Ferriday rallies for last-minute win

Published 11:46 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

GREENSBURG, La. — With less than a minute to go, a long way away from the end zone, and its season on the line, Ferriday High School had to make a big play to retake the lead from a good St. Helena College &Career Academy team.

On third and two, Kobe Dillon connected with Da’minya Milligan on an 81-yard touchdown pass with just 42 seconds remaining as the Trojans rallied for a 26-21 win over the Hawks Friday night in the quarterfinals of the LHSAA Class 2A State Playoffs.

“It was a hard-fought game. It was neck and neck the whole game. Bothteams wanted to win,” Ferriday head coach Stanley Smith said. “The kids were resilient. It was a total team effort.”

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As for the dramatic game-winning score, Smith said, “Coaches called agreat play. Kobe threw a good pass and Da’minya made a great catch andran down the sidelines.”

St. Helena had one last chance, but the Trojans’ defense preserved thewin with an interception as the clock hit all zeroes.

As for Smith’s reaction when the game was over and his team wasvictorious, he said, “Thank God.”

The No. 3 seed Trojans nearly gave the game away after already beingdown 15-6 in the third quarter. They turned the ball over twice in the span of about two minutes – the first an interception thrown by Dillon and the second when the No. 6 seed Hawks recovered a fumble.

But both times Ferriday’s defense came up big and forced a punt after the first turnover and a turnover on downs after the second one.

“Those were a couple of good stops. The defense flew to the ball and was able to give it back to our offense,” Smith said.

The first of Da’minya’s three touchdowns in the second half was set upfirst by a 45-yard pass from Dillon to Jamien Green that gave theTrojans the ball at the Hawks’ 35-yard line. Then Da’minya ran 24yards down to the 11-yard line. Two plays later, Da’minya scored from five yards out to make it a 15-12 game with about 3 minutes to go in the third quarter. However, the try for two failed and the Hawks kept their three-point lead.

But not for long. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Da’minya scored on a 60-yard run and Byron Milligan ran in for the two-point conversion to give the Trojans their first lead since late in the first half at 20-15.

“He made some great cuts in open spaces. He’s a slasher. He makes goodcuts. He has great vision. He’s the total package,” Smith said about Da’minya.

And after a Ferriday punt was downed at the St. Helena four-yard line,the Hawks only gained four yards on three plays, setting up afourth-and-six from their own eight-yard line. That was when the unthinkable happened – a 92-yard touchdown pass that gave them a 21-20 lead with about 3 minutes remaining after the extra point was no good.

“The defensive back let the receiver get inside and they got the ballto him and he scored,” Smith said. “We had them backed up. I feltgood. I was hoping for a bobbled snap or high snap to slow them down some.”

Much of the game was marred by heavy rain, which made it tough for either team to find any rhythm offensively. After a scoreless first quarter, Dillon found Tyus Turner for a 30-yard touchdown pass to give Ferriday a 6-0 lead with just over 2 minutes to go until halftime.

However, St. Helena (10-3) took the lead on a touchdown pass andtwo-point conversion run with less than a minute left for an 8-6halftime lead. The Hawks took their 15-6 lead with nearly 9 minutes remaining in the third quarter on a touchdown pass on fourth and goal at the Ferriday 12-yard line. That capped off a 60-yard drive to open upthe second half.

“Had a lot of bad weather. It put the offense for both teams at adisadvantage. We couldn’t make any cuts. Couldn’t throw over themiddle,” Smith said.

Ferriday (10-3) will be on the road again next week when take on No. 2seed Amite High School in the Class 2A semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Warriors defeated No. 23 seed Franklin High School 48-0 on the road.