’. His missing the Bonnabel game probably played a major role in the Owls’ loss when the Owls were unable to move the ball on the ground without any consistency.

Up until the West Jeff game he had run for over a 100 yards starting with the fourth game of the season in a 21-20 win over Lakeshore where he produced 111 yards on 11 runs, then set a season and career best against Belle Chasse with 155 yards on the ground from his 24 carries, and following his best running game with 103 yards on 13 rushes in the first district battle against John Ehret and produced a fourth straight game of over 100 yards as he reached 129 yard mark on 29 runs against Helen Cox, before being injured early in the first quarter and his team’s first drive where he ran for 17 yards on three carries before having to sit out the rest of the game as well as against Bonnabel.

As a full-time running back, Lambert ran for more than 100 yards in each of the five games including the season finale’. He finished his junior season with 707 yards on 117 runs and scored eight times on the ground. In fact the last time Chalmette defeated Higgins was 1998 when Eric Collins completed his first season as Chalmette’s head football coach for a 43-42 victory at Hoss Memtsas Stadium. Key players defensively for the Owls were linebacker Austin Bergeron who finished with 11 stops including five solos while Brandon Tuesno gave support with 10 stops with a tackle for loss and Scott making nine tackles including three for losses as well as the caused fumble and returning it for the key score of 55 yards.

Kendrick Tinson added six tackles with all but one solos while Blake Walker made five stops with David Smith, Connor Danna and Brandon Major contributing four each.

All three scoring drives in the first half featured Lambert and senior QB Timmy Alphonso whofinished the game with 68 yards on 14 runs and one
score. He did throw for 71 yards including one TD of 36 yards. His receivers dropped two passes that would have given him a near perfect game in the air and probably would have added another long TD pass if it had not been dropped.

Jayvon Lewis bolted for his longest run of the season with a 41-yard gallop as he finished with 51 yards on three carries. Junior kicker Juan Esparza boot- ed all four of his extra point kicks and returns next year to see if he can improve upon his season-best field goal of 41 yards and a sky-kick style kickoffs to help prevent any long kickoff returns or TDs.

Chalmette opened the game against Higgins with a 62-yard TD drive with all plays coming on the ground and the first Owl TD scored with 8:21 to play in the first quarter. The Owls then put on an on-sides kickoff which they recovered and drove 52 yards for its second TD, again with all plays coming on the ground and the second TD was scored with 5:34 remaining in the first period.

In Higgins first offensive possession, the Owl defense forced the Hurricanes to punt and the Owls would follow with another scoring drive covering 63 yards and it came with 11:22 of the second quarter. This time the Owls added a 35-yard pass play from Alphonso to senior wide receiver Andrew Berthelot as a key play in the drive to set up Lambert’s second TD run of the game.

Chalmette continued a strong defensive game as Higgins’ second possession was halfted on fourth down and the Owls took over at its own one-yard line.

A Owl receiver dropped a sure catch that started from its own 15-yard line which was a wide-open play and easily could have resulted in a record-setting TD pass, but the ball was dropped. Chalmette had to punt, but Higgins blocked it and it resulted in the Hurricanes first score.

Higgins forced the Owls to punt again and the visitors came roaring back with its second TD and a close game was in the works.

In the third quarter Austin Bergeron stopped a Higgins fourth down play at the Owl three, but Higgins stopped the Owls and it came back to tie the score at 21-all.

Chalmette took the lead on a 36-yard aerial from Alphonso to Blaise and Alphonso ran in the 2-point PAT for an eight-point lead.

Later, Scott made a fantastic defensive play, tackling a Higgins runner for a loss, forced a fumble, stripped the ball away and picked up the fumble and rambled 55 yards for his first touchdown of his career. A defensive gem by Lambert would seal Chalmette’s win with three minutes left in the game.

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