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Patriots pull out last-second win


Ellender's Justin Johnson runs for yardage on Friday night in Bourg. Ellender won, 56-50. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)


BOURG — With less than 4 minutes remaining, it appeared the Ellender Patriots' homecoming may be spoiled by the Pointe Coupee-Central Cougars.

That's when Ellender's senior leaders and high-scoring offense stepped up to prevent that from happening.

With the game tied at 50, seniors Dustin "Doogie" Creppel, Justin Johnson and Dan Mitchell all made key plays in the game-winning drive to lead the Patriots to a 56-50 nondistrict victory over the Cougars on Friday. Mitchell's 51-yard kickoff return set up Ellender in great field position at the Cougar 21-yard line to start the final drive with 3:28 left in the game. Creppel hit Johnson on a pass for a first down and then Creppel scampered down to the 2-yard line with under a minute left. On third and goal, Creppel found running room up the middle and crossed the goal line with 0:45 left for the game-winning touchdown.

"It was do or die. It was go big or go home," Creppel said. "We had some big plays and had some seniors step up with me, Dan and Justin as leaders. The defense wasn't playing as good as they really are, so we had to step up and score every time we got the ball. We had to score to win the game, and we made the plays to get it done."

Another senior, defensive lineman Joshua Martin, sealed the win for Ellender by intercepting a deflected pass with 20 seconds left in the game. Creppel (238 passing yards, 40 rushing yards, four passing TD, rushing TD), Johnson (32 attempts, 191 yards rushing, two rushing TDs, receiving TD) and Mitchell (170 yards receiving, 59 yards rushing, rushing TD, 1 receiving TD) accounted for most of Ellender's 535 yards as the teams combined for 1,091 total yards.

"Those guys have been through the wars for us. They are our leaders. We counted on those guys," Ellender coach Terry Washington said. "I told Justin Johnson that he may have to carry the ball 30-40 times because we didn't have (senior running back Jarred Turner). Hopefully we can get (Turner) back next week. It was a big key missing him. We had some guys step up for us, but we do need to get our guys healed up."

Ellender (4-1) controlled the first quarter and led 16-0 on a Justin Johnson 19-yard run and a 16-yard pass from Creppel to Thomas Johnson. The teams, who combined for 33 penatlites for 249 yards, also combined for 48 points in the second quarter and Ellender struck first on a 15-yard pass from Creppel to Justin Johnson to extend their lead to 24-0 after the two-point attempt. Pointe Coupee-Central (2-2) answered back on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Altonio Johnson, who accounted for all of the Cougars offense with 459 passing yards, 97 rushing, and seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing). Ellender led 30-6 after a 79-yard touchdown pass from Creppel to Mitchell with 7:11 left in the first half. The Cougars scored the next two touchdowns on passes from Johnson to Delfontay Powell (11 receptions, 179 yards, two TD) of 20 yards and 21 yards to make it 30-22 with 3:27 left in the second quarter.

Justin Johnson busted through the middle for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 36-22 lead with 1:51 to go. The scoring frenzy would be capped by an Altonio Johnson 1-yard run with 0:35 left to cut the Ellender lead to 36-28 at halftime. The Cougars tied the game 36 on the first play of the second half on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Altonio Johnson to Stephen Guidry (four receptions, 169 yards, two TDs) and a successful two-point conversion.

Mitchell regained the lead for the Patriots on a 41-yard touchdown run that made it 42-36 with 6:52 left in the third. Creppel hit Richard Green on a 24-yard touchdown pass and ran it in on the two-point attempt on the last play of the quarter for a 50-36 Ellender lead. Altonio Johnson's 6-yard touchdown run and 56-yard pass to Guidry tied the score at 50 with 3:44 left in the game. The Patriots then drove down for the winning score led by Creppel.

"We needed our best player, and that's what he wanted to do. I trusted him and he wanted it, so we let him do it. He really came through," Washington said.