Untimely ending: Ferriday falls in semifinals to St. Helena on untimed touchdown, 12-6

Published 1:11 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

Time was not on the side of Ferriday High School Friday night — literally.

The Trojans surrendered their chance at a trip to the LHSAA Class 2A State Championship, falling to St. Helena 12-6 on an untimed last-play touchdown pass.

Hawks wide receiver Fred Muse caught the winning 9-yard score from senior quarterback Ricky Travis as fans on both sides looked as if they could not believe what they had just witnessed.

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“It’s a tough break,” Ferriday coach Stanley Smith said. “It is a really tough one to swallow.”

As the game was tied 6-6 from nearly the midway point of the third quarter, St. Helena began its game-winning scoring drive with four minutes remaining in the game.

The Hawks recovered a fumble on a bad snap to stop a driving Ferriday team that was just outside the red zone, giving them decent field position from their own 45-yard line. They converted two fourth down plays to keep the drive going, as well as receiving another last-chance break on a pass interference call to set up the untimed down.

On the play, Ferriday rushed Travis, and Dantrieze Scott was able to break through for the near sack. As Travis fell to the ground, he let go of the ball over the middle to a wide-open Muse.

“We had great pressure, but their quarterback just made a great play,” Smith said. “He found the open guy.”

St. Helena coach Brandon Brown agreed it was a show of pure athleticism.

“We take pride in working,” he said. “I told them that is was going to come down to the weight room, and that’s what it was. He had a LSU commit (Scott) hanging on him, but he stood in there and made the play.”

St. Helena’s winning touchdown was an addition to an already flustered Ferriday. The Hawks scored their first touchdown on the ending play of the first quarter — another fourth down.

St. Helena’s Jeremy Griffin ran in the 1-yard score, but officials disagreed on the call — one whistling the play dead, while the other had supposedly seen Griffin get in.

“They blew the whistle,” Smith said. “They kept pushing it forward. They called it a touchdown, so it was a touchdown. I couldn’t do anything about it. It is what it is.”

Ferriday struggled to find any kind of offensive rhythm, scoring its only touchdown on a 1-yard run from Jerrius Scott with 7:14 left in the third quarter.

“They are a very good team,” Smith said. “We came out and played hard tonight, but it didn’t come through. I guess I didn’t have a plan tonight.”

On the ensuing kickoff, the officials called back a touchdown when they said the St. Helena returner was down on what would have been a 25-yard scoop and score — dashing Ferriday’s spirits again just seconds after putting its first points on the board.

In a situation that comes down to a matter of seconds — or lack there of — Smith said the loss was caused by a break in focus.

“We didn’t execute, and they took advantage of it,” Smith said. “We tried to do what we do, but we shot ourselves in the foot with a bad snap. It hurt us — really hurt us.”

On the other hand, the Hawks will travel to New Orleans next Friday in hopes of completing their ultimate goal.

St. Helena will play Welsh after it won its semifinal game against Many, 28-18.

Brown credits the win to dedication and a little faith, too.

“As a coach, you have to try to stay humble,” he said. “If not, your kids are going to panic. I tried not to panic, but the whole time I was thinking ‘Lord, let us win this game.’”