Kaplan improves to 6-0
Julius Johnson takes the ball from KHS quarterback Daniel Lotief.
The 6-0 Kaplan Pirates remain undefeated despite an offensive surge from North Vermilion on Friday night. The Pirates beat the Patriots in district play 45-23.
It is the best start for a Pirate team since 1996 season when Kaplan went 10-0.
A squib kick from North Vermilion set Kaplan up with excellent field position to start the game. Kaplan wasted little time in rushing the ball up the middle, getting enough yards to drive the ball deep into the Patriots’ territory.
The drive ended with Mac Thibeaux sealing the deal with a 7-yard run for a touchdown. Quarterback Daniel Lotief ran the ball in moments later for the 2-point conversion, making it 8-0 Pirates.
The Patriots opened their offensive play with a series of passes, eventually connecting with Connor Dupuy for a long reception into Pirate territory. This was followed up immediately with a pass to Creed Rudd, who got the Patriots on the board for the only time in the first half. The Pirates still led 8-7.
The Pirates offense returned to the field and showed off their passing game, with Lotief connecting with Thibeaux catching a 54-yard pass for a touchdown. Suddenly, it was 16-7 Pirates.
Into the second quarter, and a back and forth stalemate between the two teams ended when the Pirates scored again with a 4-yard run from Julius Johnson. At halftime, it was 24-7 Kaplan.
The second half started out a bit rougher for the Pirates, who got called on roughing the passer and then again on a chop block. With three minutes left in the third, however, they seemed to get things rolling again. Johnson broke away for a 49-yard touchdown run, making the score 32-7. However, two minutes later, the Patriots answered with another big pass to Connor Dupuy, this time for a touchdown. They went for a 2-point conversion and got it, making the score 32-15.
Overall, Kaplan’s Julius Johnson dominated on offense, with 28 runs for 236 yards total and four touchdowns. Thibeaux ran 15 times for 125 yards and one touchdown, but also caught Kaplan’s only successful pass of the night for a touchdown. Quarterback Daniel Lotief went 1-for-5 on passes for 54 yards and one touchdown.
Garrett Becker, North Vermilion’s quarterback, had their only rushing yards of the night, rushing 11 times for 44 yards. He also with 20 of 35 for 251 yards and three touchdowns. One of those touchdowns went to Connor Dupuy, who had seven catches for 127 yards. Rudd caught six passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper Derouen of North Vermilion also caught three passes and had a total of 25 yards from them.
Kaplan coach Stephen Lotief said the game was pretty good, but expressed some disappointment in the defense. “We just couldn’t tackle,” he said. “We let two or three yard gains turn into ten yard gains.”
North Vermilion’s coach Richard Prejean, meanwhile, was proud of the effort his team put forward.
“I thought we completed drives well,” he explained. “One of the things we hadn’t really been able to do the past couple of games was complete a drive in the red zone. Tonight, it just seemed like we were more successful with that.”