McGuire leads Terriers past Gators
Sat. October 06, 2012 at 1:28 a.m. | By Kelly McElroy/Staff Writer
Elijah McGuire continues to amaze even those closest to him.
In leading Vandebilt Catholic to a 42-21 District 8-4A opening victory over South Terrebonne on Friday night, the star senior quarterback rushed for 180 yards on seven attempts and three touchdowns at Buddy Marcello Stadium.
He averaged 25.7 yards a carry and impressed his head coach Brad Villavaso with his long runs, two of which came in the first half and helped the Terriers (5-1 overall, 1-0 in district) take a 21-7 halftime lead.
"Elijah is Elijah. He is a big-play guy, and he is even faster than I thought he was," Villavaso said. "They had some angles on him out there, and he just out ran them. You can't coach that. What a player. What a leader."
South Terrebonne running back Justin Johnson, who missed one game after an altercation at school, returned Friday night and actually outgained McGuire with 194 yards on 24 carries.
Johnson added two touchdowns on the ground, but it was not enough for the Gators, who trailed by four touchdowns midway through the third quarter.
"We knew it was going to kind of be what would Elijah do, and what would Justin do," Villavaso said. "We knew (Johnson) was a special football player. They changed some blocking schemes offensively, and we didn't really figure it out, we just did a good job with effort and getting to the ball, and we were able to get him to the ground a few times."
South Terrebonne (1-4, 0-1 in district) had 16 first downs, 323 total yards (275 rushing), but inconsistencies and a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Matt Bergeron gave the Terriers a 35-7 lead with 6:08 to play in the third quarter.
"Vandebilt did a good job. (McGuire) is a special player," South Terrebonne coach Richard Curlin said. "We weren't consistent in any phase of the game. We need to get more consistent in all three phases. We lost all three phases. When you don't play responsible or discipline on defense, that's when you give up big plays."
The Terriers (334 total yards, 321 rushing, 13 first downs) went ahead 7-0 with 4:32 to play in the first quarter after a 5-yard scoring run by Gage Corte and a Grant Rodriguez point after.
The Gators responded with a 3-yard score by Johnson that he helped setup with a 56-yard scamper. Matt Benoit made the point after to tie it at 7 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.
McGuire (0-for-1 passing) later went on a 35-yard jaunt and a 66-yard score that put the Terriers ahead 21-7 at the half.
His 58-yard touchdown run with 10:14 to go in the third quarter, in which he went to the middle of the field and hit another gear when he bolted to the left sideline to pay dirt made it a 28-7 Terriers advantage.
"There is no doubt about it, the game plan was to try and come in and contain him," Curlin said of McGuire. "We are not playing discipline enough to do that."
Next came Bergeron's long touchdown return off a fumble by South Terrebonne quarterback James LeBlanc (10 carries, 18 yards rushing, 5-for-8 passing, 48 yards), but the Gators answered with a 9-play, 80-yard scoring drive that resulted in 3-yard score by Johnson.
Rodriguez forced the Gators to go start at their 20-yard line most of the night by sailing kickoff after kickoff into the end zone.
The Terriers went ahead 42-14 with 10 minutes to play in the game on a 1-yard dive by Aaron Smith (12 carries, 76 yards) and as Vandebilt began substituting, the Gators capped the scoring with a 12-play drive that covered 76 yards and ended with a 1-yard Channing Champagne (14 carries, 59 yards) score that took close to 6 minutes off the clock.
"They moved the ball on us, but we made them earn everything they had," Villavaso said. "When they were earning it, the clock was running."