SCOTT — In a game that featured two nearly unstoppable offenses, Zachary High coach Neil Weiner was hoping for more help from his defense on Friday night.
Acadiana High spoiled that plan, however, as the Rams rushed for 510 yards to help defeat Zachary 63-42 in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Bill Dotson Stadium.
The No.14-seeded Rams (8-2) advance to the regional round to meet West Monroe.
Zachary (6-5), seeded 19th, ended its season for a third straight time with a playoff game against Acadiana.
The Broncos matched Acadiana’s rushing attack with their spread offense passing game, which produced 463 yards behind quarter Trey Hills.
Weiner said he hoped to slow down Acadiana’s veer attack, which featured four backs rushing for over 100 yards.
“I have a lot of confidence in our offense, and I thought that was the case again. I was a little disappointed in that I thought we would have played better defensively. We weren’t able to get the few more stops that I thought we needed,” Weiner said.
Acadiana Ted Davidson matched his defense against the type of Zachary offense he expected. But that was offset by the rushing game, and a passing attack that completed all five attempts for 166 yards.
“We knew Zachary was good on offense because they have been putting up some pretty big numbers, but we were able to do a lot right offensively,” said Davidson.
The Rams led 28-21 at halftime, but in the third period, AHS outscored Zachary three touchdowns to one, and by the 2:58 mark in the period, held a 49-28 advantage.
“I think the momentum in the game turned there in the third quarter where we took the kickoff and scored and then scored twice more. At that point, Zachary had run only three offensive plays (in the third quarter),” Davidson said.
Zachary featured several receivers, including Justin Kinchen (6 receptions, 182 yards), Donald Gage (10-148), Kentrell Fisher (4-65) and Boston Scott (5-62). Scott also had 42 rushing yards.
Acadiana’s Carday Spencer scored four rushing touchdowns and gained 147 yards on 18 carries. His totals were nearly matched by running back Edward Cormier (11-109), DeDedward Cormier (9-106) and Shane Francis (16-112).
Zachary had a chance to score early, moving the ball to the Acadiana 2-yard line in three plays.
A bad exchange from center caused ZHS its only lost fumble of the game, and AHS used that chance to drive 98 yards in six plays to claim a 7-0 lead.
“That 98-yard drive might have hurt us in the past, but we have a group of kids who are really resilient. The exact same thing happened to us in last year’s game (against Acadiana), but this year, the team came back and showed some fight,” Weiner said.
After the Rams took a 14-0 first-quarter lead, the Broncos responded with a pair of touchdown drives that tied the score with 1:07 remaining.
That deadlock didn’t last long, as Edward Cormier broke a 55-yard run and scored on the next play to give the Rams a 21-14 lead with 17 seconds left in the period.
Zachary scored to tie the game again — at 21 — when Hills threw a 4-yard pass to Gage with 9:37 left before halftime.