Fontainebleau holds off Mandeville as district race tightens
Rivalry games are always heated and closely contested. Inner-city rivalries are often white hot.
The battle for bragging rights in the city of Mandeville were on the line at Sid Theriot Stadium Friday night. The game did not disappoint.
With the game on the line and homestanding Mandeville seemingly on the precipice of a thrilling come-from behind win at the Fontainebleau 4-yard line, Colin Gagnon returned an interception 100 yards for a score with under a minute to play to give Fontainebleau a 28-16 victory over Mandeville.
Speaking on The Three Tailgaters Show on 106.1 FM NASH ICON Saturday morning, Fontainebleau coach Chris Blocker felt his team was ready for the decisive play.
“We were not too surprised that they threw it there,” Blocker said. “They are a throwing offense. To have Collin in coverage and in the right spot is game-changing. It could be season-changing. Our defense had taken a few lumps the last few seasons. They played a great game last night. They were put in tough situations and they held out very well.”
Trailing 9-7 at halftime, Fontainebleau star junior running back Iverson Celestine threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Barnes to give the Bulldogs a 14-9 lead. The lead grew to 21-9 before the Skippers rallied to pull within 21-16 and were driving for what would have been a game-winning score before Gagnon came up with the big play.
As usual, Celestine was outstanding, rushing 20 times for 125 yards and he caught four passes for 56 yards.
“Iverson is a phenomenal player,” Blocker said. “He has great football awareness. Our team fees off of his play and attitude and what he brings to the field week in and week out. The touchdown pass he had was an outside run call. It was clogged up with nowhere to go. At the same time, our receivers were taught to block or run a route. They did what they were supposed to do and Iverson made a good throw to Kobe for the score.”
The Bulldogs started the season slowly but have improved in recent weeks.
“We took some close, tough losses early in the season,” Blocker said. “We preached to our guys to handle adversity well and to stay together as a team. They truly believed in it and carried that message into the game with Mandeville.”
With the win, Fontainebleau (3-4, 2-2) remained alive in the wild District 6-5A race which is clearly up for grabs.
Fontainebleau will host Ponchatoula next Friday night while Mandeville (5-2, 3-1) travels to St. Paul’s.
Mandeville, Covington and Slidell are tied for first in the league at 3-1 while Fontainebleau and St. Paul’s and Ponchatoula are 2-2.
“It kind of reminds me of the NFL and its parity,” Blocker said. “It seems to be that type of parity. There are a lot of play-makers around the district. The coaching in this district is amazing and tough. It’s just exciting. Anyone can beat anyone. We have the 24-hour rule. We have to turn our attention to Ponchatoula. TJ Finley is a force to be reckoned with. I’m sure our coaches will get our kids ready to play.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…