LIVONIA — Russell Farris is best known as a linebacker.
Friday night, he moved into the backfield and helped fifth-ranked Livonia weather both ninth-ranked Brusly and a thunderstorm.
Farris ran for 137 yards on 12 carries, including touchdown runs of 42 and 59 yards as the Wildcats notched a 13-12 come-from-behind victory over the Panthers at Matherne Field. Amadeo Carbjal’s extra point provided the winning margin.
“We got hit in the mouth early,” Livonia coach David Brewerton said. “We were teetering on the edge for while. But I’m so proud of these guys and the way they responded.
“We challenged them all week, telling them about how people have said they’re not physical enough. For our defense to give up 12 points with that stud (Brusly’s Jay Christophe) back there playing quarterback, it says something.”
With the victory, Livonia (5-0) remains undefeated. Brusly, which raced out to a 12-0 lead by scoring on its first two possessions, is 4-1.
“(Livonia) did a good job at halftime making adjustments and finding some spots where they could have success against our defense,” Brusly coach Erik Willis said. “They had a lot to do with the fact that we played poorly, but we did make a lot of mistakes. We’ll come back from this. Tonight, my hat’s off to Livonia.”
Farris’ move to offense came out of necessity. The Wildcats played without starting running back Marquis Beauvais, whom Brewerton said was not with the team.
Going from a more wide-open offense to a between-the-tackles running game was also dictated by the storm that blew through the Pointe Coupee Parish area during the first half. The weather took its toll on both teams as they combined for 10 fumbles. Receivers also had a tough time catching passes.
The elements also hindered Brusly. Christophe led the Panthers, completing 7 of 19 passes for 112 yards with one interception. Livonia’s defense held the Panthers to 125 rushing yards.
Brusly took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards to score. Terrance West’s 29-yard catch gave the Panthers a first-and-goal at the Livonia 10, and Christophe scored three plays later on a 2-yard run to make it 6-0 with 8:03 left in the first quarter.
The extra-point attempt was off the mark.
Shortly thereafter, Brusly drove 50 yards in 11 plays for another TD. Three Christophe runs, including a 1-yard TD run, capped the drive late in the first period. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving Brusly with a 12-0 lead.
The Wildcats got back in contention on Farris’ 42-yard TD run with 7:32 remaining in the half.
Livonia struck again early in the third quarter when Farris took a handoff and bounced outside, racing 59 yards down the LHS sideline.
Carbjal’s PAT kick made it a 13-12 game with 11:04 to go in the third quarter.
The Panthers drove to the Livonia 33 in the fourth quarter, but Marius Beauvais and Justin Riley combined to sack Christophe to end the threat. It was one two sacks for the two linebackers.
“This is a big win for us,” Brewerton said.
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