Morgan City hosted Jeanerette (2-2) and had issues with the field lights at Tiger Stadium, forcing the teams to move across the Atchafalaya River to Berwick to finish the game with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
“It probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if we had put one on the board before we came over here,” MCHS coach Brandon Nowlin said. “… I thought our guys were pretty focused. I don’t think it had a tremendous impact in the ball game. They had to deal with it too.”
MCHS (2-2) came out on the losing end, 30-13, but it had more to do with the throwback running style of Jeanerette’s Abdul Tate than the delays.
The junior ran for 202 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
“The running game has given us trouble the last several weeks,” Nowlin said. “We’ve got to find a way to stop it. We’ve got to be better tackling; we’ve got to be better on our defensive line and linebacker play. These guys didn’t put the ball in the air very much, when they did. We got close there in the second half, but two or three plays put us two scores behind. It’s tough playing catch up.”
Tate started the game with a 69-yard reception for a touchdown on Jeanerette’s first play from scrimmage and a two-point conversion made it an 8-0 lead.
“(Tate) is a throw back,” Jeanerette coach Terry Lewis said. “He’s a very physical guy. Any time you get a guy from the fullback position running for 200 yards a game, that’s pretty doggone awesome. We aren’t fancy, we want to get a hat on a hat and give him the ball.”
Morgan City was four plays into its ensuing drive and had a first and 10 at the Jeanerette 24 when the stadium lights went out the first time.
It took 40 minutes to get the lights back on and, by that time, the momentum gained on the drive was lost with MCHS turning the ball over on downs.
Just 13 plays later, the lights went out again with 10 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter.
This time, the coaches and officials decided to move the game to Berwick.
It took another 43 minutes for the teams, fans, TV station and all the equipment to reach Berwick.
Neither team seemed to be focused for the rest of the second quarter, although MCHS did drive to the Jeanerette 29 before turning the ball over after a failed pass on fourth down.
Jeanerette kicked off the second half just like the first, with Tate breaking loose for a 42-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
Morgan City made its third trip deep into Jeanerette territory on the ensuing drive to the 17 but a fumble resulted in a turnover.
“We left about 28 points on the field tonight,” Nowlin said. “They made us punt the ball one time. I said earlier this week that we didn’t have any fumbles or snaps in the last few weeks and that’s one of the reasons we won. They reared their ugly head with turnovers and bad snaps taking us out of this ball game.”
Late in the third quarter, MCHS came through on a seven-play drive to the 4 and Eric Walker found Demarcus Coleman in the end zone on a simple toss over the defensive line to cut the lead to 22-13.
Coleman made his second big play in a row on the kickoff as he grabbed an onside kick to set MCHS up at the Jeanerette 35.
The Tigers mounted another promising drive, but on the ninth play Walker ran towards the goal line from the 4, but fumbled into the end zone for a JHS touchback.
Two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, ended Morgan City’s chances for a comeback.
Nowlin said he’s only experienced one delay and that was at LSU when he was a player.
Jeanerette coach Lewis echoed that sentiment.
“I’ve coached for 33 years and I’ve never seen anything like that. I started at the Naval Academy in 1971 and ended up with Jacky Sherrill at Mississippi State until 2004,” he said. “And I’ve never been a part of anything like that. Our kids, like most kids today, their attention span wanes. With all that big delay I was pleasantly surprised with how we played in the second half.”