December 13, 2008

South Plaquemines leaves no doubt

NEW ORLEANS, La. - A high school football team in the 1A classification shouldn't have as much talent on the field as there is at Port Sulphur (La.) South Plaquemines. The defending state champs made it look easy in picking up their second consecutive state title 62-16 over Christian Life Academy.

Christian Life was in an unenviable position on Saturday afternoon trying to figure out who to stop and how. A series of screen passes, swing passes, speed sweeps and handoffs to the bevy of skill players available for the Hurricanes led to a 36-3 halftime lead and made a state championship look easy.

The cast of characters:

  • Tailback Lyle Fitte is a thick, 5-9, 195-pound tailback that has the bulk to be a powerful inside runner but the speed to bust the big one. He also shows ability in the pass game, catching one long touchdown pass on a post out of the slot. A senior, Fitte ended his career with: 7 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown along with 3 catches for 60 yards and another score.

  • Ridge Turner sets the machine in motion for South Plaquemines as the quarterback but his skill set extends well past his position. Turner showed great acceleration and elusiveness on draw plays and designed runs. CLA had no answer for Turner with the ball in his hands and he earned his Most Outstanding Player award.

    Though he proved that he can be an effective passer when necessary, Turner's likely future is at cornerback on the next level. He proved that he is ready for the switch, making a beautiful interception at the South Plaquemines one yard-line, returning it 84 yards to CLA territory.

    On the night, Turner amassed 181 yards rushing on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Through the air he was 12 of 17 for 201 yards and two more touchdowns. He even found time to catch one pass for 10 yards. With only a McNeese State offer at this point, Turner could be a late steal by a mid-major program.

  • Yet another 2011 star revealed himself on Saturday afternoon in the form of Bradley Sylvie. Sylvie was a highlight film waiting to happen every time he touched the ball. He made tough grabs over the middle, found big plays when there didn't seem to be anything available and was the most slippery ball-carrier to grace the Superdome turf through three games on the weekend.

    Sylvie will definitely be a name to keep an eye on. He is the stepson of South Plaquemines head coach Cyril Crutchfield and he was the state champion in the 100 and 200 meters in track as a freshman. His final stat line on Saturday was 9 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns along with 6 catches for another 113 yards.

    Along with Jarvis Landry and Jermauria Rasco, Sylve continued the trend of a dominating sophomore performance in each of the first three state championship games.

  • The fourth major offensive factor for South Plaquemines was senior Journel Trahan who had 46 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. Like all of the South Plaquemine athletes, Trahan has a lot of versatility. He lined up at tailback and wide receiver and made several plays with the ball in his hands.

    Defensive standouts

    South Plaquemines was just as fast on the defensive side of the ball, never allowing CLA to put together any productive drives. Seth Ancar was the most disruptive player for the Hurricanes. The junior played outside linebacker and was unblockable off the edge. He had three sacks on the day and also forced a fumble.

    Another future star on the defensive side is sophomore Beau Fitte. Fitte is extremely well put together for a sophomore and he showed that he has rare speed for a linebacker by nearly walking down CLA star tailback Shane Andrus on a kick return touchdown. Fitte's productive afternoon included six tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.

    Dominating numbers

    South Plaquemines was the second team in the dome on the weekend to hold its opponent to under 100 yards of total offense. The Hurricanes were able to limit the Pioneers to -6 yards rushing and only 41 total yards of offense. That output is compared to 576 yards of offense for South Plaquemines. The Hurricanes also dominated in first downs with a 26-2 advantage.

    The well-coached and disciplined South Plaquemines squad also limited its penalties with only one penalty for five yards all afternoon. Offensively, the Hurricanes were as close to perfect as you can ask for.

    Belle Chasse 28, Archbishop Shaw 7

    The Blake Metherne show had a happy ending on Saturday evening. Matherne has been carrying his team all season. He led them to a 7-1 regular season, almost single-handedly beat the defending 4A state champs, Bastrop in the state semifinals and on Saturday night he put his team on his shoulders once again to a Louisiana Class 4A state championship.

    Lining up at quarterback, Matherne passed for 112 yards on 19 of 25 attempts and one touchdown. But that was only the beginning. Matherne also rushed for 166 yards on 29 carries and even returned one punt for 52 yards.

    At the end of the night, Matherne walked home with a state championship and the game's most valuable player award. However, Matherne also walked away from the game without a major college offer in hand.

    Generously listed at 5-foot-10, Matherne doesn't have the height or the mechanics to be a major college quarterback. He does however have the athleticism and toughness to be seriously considered by someone as a safety or athlete prospect.

    After what Matherne was able to do with his team this season, he is clearly a winner too, and a player that someone may end up taking a chance on.

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