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Big plays lift Houma Christian to district win


Houma Christian wasted no time finding the end zone on Friday afternoon.

The Warriors struck quickly on big plays in their 34-14 victory over the Ecole Classique Spartans in District 10-1A action at Warrior Field.

Houma Christian (3-2 overall, 2-1 in district) beat the Spartans to the outside on scoring plays of 66, 59 and 48 yards. Four of their five touchdowns were scored on the third play of each series or sooner.

"We definitely had a speed mismatch on them on the outside. Our backs and receivers did a good job getting to the edge and making those big plays," Houma Christian coach Chuck Battaglia said. "Any time you can score quickly, it boosts your confidence and it kind of demoralizes your opponent. We jumped out early and it stayed that way. We're happy with our performance."

The first score for the Warriors, however, was not scored quickly or on a big play.

Quarterback Dakota Durkes found Nate Frye on a 1-yard touchdown pass that capped a 76-yard drive and gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 6:10 left in the first quarter.

On the third play of their next possession, Keamon Sims (two carries, 74 yards, TD) found the right sideline on an end around and sprinted down it untouched for a 48-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left in the quarter.

Houma Christian led 14-0 after one quarter.

The Warriors extended their lead to 21-0 on the second play of their next series.

Durkes (8-for-9, 130 yards, three touchdowns) connected with Sims on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 9:03 left in the second quarter.

"We weren't able to carry out our game plan once we were down three scores. They really took us out of our game," Ecole Classique coach Maurice Gernhauser said. "We dress out 15 people. So it's difficult to play when you can't give guys a break. Eventually it's starts wearing on them mentally and physically. They start making mistakes. Houma Christian has some good athletes and they took advantage of those mistakes. We have to learn to eliminate those mistakes."

Ecole Classique (0-5, 0-3 in district) answered on the next drive on a 49-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Melvin (16 carries, 120 yards, two TDs) to make the score 21-7 with 5:54 left in the quarter.

On the second play of the next series, Nate Frye (three carries, 72 yards, TD) rambled down the far sideline for a 66-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked and the Warriors led 27-7 with 5:16 left in the half.

Houma Christian made it 34-7 with 8:26 left in the third quarter on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Durkes to Devin Battaglia on the first play of the series.

A 1-yard touchdown run by Melvin capped the scoring with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter.

Houma Christian gained 308 total yards (178 rush, 130 pass), while Ecole Classique managed 175 total yards (146 rush, 29 pass).

Battaglia said he feels this was a key district win for his team.

"This win puts us in a great position for next week's game against Country Day," Battaglia said. "It's a big game against a really good opponent. It gives the opportunity to fight back for a potential share of the district title."