WESTLAKE — A pair of hurricanes left South Beauregard’s stadium unusable this season, but it didn’t matter Saturday as the Golden Knights made themselves at home at Max Caldarera Stadium.
Led by senior Colton Cross, South Beauregard’s defense camped out in the backfield to stymie the Yellow Jackets and win 28-14 in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs.
“This is 2020,” South Beauregard head coach Dwight Hudler said. “It is one of those things.
“They have had to overcome a lot, and they have done it without batting an eye. They have not complained about it, and I am happy for them.
“The kids were pumped to play and excited to be in the situation. They have handled everything with as much grace and flexibility as you can ask for. At the end of the day, they finished.”
No. 14 South Beauregard (5-3) will travel to play District 4-3A rival No. 3 Lake Charles College Prep (6-0) in the regional round. LCCP advanced by way of a firstround forfeit.
South Beauregard held No. 19 Iowa (3-3) to 113 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. Coming off the edge instead of his normal outside linebacker spot, Cross forced a pair of fumbles, sacked Gene Natali three times and added three quarterback hurries.
“(Cross) is a little fireplug,” Hudler said. “I think that he is about 5-6, 155 pounds, but man, he plays hard.
“Coach (Wade) Zito, our defensive coordinator, does a great job putting those kids in a position to be successful. (Cross) did a great job coming off the edge. He had a couple of really big plays tonight. He is just one of those tough, hard-nosed kids.”
Defensive linemen Eli Goss and Ty Fontenot also enjoyed a productive game for the Golden Knights. Goss had three tackles for a loss, and Fontenot had two sacks and a tackle for a loss.
Iowa held South Beauregard to 154 yards of total offense, but the Golden Knights started three drives in Iowa territory and four others from their own 42 or better.
“We had great field position and a couple of big sacks,” Hudler said. “Even when they had to punt, we ended up with a good spot and gave us some chances early on to jump on top.
“It is true what they say, defense wins championships. We really relied on them to set the offense up. This is the first game that I have seen us play for four quarters.”
In the first quarter, a fumble recovery by Collin Gunter started South Beauregard at Iowa’s 24-yard line, leading to a 4-yard score by Malachi McElhaney.
Not long after, Gunter picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards to put the Golden Knights up 13-0 with 6:27 left in the first quarter.
McElhaney, who ran for 103 yards on 23 carries, scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 8:39 left in the second quarter.
Early in the third quarter, Cross hit Natali deep behind the line of scrimmage and knocked the ball loose. Logan Salinas recovered and Goss scored on a 1-yard plunge for a 28-0 lead.
Iowa tried to mount a comeback with a pair of fourth-quarter scores, a 6-yard run by running back Tyrone Bass, and an 8-yard pass from Natali to Cade Labuyere. Bass finished with 47 yards on 15 carries.