D’Andre Dartez keyed the Bulldog victory, rushing for 184 yards and a TD on 24 carries, catching two passes for 50 yards and intercepting a SM pass in the closing minutes to shut the door on the Tigers who were driving for what could have been a winning score.
St. Martinville had trouble holding the ball, giving up two fumbles and three interceptions. One of the picks was returned 58 yards by Bulldog Shane Dupuis for Cecilia’s only first half TD.
It was a big game for both teams, who had each dropped their league openers the week before. The Tigers (4-3, 0-2) slip into the 5-4A cellar while Cecilia (3-4, 1-1) is positioned for a serious run at a playoff berth.
St. Martinville took the opening kickoff and quickly moved deep into Bulldog territory before failing to convert on a 4th-and-1 at the Cecilia 17.
The Tigers got a break when Cecilia punter Grant Godeaux had trouble with the snap and was tackled for a loss at the CHS 42. Clifton Chaisson connected with Jude St. Julien for a 20-yard pickup to the Cecilia 19 and three plays later St. Julien scored from the 10. Josh Delahoussaye’s PAT kick put the Tigers up by seven as time ran out in the opening quarter.
St. Martinville’s first turnover came early in the second period when Chaisson lost the ball at his own 33. Cecilia coach Terry Martin called up a trick play that had Devin Melancon tossing a short pass to Joseph Stoute who then lateraled the ball to Dartez, who gained another 20 yards to the SM eight.
The Tigers dodged the bullet when safety Asa Marshall picked off a Melancon pass in the end zone.
After picking up two first downs, Chaisson put the ball up and the pass was intercepted by Shane Dupuis who took the pick 58 yards for a touchdown. Tyler Doucet’s kick knotted the score.
St. Martinville lost the ball for the third time on a fumble by Lorenzo Chaisson at the SM 37. The Bulldogs moved to the 14 but Melancon was sacked and coughed up the ball with Asa Marshall recovering at the 45.
Big gains by Lorenzo Chaisson and Jamiah Nelson helped move the Tigers to the nine. A penalty set SM back to the 13, but Clifton Chaisson rifled a TD pass to Diantre Gardner with just 28 seconds on the clock. The two-point conversion by Nelson boosted The ’Ville to a 15-7 lead at intermission.
That didn’t last, however, as Dartez broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown on Cecilia’s first snap of the second half. He also ran for the conversion and the Bulldogs pulled even at 15-all.
Fans had hardly settled in their seats when the Tigers answered with a 65-yard scoring run by Nelson as SM took a 22-15 lead.
Cecilia responded with an impressive 65-yard, 8-play drive powered by Dartez and Doucette, who went the final yard for the TD. The PAT kick was blocked and the Bulldogs trailed 22-21.
St. Martinville’s next possession stalled at the CHS 37 and the Bulldog offense went to work again. Tylor Robin hit Mark Abshire for 13 yards and several plays later found Stoute open for 30. Stoute scored from the eight on a reverse that caught the Tigers defense off guard. Dartez tossed a halfback pass to Dupuis for the conversion, boosting Cecilia to a 29-22 lead early in the final stanza.
Nelson got the Tigers moving with a 21-yard run to the CHS 31, but three plays later Dupuis intercepted a Chaisson pass at the 22.
The Cecilia offense got moving again, reeling off five quick first downs and scoring another TD on a two-yard run by Doucette. The PAT kick was wide, but the ’Dogs enjoyed a 35-22 lead with less than six minutes remaining.
But the Tigers wouldn’t roll over after a short kick put them in business near midfield. Nelson ripped off a 16-yard gain and then Chaisson hit St. Julien for another 16 to the CHS 19. Nelson converted a 4th-and-1 with a 6-yard pickup and then scored from the four. Delahoussaye’s kick put the Tigers within six points at 35-29 with four minutes still to play.
The Bulldogs went three and out and St. Martinville got the ball back at its 27 with 2:57 on the clock. On 3rd-and-12 Chaisson tossed a bomb to Homer Decuir that covered 53 yards to the Bulldog 25. But on 4th down at the 23 Chaisson put up a desperation pass that was picked off by Dartez and returned to midfield, slamming the door on the Tigers.
Doucette finished with 68 yards and two TDs for the Bulldogs while Nelson led the Tigers with 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries. Clifton Chaisson rushed for 31 yards and completed 7-of-15 tosses for 121 yards and a TD while giving up three interceptions.
St. Martinville travels to Northside Friday while Cecilia hosts Teurlings Catholic in two more tough district battles.