JEANERETTE — Points and penalties were plentiful for Morgan City as it routed Jeanerette High, 49-8, here Thursday.
The Tigers put up 42 points in the first half en route to a commanding 42-8 halftime advantage.
However, points weren’t the only action that took place in the first half.
The Tigers had multiple 15-yard penalties in the first half, including three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and an ejection after Nhirobi Dewey had intercepted a pass for the Tigers and returned it to the Morgan City 36-yard line.
At the conclusion of the play — with 23 seconds left in the first half — three quick unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were thrown on the Tigers and senior linebacker Devonte Gabriel was ejected.
“I understand, the officials got to police the game, but we get three unsportsmanlike penalties in the course of five seconds and none of them are on the other team,” MCHS coach Brandon Nowlin said. “That’s a little iffy to me. … You got to be working to get them penalties. They got a job to do and I respect that, but at the same time, you’re also costing a senior in high school one of his few opportunities to play high school football. … We got to do a better job of being disciplined. That falls on me as a head coach and obviously we’re going to try and take care of that tomorrow and try to remedy some of the energy we have after the play.”
The penalties pushed the Tigers’ starting field position all the way back to the Morgan City 5 yard line where quarterback Hoang Nguyen took a knee to end the first half.
Other than the penalties, not much went wrong for Morgan City as the Tigers scored touchdowns on its first five possessions of the first half. The lone drive the Tigers failed to score on was the one ended when Nguyen took a knee at the conclusion of the first half.
The Tigers (3-0) added another touchdown when Eric Walker landed on a blocked punt in the Jeanerette end zone for another score.
In the first quarter, Nguyen rushed for a 30-yard touchdown and tossed two more touchdowns, a 19-yard strike to Jalen Jones and a 38-yard strike to Etoyi Jones, both in the second quarter.
Jalen Jones also returned a second-quarter interception 56 yards for another score with 4:18 remaining to push the Morgan City lead to 35-8.
Nguyen added another touchdown pass in the second half, a 27-yard strike to Etoyi Jones with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter for the Tigers’ final score.
Nguyen and running back Eric Walker led the Morgan City offensive charge on the evening as Nguyen completed 5 of 9 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns, while Walker rushed 14 times for 95 yards and a score.
Jeanerette (0-4), playing without running back Abdul Tate, who gashed the Tigers’ defense last year for approximately 200 yards rushing, scored its lone touchdown when Jonathan Dozier intercepted a Nguyen pass near the Morgan City sideline and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown with 9:11 remaining in the second quarter. The subsequent two-point conversion pass from Darien Kiel Jr. to Dozier cut the Tigers’ lead to 21-8.
Jeanerette coach Ananias Johnson said he kept Tate, as well as senior linebacker Charles Johnson, out of Thursday’s game for breaking rules.
“It really didn’t matter because (Tate’s) really injured right now,” Johnson said.
Morgan City rolled up 281 yards of total offense in the win (170 rushing and 111 passing).
“I’m very proud of our guys on offense,” Nowlin said. “(We) moved the ball well (and) did a lot of good things. (We) still haven’t had a touchdown scored on our first (team) defense, which is something that those guys should be very proud about. But obviously we’ve got a lot to improve on.”
Nowlin said he was pleased in the second half with his squad’s ability to build on its lead. He also was happy with the offensive execution he saw from his backups as well as the defense’s ability to keep Jeanerette off the scoreboard in the final half.
Its defense again was stingy as it limited Jeanerette to just 139 yards of total offense, including 27 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Jeanerette was extremely young as it started a ninth-grader and two eighth-graders on its offensive line as well as two seventh-graders at linebacker and a ninth-grader at nose guard.
“We’re going to take our bumps and bruises right now, but we’re going to get the last laugh,” Johnson said.
Nowlin also had praise for Jeanerette.
“He’s got a very young team over here, and they’re going to be very, very good when those kids mature,” Nowlin said. “They played very hard (and) they didn’t back down and they gave a lot of great effort tonight. I’m lucky that we were able to execute like we did.”
Morgan City will look to continue its early season success Friday when it hosts Pearl River for homecoming.