Trailblazers outlast Jena in OT, Simon accounts for four TDs in milestone win
JENA — A penalty wiped out a potential go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, but a penalty in overtime gave No. 3 Lake Charles College Prep a second chance and its first trip to the semifinals.
LCCP (9-0) beat No. 11 Jena (7-3) in overtime 28-26 in the Class 3A quarterfinals Friday, ending the Giants’ seven-game win streak.
LCCP will travel to Union Parish (10-0) in the Class 3A semifinals. Union Parish beat St. Martinville 47-6.
“This is huge for the program,” LCCP head coach Erick Franklin said. “We started this thing six years ago with a goal in hand, and now we are on our way to the semifinals.
“This is a gutsy performance by my team. They played hard all night. That team across from us is tough. Our kids played so hard all night, and we ended up pulling it out in overtime.”
Down 26-20, quarterback Dillon Simon found Solomon Lewis for a 7-yard touchdown. Jerrell Joseph extra-point kick was short, but the Giants slammed into Joseph and were penalized. Simon took advantage of the second chance and carried the ball across the goal line for the winning 2-point conversion.
“I tell the kids things are going to happen,” Franklin said. “You have to stay the course and keep playing hard and things will happen your way in due time.”
LCCP had 10 penalties for 77 yards.
Jena scored first in overtime on a 1-yard run by quarterback Jordan Jackson, but the Giants’ 2-point conversion attempted was stuffed by the Trailblazers.
After Jena took a 20-14 lead with 11:04 left in the game on a 9-yard run by Jackson, the Trailblazers stopped Jena on its next two drives, and Simon found Lewis for 16 yards to tie the score at 20-20 with 8:35 left in the game. LCCP held Jena to 62 yards of total offense in the second half and 169 for the game.
“They played lights out,” Franklin said. “That Jena team runs that split back that is one of the best I have seen.
“They are tough, big up front and physical. The quarterback is an athlete. We came out and got us a win tonight.”
Simon completed 13 of 19 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns, all to Lewis who finished with seven catches for 85 yards. Keshlon Jackson had three receptions for 65 yards. Ja’Than Royal ran for 102 yards on 15 carries and had a 64-yard touchdown called back on a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
Jena held the Trailblazers to a single score in the first half and 125 yards of total offense. After scoring on its first drive, the Trailblazers gained 12, 21, and 18 yards on their next two drives.
LCCP got a big special teams play when Thaddeus Campbell blocked a punt 7:34 left in the second quarter, but the Trailblazers couldn’t capitalize on it.
Early it looked as if the game would be an offensive battle as both teams scored on their opening drive.
Jena went 52 yards in 11 plays, mostly with its split-back veer run game. On third-and-7 from the Trailblazers’ 27-yard line, quarterback Jackson picked up 16 yards to the 13 yard-line then hit Brennan Daigle for a 6-yard score with 5:04 left in the first quarter.
Prep started from its own 24-yard line but gained a first down in its first two plays on a 10-yard reception by Lewis and a 15-yard run by Royal. Simon capped the drive with a 2-yard keeper, but the Trailblazers extra point kick went off the crossbar leaving them with an 8-6 deficit with 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
Jena pushed its lead to 14-6 on a 3-yard run by Jackson with 22 seconds left in the first half.
Rodrick Anderson/American Press