Ville Platte High’s Jahmal Byers (right) tries to run past Sacred Heart’s Kyle Miller (9) and Evan Veillon (42) during the Tee Cotton Bowl game played Friday night. Ville Platte defeated the Trojans 34-14 to take home the Tee Cotton Bowl trophy for the first time since the re-birth of the game three years ago. Byers rushed for 169 yards on 17 carries and scored four times to pick up the MVP award for the Bulldogs. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
VILLE PLATTE -- The Ville Platte High Bulldogs rushed for 277 yards on 30 carries as they secured a 34-14 win over cross-town rival Sacred Heart this past Friday night, taking back the Tee Cotton Bowl trophy held by the Trojans for the past two seasons.
Ville Platte will travel to Grand Lake for a week two match-up with the Hornets. Sacred Heart travels to Oberlin for a Thursday night showdown with the Tigers.
The Tee Cotton series now stands at 9-7 in favor of Sacred Heart.
After the game, an elated Ville Platte head coach Jorie Randle had nothing but praise for his team’s performance, especially in the second half.
“I am so proud of our players and the way they handled the pressure of this game,” stated Randle. “We have preached to them all week long that this game was about us and our play on the field. I am even more ecstatic for this senior group. They deserved this win especially since they lost some close Tee Cotton Bowl games the last two years. I am glad they got one before they left.”
On the other side of the field, Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper was extremely complimentary of the way Ville Platte played.
“They controlled the game, especially in the second half,” said Harper. “I thought they were hungry. I thought they wanted it more than us. Hats off to them. For us, we just did not finish tonight when we had our chances. Like I’ve been saying, we have the talent but we have to learn how to battle through adversity.”
The first half of the game looked like the two teams were in for a drag out fight that would come down to the end.
Ville Platte took the first possession of the game and took it down to the Sacred Heart 37-yard line before the drive stalled. The Bulldog punt put the ball at the Trojan three-yard line.
Sacred Heart moved the ball up to its 36-yard line, but could not go any farther and was forced to punt the ball back to Ville Platte.
The Bulldogs returned the kick inside Sacred Heart territory at the 43-yard line. However, after pushing it to the Trojan 15, Ville Platte turned the ball over on downs.
Utilizing its single wing run game, Sacred Heart began a methodical drive that started as the second quarter got underway. Eating up close to five minutes of clock, the Trojans were able to get the ball down to the Ville Platte 11-yard line in six plays.
On the seventh play of the possession, Trojan running back Alex McElwee scooted in from 11 yards out to score the first points of the game. Sam Hollier tacked on the extra point, and with 7:40 to go before half, Sacred Heart led 7-0.
The Bulldogs did not let that lead stand for very long. Following the ensuing kickoff, Ville Platte marched 61 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a Jahmal Byers five yard touchdown plunge. Byers pushed his way in for the two-point run giving the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead with 2:40 to go in the second quarter.
Ville Platte had one more chance to score