Carencro upsets top-seed Warren Easton with ball control rushing attack, long pass late

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NEW ORLEANS – Thanks to a crunching, time-consuming ground attack Friday night, eighth-seed Carencro knocked off top-seeded Warren Easton, 29-26, at Pan American Stadium in the LHSAA Select Division I quarterfinals.

The win sends coach Tony Courville’s club to the semifinal round to host 13th seed Brother Martin, 28-14 victors over fifth-seeded Northwood of Shreveport.

“I’m very happy for this football team and the coaching staff who got these kids ready to play,” said Courville. “This is the third time we’ve come over here and those trips didn’t always end well, so it was really good to check off this box against a very talented, well-coached football team”

The Golden Bears got on the board first and it was a sign of things to come. The drive covered only 46 yards but burned six minutes and three seconds off the clock. Ceaser scored via a quarterback sneak for a 7-0 Carencro lead.

At the 11:48 mark of the second quarter, Carencro freshman Chantz Babineaux jumped an out-route and took the interception the other way 34-yard for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

The Eagles answered quickly. Quarterback Keddrick Connelly scampered 37 yards to midfield. On the next play, Connelly connected with Kyon Holiday on a beautifully executed bubble screen for 50 yards and a touchdown to cut the deficit in half with 11:40 to go in the first half.

Carencro (9-2) used its lethal rushing attack to control the first half. On third-and-5 from the 13-yard line, Ceaser went in from 13. The 90-yard drive consumed 9 minutes and 3 seconds. The try for 2 was successful, making it 22-7 with 36 seconds to go in the first half.

Ceaser, the senior quarterback, stressed that moving the ball on the ground is what the Cro-Bears do best.

“We had the thought that all three of our backs would have 100 yards in the game,” said Ceaser. “Our plan was to attack them on the ground.”

It appeared Easton gained momentum when junior running back Fred Robertson streaked through the Carencro defense for an exciting 73-yard touchdown. However, it was wiped out by a holding penalty that left the Eagles down 15 at the half..

Easton coach Jerry Phillips and staff made successful adjustments during halftime. Inserting Greg Donaldson at quarterback was one of those adjustments. The junior, who was a standout on defense in Easton’s bi-district win over Captain Shreve last week, dodged tacklers on his way to a 20-yard touchdown at 2:20 of the third. The point-after cut the Bears’ lead to 22-14.

The Easton defense forced Carencro to punt from deep in their territory. An unsuccessful faked punt gave the Eagles possession at the Bears’ 16-yard line.

It took Donaldson one play to score his second touchdown of the evening courtest of a 16-yard run. The try for two failed, and it was 22-20 Carencro.

In the fourth quarter, Easton (10-2) embarked on a 93-yard drive highlighted by the running of junior Fred Robertson, who gave the Eagles their first lead of the game, 26-22, after a 7-yard score with 8:24 to go in the game.

Carencro didn’t throw often but a 68-yard connection from Chantz Ceaser to Kendrick Bernard was the biggest hook-up of the contest to set up the Bears at Easton’s 15-yard line.

A few plays later Kennon Ryan, scored the winning points from one yard out with 2:11 remaining.

“It was a hard-fought game but we just ran out of time and came up short,” said disappointed Easton head coach Jerry Phillips. “They did what they do. Pound it up the middle and eat up the clock. But my defensive coordinator made great adjustments in the second half and we stopped pretty much everything they tried to do, except that one long pass.”

Last season, Brother Martin defeated Carencro 35-6 in a regular season outing, giving the upcoming matchup special meaning for Ceaser.

“I guess it’s like a revenge tour. Acadiana last week, Easton tonight and Brother Martin next week. Last year, I injured my knee against them. Now I’m back, and I ready to play against them.”

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