Semi-sweet shutout: Trojans headed to semifinals for first time since 1995

Published 1:57 am Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ferriday High School made Friday’s win over Red River look like a piece of cake, and it was definitely semisweet.

The second-ranked Trojans (11-2) booked their ticket to next week’s LHSAA Class 2A semifinals with a 52-0 stomping of the No. 10 Bulldogs, limiting its opponent to minus 3 yards of total offense.

“This was huge,” Ferriday coach Stanley Smith said. “I challenged them this week, and it turned out to be successful tonight. To be in the quarterfinals and get a shutout, it’s tremendous.”

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Ferriday — who has had trouble this season getting off to a quick start — wasted no time Friday finding a spark.

On the Bulldogs’ fifth play from scrimmage, Red River quarterback Gakerreon McDonald bobbled the snap and was swarmed by Trojan defenders from every angle. McDonald lost control of the ball, and Ferriday’s Dare Rosenthal was there to scoop it up for the 34-yard touchdown.

“When he picked it up, I knew he was going to score,” Smith said. “He is a big guy, but he is agile and can run.

“For us to get that on the first drive, it just was contagious.”

While Rosenthal said he saw nothing but end zone, he didn’t think his team needed his score as motivation.

“We were already going,” he said. “We’ve been going all day.”

After the senior put the Trojans on the board less than two minutes into the game, Rosenthal’s fellow Louisiana State University commit Dantrieze Scott added another score on a 14-yard pass from Kobe Dillon on Ferriday’s next drive.

After that, Ferriday didn’t need to pass the ball as Da’Minya Milligan and Jerrius Scott shared touches from the backfield, each ending the night with two rushing touchdowns. Jerrius Scott rushed for 119 yards on 13 carries, while Milligan added 72 yards on 14 rushes.

“Right now, I think we have the best 1-2 punch around,” Smith said. “They feed off each other, and I think they compliment each other really well.”

Ferriday’s offense was aided tremendously by a front that created wide openings for its backs, ending with 314 yards on the ground.

“We always wanted to be able to line up and run the ball. That’s our philosophy,”

Smith said. “We have some great backs, and we want to be able to use them. The offensive line came out tonight, and they have been doing a great job the past few weeks.”

As the Trojans handled the game offensively, they were helped just as equally on the defensive side.

Ferriday’s defense forced seven turnovers in the win — three fumbles and four interceptions.

Ferriday ended with 11 tackles for loss as a team and held Red River to just five first downs.

“We wanted to be sound and execute,” Smith said. “We did that tonight.”

Ferriday’s final score came on a 43-yard run from Dillon.

With the win, Ferriday marks its first trip to the semifinals since 1995. The Trojans will host No. 6 St. Helena after it defeated No. 3 Amite Friday, 35-32.

Now just one game away from a trip to the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Smith said he is more excited than anything.

“We are here right now,” he said. “Everyone came and played with emotion tonight. We are just trying to build our momentum up to next week, and I can’t wait to get to work.”