Method to Beesley’s madness; DC’s misdirecton gave Trinity problems

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2003

Those unaware of the stakes of Friday night’s Region 4-1A matchup between Cathedral and Bogue Chitto had to be wondering what Green Wave head coach Ken Beesley was thinking when he passed with 14 seconds left deep in his own territory and up 18-14.

All that was required was a knee to lock up a spot in next week’s playoffs.

But knowing he needed his Wave to defeat the Bobcats by nine to ensure a home playoff game the first round, Beesley called for a little trickery with the hook-and-ladder.

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It nearly came back to haunt him.

&uot;I’m a gambler anyway,&uot; Beesley said. I debated on whether to go for it or take a knee, but I said ‘if we’re going for second place, let’s go get it.’&uot;

Quarterback Turner Smith connected to receiver Michael Blain, who proceeded to lateral it back to another Greenie.

During the pitch, the ball went live and Bogue Chitto recovered with six seconds left inside the Cathedral 35 for one final shot.

Fortunately, Bobcat quarterback Michael Blackwell was blindsided and sacked by Cathedral linebacker Brock Vines, who had a huge game with nine solo tackles and 10 assists.

LOW TIDE &045; For one of the first times all season, Cathedral’s potent offense was grounded in the second half and held to no points.

It was a stark contrast from the first 24 minutes in which the Green Wave served notice with a opening drive to take an early 7-0 lead.

Jonathan Jackson’s second touchdown of the game with 33 seconds left in the second quarter extend Cathedral’s lead to 18-6 at the break.

From there the Wave did not score another point, despite three second-half possessions where they were on Bogue Chitto’s side of the field.

&uot;The thing that surprised me the most was that they were able to keep us from scoring in the second half,&uot; Beesley sad. &uot;I’ve got to give credit of how good a job they did on defense.&uot;

MORE SPEED &045; There’s no doubt Trinity Episcopal’s Dudley Guice Jr. is one of the fastest guys in MPSA Class A, but the Saints’ Gregory Ketchings made his push for the same class with his rushing effort Friday against Deer Creek.

Guice hurt the Warriors early in the game, but later Ketchings ran through their defense like soup through a fork and netted 242 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

&uot;He was a big factor in the ball game,&uot; said DC head coach Jay Murphree, a former head coach at Huntington. &uot;We couldn’t wrap up a couple of times when we had him, and a couple of times he out-ran us. There’s not a lot you could do about that.&uot;

In their first game without senior running back Chase Brown, the Saints went to Ketchings on the first three plays of the second half, and on the third one he broke a 37-yard run for a score for a 20-13 lead.

He had a 30-yard run in the fourth quarter that got the Saints to the DC 20. That’s where cousin Walt Ketchings cleaned up with a 15-yard TD run with 2:38 left for the game-winning score.

&uot;Our seniors stepped up on that last drive and made things happen,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;Gregory ran the ball well. They were taking Dudley away with that safety (covering him), so we beat them with the ground game.&uot;

WHO HAD IT? &045; Give Murphree and Deer Creek’s offense credit for the offensive attack against a strong Trinity defense. The Saints’ Tres Atkins had a standout game, but the defense at times had trouble picking up who had the ball and who didn’t.

The Warriors ran with a two-back set mostly, but the fakes and misdirection had some defenders at times tackling empty-handed players.

And they were confident, too. Late in the game after the Saints’ drive stalled at the DC 9, the Warriors were held to a fourth-and-1 at their own 19 and went for it &045; probably the most gutsy call against the Saints all season.

Chris Welch picked up a 7-yard gain on the carry for the first down. The Warriors, however, didn’t get a first down after that and punted on fourth and 7.

&uot;A lot of misdirection and a lot of good stuff that we knew was going to cause some problems,&uot; King said. &uot;They ran some good stuff and stayed patient. Jay did a good job with that group. It was a tough playoff atmosphere where both teams didn’t want to end their season. I feel sorry for Deer Creek because they gave us a heck of a ball game.&uot;

THEY’RE NO. 1 Š LIKELY &045; Sterlington has been the immovable force for Vidalia this season.

While the two teams have not faced one another this season, the Panthers have been a thorn in the Vikings’ side in 2003 after occupying the top of the Class 2A totem poll since August while Vidalia sat at No. 2 patiently.

Patience is apparently a virtue, as all the Vikings did was extend their regular-season win streak to 19 games and waited for Sterlington to slip up.

A 26-23 Rayville upset Friday provided that window for Vidalia to move atop all of 2A heading into its cross-parish rivalry with Ferriday Friday.

Democrat sports editor

Adam Daigle

contributed to this report.