On a perfect night for football at The Pit, it looked like the stars were aligning and the Minden Crimson Tide were going to take the lead late in their matchup with the Haughton Buccaneers.
The Tide had started the drive at their own 10-yard line and were marching with ease near the 30-yard line going in.
That’s when a Haughton defender ripped the ball away from Minden’s Kolby Jackson, turning the tide, so to speak, and setting up Haughton’s winning score.
The Tide couldn’t answer in the two-minute drill and the game ended at 17-10, in favor of the Bucs.
“We only turned the ball over once,” Minden head coach Spencer Heard said. “It turned out to be at a very critical time. I feel like we had some momentum on that last drive and had them on their heels. That’s just something we’re going to have to learn from as far as how important ball security can be in a game like that.”
In a matchup that has featured some great games in recent years, this was one of the best.
Haughton got on the board first on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Darius Brooks, who was later replaced in the game by Pryce Curry. Haughton added a field goal in the second quarter to make it 10-0 as the Minden offense struggled to move the ball against a fast and physical Haughton defense.
Dekeltric Freelon had the answer for the Tide on the ensuing kickoff following the Haughton field goal.
Freelon fielded the kick at the 8-yard line heading left. When nothing was there, he reversed field, but only for a second as he cut on a dime back to a crease in the middle of the field and said see you later. The 92-yard return made it 10-7 at the half.
Pedro Hernandez tied the game at 10-10 early in the third quarter, as special teams kept Minden alive.
“Freelon did an awesome job on that play making guys miss,” Heard said. “He showed the speed and it really revitalized us.
I thought Pedro did a great job hitting that field goal in a pressure situation. I feel like if we could have got him an opportunity at the end of the game, he would have gave us the lead.”
The Minden defense stood tall most of the night, forcing Haughton into three turnovers, two interceptions and one fumble.
Kendall Allums came up with the first turnover, an interception on a screen pass to stop a promising drive for the Bucs, and Cameron Morgan grabbed the second interception on Haughton’s first drive of the second half.
“We were plus two in the turnover battle,” Heard said. “I thought our defense played great. Coach Ensminger called a great game, what it came down to was on their last drive a kid stepped up and made a play.”
That kid was Josh Lister, who hauled in a 30-yard reception on third down to keep Haughton’s winning drive alive.
Even after that play. the Crimson Tide defense forced Haughton into a fourth and goal from the 2-yard line, but the Bucs’ Pryce Curry dove into the end zone for the score.
“Both sides played well,” Heard said. “I think the big story of the game was them limiting our rushing game and field position. It’s going to hurt for a few days, but come Monday we have to forget about it and get focused on the next task, which is North Webster.”
Antonio Rivette finished 10-18 passing with 118 yards.
Rodtravion Rogers led the team in rushing and receiving, carrying six times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 49 yards. Kelcy Miller caught three balls for 32 yards, Tavarius Edwards caught three for 16 yards and Jordan Becnel snagged one pass for 14 yards. Morgan and Allums finished with interceptions, and Zi’Kerrion Baker played an outstanding defensive game for the Tide.