Sacred Heart Trojan quarterback Ethan Karonika (5) awaits the snap while the Mamou defensive line moves forward to make a play. Sacred Heart rolled past the Mamou Demons 44-0 in a non-district inter-parish game Thursday night. The Trojans are 2-0 on the season. Mamou falls to 0-1 on the year. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
Passing the test
VILLE PLATTE -- Coming into Thursday night’s game against the Mamou Demons, Sacred Heart Trojan head football coach Josh Haper was hoping to gauge whether his team was the same team that dominated Basile in a week one win.
Apparently, his team passed the eye test after the Trojans rolled past Mamou 44-0 in a non-district inter-parish win.
With the win, Sacred Heart improves to 2-0 on the season, while the Demons drop to 0-1. The Trojans will travel to New Roads on Friday to take on the Catholic of Pointe Coupee Hornets in the first district game of the year for both teams. Meanwhile, Mamou hosts Ville Platte Friday in a District 5-3A showdown.
“I thought we had a big jump, especially in the running game,” stated Harper. “We were able to establish the running game early, which opened up other things for us. I thought the offensive line was impressive. They fired off the line and gave our running backs huge holes to run through. It definitely was a good outing for us.”
On the night, Sacred Heart rushed the ball 27 times for 175 yards. The biggest beneficiary of the huge holes was senior running back Alex McElwee who toted the ball 5 times for 135 yards.
On the opposite side of the field, the Mamou Demons, who were playing their first game of the season, could not keep drives going because of a number of penalties and turnovers. The Demons were flagged 15 times, lost two fumbles and threw one interception.
Despite the fact that Mamou shot themselves in the foot on several occasions, the Demons were able to move the ball with some success against a very tough Sacred Heart defense. After the game, Mamou head coach Dwight Collins talked about his team’s performance.
“We had too many blown plays, wrong coverage techniques, and it was a lot for us to overcome,” said Collins. “When we came out here, I told the players that some bad things could happen and we were going to have to adjust. We just did not adjust fast enough. Offensively, we should be okay this year, but we just cannot have that many penalties and turnovers.”
The game started with Mamou putting together a decent drive. The Demons moved the ball from their 40-yard line down to the Sacred Heart 47-yard line but made their first mistake of the night when Sacred Heart picked off a pass at their 20-yard line.
It did not take the Trojans long to cash in on the turnover, as Sacred Heart crossed the goal line on the fourth play of the drive when quarterback Ethan Karonika connected with Bryce Deville for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good, however, the Trojans led 6-0 with 6:52 to go in the first quarter.
A stalled drive by the Demons ended on their own 31-yard line, forcing them to punt the ball back to Sacred Heart. The Trojans took over at their 33-yard line following the punt and on the first play from scrimmage completed a nine yard pass from Karonika to Landon Leblanc.
The very next play McElwee busted loose for a 58-yard touchdown run, putting the Trojans up by two scores. Karonika tacked on the extra point, giving Sacred Heart a 13-0 lead with 2:31 left in the opening period.
Mamou took over possession at their 45-yard line following the ensuing kickoff and drove the ball down to the Trojan 13-yard line, aided by a 25 yard pitch and catch from Jalon Bradley to Jonathan Hand. But, three false start penalties and an incomplete pass later, the Demons were forced to turn the ball over on downs.
With the game into the second quarter, the two teams exchanged possessions. On their fourth drive of the night Mamou committed their second mistake of the night, fumbling at their own 17-yard line.
Sacred Heart took over and two plays later, McElwee found pay dirt once again, this time from 12 yards out. Despite the try after being wide left, the Trojans now led 19-0 with 7:02 to go in the first half.
Both teams moved deep into their opponent’s territory over the final minutes of the half, with neither able to put points on the board.
Sacred Heart received the second half kickoff and brought it to their 30-yard line. On the very first offensive play of the third quarter, Karonika found tight end Issac Leger wide open in the middle of the field.
Leger softly gathered the football and outsprinted the entire Mamou defense for a 70- yard catch and run. The two point run failed but Sacred Heart now owned a 25-0 lead just 15 seconds into the second half.
Over the next seven minutes, the Trojans would put the game totally out of reach, scoring three more times. The first score came at the 7:23 mark when Karonika would hit Gabe Fontenot on a swing route out of the backfield for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
The second score happened just 3:13 later as Karonika found Landon LeBlanc for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
The final score of the game followed a Mamou fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The first play following the recovery, McElwee slashed his way into the end zone from 31 yards out.
Karonika finished the night with 246 yards on nine of 12 passes and four touchdowns.
McElwee garnered 135 yards on five carries and scored three touchdowns.