Sicily Island steadily progressing as varsity play approaches
Published 12:04 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014
In its last season as a junior varsity-only squad, Sicily Island was one drive away from pulling off the upset against Franklin Parish Tuesday night.
Facing a six-point deficit with 40 seconds to play, senior quarterback Ryan Mason dropped back to pass, looking for his favorite target, Larry Plummer. Mason’s pass was intercepted by Franklin Parish, who iced the game in the victory formation afterward. Following the game’s conclusion, Mason accepted the blame for the pass, but the team’s morale remained positive after the 22-16 defeat.
“We can whine and say that we played a 4A school, but to everybody we’re such a small school,” Mason said. “We were 5-5 last season, and the way we’ve competed this season is progress.”
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With the loss, the Tigers fall to 3-2 on the season, but head coach Damon Price echoed his veteran quarterback’s statements.
“(Franklin Parish) hasn’t lost in three years in junior varsity, and they’re a 4A School,” Price said. “I love what I saw out here. We had a few mistakes, but I’m still proud of my kids. We have a long ways to go.”
The Tigers raced out to an 8-point lead after Courtney Boatner intercepted a pass and took it 41 yards for a score. Mason hit Plummer for the 2-point conversion. The Tigers took a 16-6 lead in the second quarter after freshman running back Jameon Tolliver went 44 yards on a touchdown scamper. Chris Polk scored on a freestyle shovel pass from Mason on the 2-point conversion.
“It was supposed to be a flare, but it wasn’t open and he broke back in front of me, so I pitched it ahead to him,” said Mason, who eluded tacklers in the backfield on the 2-point play.
Tolliver led the Tigers in rushing with 127 rushing yards. He nearly gave the Tigers a late fourth quarter score when he raced down the sidelines, toward the end zone.
“I had good blocks, and I cut it up,” Tolliver said. “I thought I was gone.”
Sicily Island allowed Franklin Parish to tie the game before the half after Franklin Parish completed a touchdown pass with 1:26 to play and recovered a muffed snap in the end zone for a safety with 12 seconds remaining in the half.
“That took a lot of momentum from us going into the half,” Price said.
Franklin Parish ended up winning the game on a last-minute drive to go up 22-16 with three minutes to play in the game. After the loss, Price said the game will serve as another building block for what he hopes to be a successful transition to LHSAA Class 1A in 2015.
“We had a chance to win, but we just fell short,” said Price, whose team will play varsity ball next season. “It’s part of playing.”