Karr returns to Dome again with late rally past Warren Easton

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ALGIERS – Edna Karr has been there before.

Facing a 12-6 fourth-quarter deficit, the Cougars rallied with two late touchdowns to defeat Warren Easton 20-12 in a Class 4A semifinal matchup at Behrman Stadium.  With the victory top-seeded Karr moves on to the state championship game for the seventh time in eight seasons, squaring off against 2-seed Lakeshore in the Superdome Classic.

“Only by the grace of God can I be this fortunate,” Karr Coach Brice Brown said of the continued success of his program.  “To be in my third season playing in the championship – I have some great coaches, some good guys behind me.  I’m so proud of everybody.”

Exemplifying the championship pedigree of their program, the defending Class 4A champs authored yet another late-game comeback in a rematch against an Orleans Parish rival to advance.  As they had done against Carver in week 2 of the playoffs, quarterback Skyler Perry and receiver Anthony Spurlock keyed the offensive attack, connecting for two difference-making passes, including the eventual game-winning score.

“We had to make some big plays tonight,” Brown said.  “We did in the end.  Warren Easton played a hell of a ball game tonight, but with the big plays, we capitalized.”

Warren Easton Coach Jerry Phillips tipped his hat to Spurlock on the pivotal touchdown.  “At the end of the day, they went best on best.  Spurlock wanted it more.  You’ve just got to make that play.”

“I just try to come through for my team when they need it the most,” Spurlock said.

Karr (13-1) – and particularly Perry – fought through a rough first half littered with penalties and turnovers.  The senior signal-caller accounted for two turnovers, with a lost fumble and an interception before halftime.  Perry threw a second interception in the second half, as the Easton defense frustrated the Cougars for much of the night.

“It was a rough one,” Perry admitted. “But that’s what we’ve been preaching all season – the grind and the finish.  No excuses, just results.”

After both offenses had struggled to find their footing early, Karr found themselves facing fourth down from the Eagles’ 34.  Perry unleashed a strike to Spurlock, who weaved through the defense for a 32-yard gain.  Ronnie Jackson punched it into the end zone on the next play for a 6-0 Karr lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The defenses again took control for much of the second quarter, until Warren Easton’s running game finally found some room. Despite a 48-yard touchdown run nullified by penalty, Easton quarterback Lance Legendre kept the chains moving – and soon thereafter he would again stun the Karr defense with a long run to the end zone.  His 32-yard dash drew the Eagles even, 6-6, at the half.

Legendre sparked Easton’s third-quarter surge into the lead with a couple of huge plays.  Facing third down and long at his own 2, Legendre busted through the Karr defense for a momentum-grabbing 52-yard run.  That run flipped the field and eventually led to Legendre’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Yo’Heinz Tyler to put Easton in front 12-6.

Easton (10-3) seemed to be in control on the next possession, as Perry lofted a long pass that was picked off by the Eagles’ Damien Tate.  But the Eagles would be forced to punt, largely due to a rare 35-yard loss via penalty on a play behind the line of scrimmage.

Perry took advantage of the short field.  After reaching the Eagles’ 29, Perry found Spurlock in the front corner of the end zone.  The touchdown and Aaron Foster’s extra point gave the Cougars the lead for good, 13-12.

After holding Easton on downs with 2:40 remaining, the Cougar run game strung together big runs, forcing the Eagles to burn their timeouts.  Jackson banged in his second scoring run of the night, this one from 7 yards, to extend the Cougars’ lead to 20-12 with 1:30 to play.

It almost was enough time for Legendre.

The Eagles’ star pulled off a clutch 33-yard run to push the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession.  Then, he found Tate on a quick pass, who reached the Cougar 29.  But Tate would fumble going to the turf, and the recovery by the Cougars sealed the win and a return trip to the Superdome.

Legendre almost got it done single-handedly, accounting for 307 of his team’s 332 total yards (144 passing, 163 rushing).

“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Phillips said of his junior quarterback.  “I’m so glad he’ll be back next year.”

While the Eagles look forward to the 2018 season, the Cougars look to cap off this season with a second straight Class 4A title.

“It’s all about business… it’s all about leaving a legacy,” Perry said of his team’s mission to repeat.

“It’s all about preparation,” Perry said.  “If we prepare good, and go in with the mindset to kill, we’ll be good.”

Final
Karr 6 0 0 14 — 20
WE 0 6 6 0 — 12

Scoring
1st Qtr.
Karr—Ronnie Jackson, 2 yard run (kick failed)

2nd Qtr.
WE—Lance Legendre, 32 yard run (kick blocked)

3rd Qtr.
WE—Yo’Heinz Tyler, 26 yard pass from Lance Legendre (pass failed)

4th Qtr.
Karr—Anthony Spurlock, 29 yard pass from Skylar Perry (Aaron Foster kick)
Karr—Ronnie Jackson, 7 yard run (Aaron Foster kick)

Statistics
First Downs
Karr 10, Warren Easton 14

Penalties
Karr 6 for 50 yards, Warren Easton 11 for 98 yards

Sacks
Karr 3, Warren Easton 1

Turnovers
Karr 4, Warren Easton 2

Rushing Yards
Karr 110, Warren Easton 188

Passing Yards
Karr 103, Warren Easton 144

Total Yards
Karr 213, Warren Easton 332

Karr Rushing
Ahmad Antoine 14 carries for 83 yards, Ronnie Jackson 14 carries for 29 yards, 1 TD, Skylar Perry 9 carries for 0 yards, Kobe Jones 1 carry, -2 yards

Karr Passing
Skylar Perry 6-of-13 for 103 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Karr Receiving
Anthony Spurlock 3 catches for 82 yards, 1 TD, Dylan Hill 3 catches, 21 yards

Warren Easton Rushing
Lance Legendre 19 carries for 163, 1 TD, Damien Tate, 5 carries for 10 yards, Ashaad Clayton, 4 carries for 10 yards, Dewitt Johnson 2 carries for 10 yards, Larry Barabino 2 carries for 2 yards, Kentrell Boyd 1 carry, -7 yards

Warren Easton Passing
Lance Legendre 13-of-24, 144 yards, 1 TD

Warren Easton Receiving
Damien Tate 5 catches, 59 yards, Sheldon Jones 4 catches 37 yards, Yo’Heinz Tyler 3 catches, 34 yards 1 TD, Larry Barabino 1 catch, 8 yards

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