BY SCOTT ANDERSON, Journal Sports
HAUGHTON — A perfect night for football gave Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton the perfect opportunity to get all his seniors in as the Buccaneers rolled past Natchitoches Central, 56-20, on Senior Night Friday at Harold E. Harlan Stadium.
“That’s awesome on Senior Night, when you can make sure all your seniors that don’t play a lot get to get in there in their last (home) game,” Brotherton said.
Seniors Colin Rains and Tyler Rhodes led the way for Haughton. Rains finished 10-of-15 passing for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Rhodes had 15 carries for 92 yards and two TDs – and threw for another.
Early on, the game looked like it would be another point parade involving the Bucs, on the heels of last week’s 78-71 loss to Benton.
But the scoring pace slowed down for several minutes — until Haughton’s defense played a pivotal role in an astounding closing blast of four touchdowns in the last 3:06 before halftime.
Natchitoches Central got on top quickly as the Chiefs drove 91 yards thanks to a quick strike from quarterback Brian Young to Camryn Davis (32 yards). NCHS scored on a 22-yard run by senior running back Jeremiah Miles and took an early 7-0 lead.
The Buccaneers answered on their next drive when Rhodes delivered a halfback pass to wideout Rashard Douglas from 31 yards out.
The defenses took control after the early exchange, after the Chiefs stopped the Bucs on a fake field goal attempt.
The Bucs finally went ahead, 14-7, on a 31-yard touchdown run from Rains with 9:38 left in the second quarter.
The Chiefs then went on a nine-play, 57-yard drive and tied the game when Young hit Davis on a 20-yard TD pass with 5:18 left in the half.
That’s when the Bucs took control, scoring 28 straight points before the band took the field.
Haughton scored with 3:06 left in the half on a drive that included a 49-yard pass from Rains to Rhodes. Rains capped the drive with an 8-yard pass to senior receiver John Ecot for a 21-14 lead.
On the Chiefs’ next play, Conner Blank intercepted Young’s pass and returned it 33 yards to extend the advantage to 28-14 with 2:51 left in the half.
The Bucs defense stopped the Chiefs on fourth-and-1 on the following series at the NCHS 37-yard line.
Haughton cashed in the short field. Rains plunged in from 1 yard to give the Bucs a 35-14 lead with 32 seconds left before intermission. But it wasn’t over.
Natchitoches Central fumbled a pitch, setting up one last Haughton score. With 16 seconds left, Rains hit Ecot for a 34-yard touchdown pass, and the Bucs were up 42-14.
“We got the interception and scored on that one,” Brotherton said. “The very next possession, we got another turnover deep in our territory and scored again. It was our defense getting stops, getting turnovers, putting our offense in a good position. The offense played well, too. It was total team effort.”
Brotherton said the Chiefs stuffed the box early in the game, which prompted the Bucs to throw the ball. That loosened up the Chiefs’ defense, and Haughton used the ground game to control the clock in the second half.
Haughton opened the second half with a scoring drive that lasted almost five minutes. Rhodes scored on a 7-yard run to give the Bucs a 49-14 lead.
Natchitoches Central scored on its first possession of the second half when Miles scored on a 33-yard run. But the 2-point conversion failed, and the Chiefs trailed 49-20.
The Chiefs’ onside kick attempt failed, setting up one more Haughton touchdown, a Rashard Douglas 18-yard touchdown, for the knockout punch.
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Haughton 56, Natchitoches Central 20
Score by quarters
NCHS | 7 | 7 | 6 | 0 | – 20
Haughton | 7 | 35 | 14 | 0 | – 56
NC – Jeremiah Miles 22 run (Mateo Restrepo kick)
H – Rashard Douglas 31 pass from Jalen Lewis (Carter Ebarb kick)
H – Colin Rains 32 run (Ebarb kick)
NC – Camrin Davis 20 pass from Brian Young (Restrepo kick)
H – John Ecot 8 pass from Rains (Ebarb kick)
H – Connor Blank 33 interception return (Ebarb kick)
H – Rains 1 run (Ebarb kick)
H – Ecot 33 pass from Rains (Ebarb kick)
H – Tyler Rhodes 7 run (Ebarb kick)
NC – Miles 33 run (run failed)
H – Rhodes 18 run (Ebarb kick)
NCHS (21-87) – Miles 14-107, Dremarious Brown 1-1, Jai’den Matlock 2-1, Davis 1-minus-2, Young 3-minus-20.
Haughton (34-178) – Rhodes 15-92, Marion Montgomery 10-62, Rains 5-32, Chris Mayes 3-minus-6.
NCHS – Young 16-22-0-147.
Haughton – Rains 10-15-0-228, Lewis 1-1-0-31, Christian Turner 0-1-0.
NCHS – Davis 8-100, Zion Thompson 5-38, Braden Woods 2-5, Titus Williams 1-4.
Haughton – Rashard Douglas 4-135, Ecot 2-41, Cayden Hinkie 2-17, Rhodes 1-49, Hesten Nesbitt 1-9, Lewis 1-8.