Vandebilt starters score late against Braves


Vandebilt Catholic's Bailey Pere (center) runs between H.L. Bourgeois' Claude Verdin (left) and Tyree Andrew on Friday. (Photo by Jim Cenac/Correspondent)


After the offensive backups of both teams stole the show during a high school football scrimmage between H.L. Bourgeois and Vandebilt Catholic on Friday afternoon, the Terriers' No. 1 offense scored the lone touchdown of the day between starting players on its second-to-last possession of the exhibition.

The score, which came on a 30-yard cut-back run by Justen Harris, came toward the end of a close to a three-hour workout between the teams at Buddy Marcello Stadium in Houma which wrapped up spring drills for both squads.

"It felt really good to get that score ahead of them," said new Terriers starting quarterback Bailey Pere, who will be a junior next season. "It made us feel like we got the victory. I thought it was a good team effort. We came out and competed. I felt like we all worked hard on both sides of the ball."

The teams started the scrimmage with numerous individual drills before working on the running game in team situations.

They then went to 7-on-7 passing drills before the start of the scrimmage, which featured starters against starters and back-ups and back-ups.

Vandebilt almost got into the end zone on its first drive. The Terriers, who got 90 yards rushing from Pere out of the zone-read play, marched 64 yards, but stalled when Claude Verdin Jr. intercepted a pass for the Braves at his 2-yard line to stop the threat.

"They had trips on that side, and I saw the man come across," Verdin said. "Our weak-side linebacker dropped off so I just picked it up and made the catch and ran it as much as I could. We did our best. We have been practicing hard. We made sure everyone was together. We did everything as a family, and we approach things as they come."

The Braves are currently without a head coach after Jack Phillips Jr., a former indoor football coach in Houma, was relieved of his duties last week after being hired in December.

Assistant coach Randy Breaux said the players have handled the situation well. The new H.L. Bourgeois coach will be the program's fourth head coach since 2010.

"They handle things better than adults," Breaux said. "It is just our job to keep them going straight and keep them happy, and keep them working hard. Good things are going to happen for us."

Breaux said he was proud of how the Braves played on defense.

"We didn't work very much defense this spring. We just went with our base 50," Breaux said. "We played it straight up and played football. We made some mistakes. We played straight on. We did some good stuff."

The Braves sputtered early with their first-team offense, fumbling on their first three plays and losing two, but H.L. Bourgeois did drive into Vandebilt territory once in first-team action.

"We got a couple turnovers, and they drove the ball down the field one time but we stopped them," Terriers coach Brad Villavaso said. "The defense played well. They ran to the ball. It's always hard when you scrimmage like this because you don't know what their offense is going to do, and they had the same problem with us, but I thought our defense played well. It's something good to build on for next year."

The first score of the game came from the Braves second-team offense, and it came quick when Ritni Coleman dashed 75 yards around the right side for a touchdown on the first play of a drive.

The Braves back-ups struck again on their next possession when Coleman capped a four-play drive with a 25-yard touchdown run.

From there, the Vandebilt back-ups answered when second-string quarterback David Yancey hit Dominic Maiorana on a screen pass that went 75 yards for a score.

The final points came from Vandebilt's first team after the run by Harris. The teams later closed out the three-hour workout by shaking hands.

"This is the first time we did any kind of scrimmage like that, and I thought it was really good to get in all those individual drills between the two teams," Villavaso said. "I thought both teams got some good work in and both coaches got to see some things one on one. I thought the thing went pretty good. Scrimmages aren't really about how many times you score. It's about evaluating where you are and what you got done during the spring and getting ready for the fall. I think we got some questions answered."

Breaux said he too was pleased by the work the Braves got in during the spring.

"The whole thing about the spring was keeping those guys running and in shape," Breaux said. "We just put in something on offense we all knew and were comfortable with and let the kids just have fun. The setup was perfect for us. We have a bunch of kids out and a bunch of kids interested, and they got a lot of reps."

Vandebilt defensive player Aaron Fister had the hit of the day when he nearly de-cleated Coleman after a swing pass in 7-on-7 drills, but Coleman later responded with two rushing touchdowns to lead the Braves.

ELLENDER SCRIMMAGES McKINLEY

At Baton Rouge, Justin Johnson scored Ellender's lone touchdown in Friday's scrimmage.

McKinley scored four touchdowns in the scrimmage, which was broken into two 15-play sessions between each team's first units and one 15-play session with the second units. The scrimmage ended with a 15-minute quarter in running time.

Ellender coach Terry Washington said he was pleased with his team's performance. Ellender is a Class 4A school.

"We had some breakdowns defensively in third-and-long," Washington said. "They scored two touchdowns on defensive breakdowns, and they scored on the last play of a series. They also scored on a screen pass. We made some mistakes, but it's all things we can correct before the season. We moved the ball up and down the field at times, but we had some mistakes at key times. Despite the mistakes, I was pleased with our performance against a Class 5A team."