Saints blow away shorthanded Tigers

Kyle Riviere
Receiver Ladarius Jackson made the start at quarterback on Friday night with Jaylin Williams injured. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

It's already hard enough to beat No. 3 West Feliciana when you're at full strength. When your team's ravaged by the injury bug, it becomes almost impossible.

That was the misfortune Donaldsonville faced last Friday night.

They headed into their clash with the Saints already reeling from a 33-12 loss to Brusly the previous week, but to make the climb steeper, they were forced to play without starting quarterback Jaylin Williams, starting running back Jemon Pleasant, starting receiver James Gipson and starting linebacker Jontrelle Simms.

It spelled disaster for the Tigers as they fell, 42-8. But despite the blowout loss, first-year head coach Brian Richardson said that he was happy with how his injury-ridden team played.

"I thought it was outstanding. I can't say enough about my guys," Richardson said. "I had eight freshmen out there at one point giving all that they had. I just wanted them to get the experience, because a lot of times, they're sitting on the sideline.

"We got them on the field to see just how fast the game is at the varsity level, and it smacked them in the face. I'm glad they got the experience because I guarantee it's going to pay off in the later dates."

The shorthanded Tigers played very well early in the game.

After West Feliciana quarterback Derrick Turner scored on a 50-yard option-keeper to give the Saints a 14-0 lead at the end of one, Donaldsonville's offense went to work.

They got on the scoreboard when Christian Bell broke loose on a 42-yard touchdown run. They also converted the ensuing 2-point try when receiver turned quarterback Ladarius Jackson connected with Jeffery Johnson to cut the deficit to 14-8.

Though, the Saints responded quickly when Devon Harris exploded for a 31-yard touchdown run on their ensuing possession to extend the lead to 21-8.

From there, the flood gates opened.

Even when Turner went down with an injury, West Feliciana closed out the half with a Darius Davis 13-yard touchdown run and 15-yard touchdown catch to lead 35-8 at halftime.

With the huge lead and the mounting string of injuries, both coaches agreed to having a running clock in the second half.

"My quarterback is down with an injury right now. So, when [Coach Robb Odom's] quarterback went down, it became a safety issue. We're always competing, but we didn't want anyone else to get hurt," Richardson said. "I lost another guy tonight. When his quarterback went down, we talked. He and I are good friends. I'm concerned about that No. 8 (Turner) because that's their guy. With him, they've got a good chance to win state this year."

To end the game, Harris tacked on a 57-yard touchdown run to give the Saints a dominating 42-8 victory.

Harris led all rushers with 107 yards and two scores on just five carries.

Donaldsonville was held to just 95 total yards. Jackson went 8-21 for 67 yards with an interception.

Williams is dealing with a concussion right now. The timetable for his return is still not certain, but Coach Richardson said that he's hoping two or three of his injured starters can be back on the field for this Friday night.

"We have to get protection straight, and we just have to get healthy," Richardson said. "We're young. We were only returning two starters as it was, so a lot of them don't know what to do. Now, you take this setback here, and that hurts. We need to learn our defensive responsibilities a bit more, and I think we'll be fine. It doesn't get any easier, though."

The 2-3 Tigers will host another tough district rival in 1-4 Port Allen this Friday night.