That was the case on Thursday in a 15-12 win over Loreauville on the road.
Loreauville (0-1) led 12-6 at halftime and the Eagles (1-0) shut the Tigers out in the second half and got the win on a football-savvy play by senior Lloyd Grogan.
On the 3-yard line Grogan ran to the left of the offensive line and looked to be wrapped up on the fourth down play, but he was able to get turned around and pitched the ball back to quarterback Josh Singleton.
Singleton made a quick move to his right and dove into the end zone for the go ahead score. Singleton was hit hard on the play and went to the turf, so Luke Landry came on in his place for a two-point conversion to give the Eagles a three-point lead.
Landry zipped a pass to Dontrell Brown to earn the two points and it would hold up for the win.
“No (it wasn’t planned), Josh just said if I got in trouble to give it back to him,” Grogan said of the winning score. “He was right there so I just flipped it back to him.”
Grogan ran for 34 yards on eight carries to lead the Eagles on the ground. Singleton was 13-for-25 passing for 130 yards and a touchdown along with nine yards rushing on 11 carries with a touchdown.
Nick Julien was the most productive player on the field with 191 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns.
The Tigers had two minutes, 30 seconds left to go for a tie or the win, but numerous players went down with cramps with coach Trent Delahoussaye opting for a wildcat formation with Julien when starting quarterback Raymond Bonnette left the game.
Julien ran one plan and then he succumbed to cramps and forced Kyle Francois into the spotlight with not a single down of experience at quarterback under his belt.
“Conditioning played a major role,” Delahoussaye said. “I’m surprised we hung in like we hung in. We fought and fought. … They could’ve backed down a long time ago. They fought their butts off but at the end they had nothing left.”
A quick three and out by Loreauville allowed the Eagles to run out the clock and hold on for the win.
Central Catholic had some issues with cramping, but it was nothing like the trouble LHS had.
“We take a lot of pride in that,” CCHS coach David Furher said of his team’s conditioning. “The kids hate it. But they were conditioned. We actually backed off a little bit this week because it was a little warmer. But, last week, we did a lot of conditioning. In our practices we try to get up-tempo and sometimes we get frustrated with the guys. But that’s what you have to do to be in games like this.”
Delayhoussay was disappointed with the loss but tipped his hat to Grogan and Singleton for the heads-up play to win the game.
“They made a play,” he said. “When you have athletes like that on fourth down — big players come up in big time situations. That’s what Grogan did. We had him stopped and didn’t bring him down. Big time players make plans when they have to and that’s what happened.”
Loreauville scored on its first drive of the game on a seven-play drive of 57 yards with Julien scoring on a two-yard run for a 6-0 lead.
Central Catholic took advantage of a short punt later in the first quarter and set up at the Tigers 46-yard line to start its first scoring drive. Two plays later the Eagles were at the 21 and Singleton dropped back to find Dontrell Brown in the back of the end zone. Brown went up against a defensive back for the pass and hauled it in just inside the end zone and got his feet in for the score.
The only major breakdown for the CCHS defense was on the first Tigers play after Brown’s touchdown.
Julien broke free for a 65 yard run and to the CCHS 20-yard line and seven plays later he scored on a four-yard touchdown run, but the extra point missed for the second time in the game for a 12-7 LHS lead but it was the last points the Tigers would muster.
Central Catholic has another tough test next week when they host defending state champions White Castle at 7 p.m. Friday at Tiger Stadium.