Steady ground attack leads Tigers past Bulldogs

Kyle Riviere

Donaldsonville got off to a sluggish start on Friday night as they allowed White Castle to recover an onside kick on the opening kickoff and score a touchdown in just over two minutes.

The Bulldogs held on to a 12-6 lead at halftime.

However, the Tiger offense began hitting on all cylinders in the second half, thanks to 100-yard rushing performances by both Raeland Johnson and Jaquaivus Tenner. It allowed Donaldsonville to outscore White Castle 36-14 in the final 24 minutes to earn a 42-26 victory.

“We settled down and got back to the basics,” Tiger head coach Brian Richardson said. “White Castle is a good team. They’re gonna make some noise. They gave us a bunch of different looks, and we were getting away from what we were doing and doing what they wanted us to do. I knew that if we got back to our game plan, it would start popping, and it did.”

After recovering an onside kick, White Castle scored just four plays later with a four-yard touchdown run by Marcus Williams to give them a 6-0 lead.

Late in the first quarter, the Tiger defense pinned the Bulldogs deep in their territory and forced a very short punt that was downed at their own 23-yard line. Three plays later, Johnson powered it in from one yard out to tie the game.

But White Castle later converted a fourth-and-13 with a 29-yard completion from Javier Batiste to Keith Landry. It eventually set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Williams to give the Bulldogs a 12-6 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Donaldsonville’s defense turned the Bulldogs over on downs and allowed the offense to take over at the White Castle 34.

Three plays later, on third-and-eight, Treveyon Brown hit Jamarcus Miller on a quick slant for a 32-yard touchdown. Rashad Landry converted the two-point try to give the Tigers their first lead at 14-12.

After the Tiger defense turned the Bulldogs over on downs again, Donaldsonville took over at the White Castle 47. Four plays later, Tenner scored on a 24-yard scamper that extended the Tiger lead to 22-12.

But the Bulldogs cut it to 22-18 with a 64-yard touchdown run by Batiste to end the third quarter.

The teams then exchanged touchdowns. Johnson scored from six yards out for Donaldsonville, and Williams added a one-yard score for White Castle to cut the Tiger lead to 28-26 early in the fourth.

White Castle later turned Donaldsonville over on downs and took over at their own 33 with just over four minutes remaining in the game, but an errant snap was recovered by Kavon Foster for the Tigers.

Six plays later, Tenner scored on a four-yard run to extend the Tiger lead to 34-26 with just 2:30 remaining in the game.

On White Castle’s first play of their ensuing possession, Datjuan Harris picked off Batiste and returned it for a touchdown that put the game away.

In a losing effort, Williams rushed for 101 yards and three scores. Batiste had 96 yards passing and 79 yards rushing with a score.

“Javier Batiste plays seven-on-seven with our guys. We know him well,” Richardson said. “He made those plays all summer, so we knew nothing was gonna be different when he got here. We knew he was gonna do what he was gonna do. We weren’t gonna stop him; we just wanted to slow him down and hope his legs were gonna get worn out with all that running he was doing.”

Johnson was a workhorse for the Tigers, carrying the ball 26 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Tenner added 116 yards and two scores.

It was the third straight victory for Donaldsonville after dropping their opener to Assumption.

“We’re in a good place,” Richardson said. “This is still a young group. We still have six sophomores starting. They have to get used to the idea of winning, being ahead and not making crazy mistakes—especially penalties. We just have to get used to being in those positions and get more mature.”