Johnson injured, Block falls to Hurricanes 66-7

Published 1:08 am Saturday, November 29, 2008

PORT SULPHUR, La. — Block head coach Benny Vault Jr. knew coming into Friday night’s Class 1A quarterfinal game against defending state champion and No. 1 seed South Plaquemines that several things would have to happen for the Bears to pull off the upset.

One would be not to turn the ball over. Another would be to run the football effectively and put points on the board — something the Hurricanes’ previous opponents could not do. And the defense would have to contain quarterback Ridge Turner and running back Lyle Fitte.

The good news was that No. 9 seed Block did get in the end zone on its first possession of the first quarter. The bad news was that the Bears could not stop the Hurricanes and the result was a 66-7 loss that ended their season with an 8-4 record.

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“They’re one of the fastest teams I’ve ever seen,” Vault said. “I didn’t know what to expect. They’re so fast. They run quick screens. We ran a counter play and both ends got to my quarterback before he could hand the ball off.”

And if the outcome wasn’t bad enough, Block junior quarterback Curdarius Johnson went down with an broken ankle that forced him to miss the rest of the game.

Vault said earlier in the week that he, unlike other coaches during South Plaquemines’ eight-game winning streak, would not be forced to change the offense and that he would run out of the double-wing with Hunter Key, VaShawn Davis and John Bloodsaw — regardless of how many players the Hurricanes put up at the line of scrimmage.

Not only that, Vault was hoping that Johnson would be able to throw the ball out of the double-wing to wide receivers A.J. Calhoun, Preston Bowman and Ladarrius Collins.

Yet Johnson’s injury couldn’t have occurred at a worse time for a Block team that was trying to prove that it could play with the best teams in Class 1A.

The Bears were moving the ball down the field and were at the Hurricanes’ 30-yard line. He suffered the ankle injury when it got rolled over on a running play in which he gained four yards. Vault then had to go to freshman Monté Washington.

“Once Curdarius went out, it deflated them a little bit,” Vault said. “Monté’s young. He completed two long passes before the half. He ran the offense the best he could.”

As for Turner and Fitte, Vault said, “Ridge didn’t throw the ball that much, but he ran the ball well. They’re real confident and cocky. They know they’re good. The first play (Hurricanes) scored on was a flea-flicker. They scored on a 90-yard kick.”

Even though Block’s season ended two games shy of the state championship game, Vault was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We had a courageous effort. I promise you we’ll be back. I’ve got 21 juniors coming back,” Vault said.

South Plaquemines (11-1) will take on No. 4 seed Haynesville in the semifinals next Friday. Haynesville improved to 10-2 after a hard-fought 16-10 win over No. 5 seed Oak Grove.