Kaplan's historical season continues; now 13-0
Kaplan head coach Stephen Lotief holds up the No. 1 after the game.
JENNINGS - The historical season continues for the Kaplan Pirates.
The Pirates (13-0) won a school record 13 games after whipping the Jennings Bulldogs 29-12 in the quarterfinal round.
The No. 3 Pirates will entertain No. 7 Amite on Friday. Amite knocked off No. 2 Iowa, 21-14.
This is the first time in 31 years that a Kaplan football team reaches the semifinal game. The 1985 Pirates also accomplished that goal.
A win on Friday puts them in the Louisiana Superdome for the first time in school history.
The town of Kaplan showed up to support their football team. When the players’ bus left school and traveled through town, down. La. 14, their fans were lined up, holding up signs and cheering on the team as the bus drove by.
Kaplan running back Julius Johnson knows that reaching the semifinals is a great thing for the school, the team and most of all for the community of Kaplan.
“Look at these fans on the field,” said Johnson. “This is great.
“We made this game personal tonight. We did not let anything get in our way of winning. We took it to them.”
Kaplan quarterback Daniel Lotief said that the hard work they put in this year is paying off.
“It is a good feeling,” said Daniel. “There are only four teams left, and we are one of the four teams. That is pretty special.”
Jerrick Romero, who plays on the offensive line and defensive line, said, “This is a big, big accomplishment, making it to the semifinals. We won 13 games and we are not going to stop now.”
Jennings did not have an answer for Kaplan’s running game.
The Pirates ran for 386 yards. Mac Thibeaux rushed for a season high 249-yards on 16 carries. He had touchdown runs of 92, 4 and 69-yards. At one time in the game, he had three carries that went for three touchdowns.
Julius Johnson had 27 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown. His longest run of the night was for 12-yards.
Jennings’ Travis Etiennie, who came into the game with 2,100-yards, was held to 170- yards on 15 carries. He had 166 yards in the first half and only four in the second half.
He only carried the pigskin four times in the second half.
In the second half the Pirates ran 31 plays to the Bulldogs’ eight. Jennings did not run an offensive play in the fourth quarter.
In the opening minutes of the fourth period the Pirates ran 11 plays and scored when Johnson scored from the 5.
On the kickoff, Jennings ran it back 74-yards for a touchdown.
Kaplan got the ball back with 4:35 left in the game and ate the clock up, securing history. Kaplan head coach Stephen Lotief has never coached in the semifinals game, let alone had a perfect 13-0 season.
“I am so proud of these players,” said Lotief. “They continue to impress me and each week they are improving. We won but they are not satisfied with just reaching this point.”