One disappointing season! Green Devils falls to 0-5

Tryve Brackin
It's been a tough season for the Plaquemine Green Devils, who remained winless against Port Allen.

Plaquemine High's Green Devils are having one disappointing a season. The local prep football team fell to 0-5 Friday night with a 27-20 loss to visiting west bank neighbor Port Allen High in a District 9-3A match.

The only thing PHS Head Coach Blake Kling can continue to say is his football club is the best losing team in the state. The Green Devils have a devilish talent for sticking their pitchforks in their own feet and then stumbling to the finish line two steps short of victory.

PHS did it again, and to themselves. They had a 13-0 lead for the second District 9-3A game in a row only to blow it in the second and fourth quarters.

The Green Devils are just about the most frustrated group of prep football players around these parts. They have lost 40-32 to upper classification Opelousas in the final period. Gave in yet again to Tara, falling 30-27 in the second half. And then two weeks ago let a bonehead play hand a sure overtime contest on a green platter to Brusly via a safety and a 29-27 loss.

The loss to neighboring Brusly may have been the very highlight film of the season of doom. The loss to Port Allen, now amazingly 5-0 after being worried stiff about having to play Plaquemine, was simply par for the course, and the "course" is different than playing at The Island. Everything the Green Devils shoot that goes off the fairway falls into the very fires of defeat's inferno.

This year's Green Devil season is like an attack of heartburn that will not go away no matter how many "Tums" of encouragement their fancy and productive offensive attack can give them.

There may not be any sign of relief for the remainder of the season with a trip to 5-A power St. Thomas More tomorrow (Friday) night followed by back-to-back games against District 9-3A powers Lutcher and St. Charles.

All this is just sad and a tougher pill to take than a couple of chewable "Rolaids".

Plaquemine High does have a splendid offensive plan. Quarterback Ryan Travis is simply the best football player in Iberville Parish. He is a spark of "Green Fire", so much so he had Port Allen mentor Guy Blanchard promoting him as the next president of the United States in pre-game comments to Westside Journal sportswriter Michael Jacobs.

And, Ryan came darn close to pinning season loss number one on the visiting PAHS Pelicans Friday night; that is, until the Green Devil secondary squinted their eyes and thought Pel QB Leonard Parker, Jr. was Peyton Manning, while the PHS linebackers thought RB Johnathan Johnson was Adrian Peterson and both went running for shelter in the fourth quarter of the game.

Johnson took off on a 62-yard TD jaunt with just a bit less than seven minutes to play to give the Port Allen boys a 21-20 lead. Parker then added the final shove to topple the Green Devils over the edge of the cliff with an 18-yard TD pass to Jeremy Taylor.

Plaquemine's offense still had its chances to rally back. However, rallying back to win in the final quarter is the one quality the Green Devils' offense seems to lack this season. Similar to a lack of finish in the loss to Tara in their Homecoming defeat, PHS fell just short of rally points. A pass attempt to pay dirt by Travis was blocked away by a pair of Pel secondary boys on a four-down final try.

Turnovers (a pass interception and a fumble loss) came back to haunt the Green Devils after the third stanza. Twice drives were ended by the miscues and loss of possession and that left the already Swiss cheese PHS defense a slice behind. The Pelican offense made an impressive late-game showing against the field weary PHS defense and that created yet another narrow loss.

If football games were only a quarter long, PHS could be 2-0 in district. For the second week in a row the Green Devil offense came out a smokin' and a pitchforkin'! The Green Devils marched 61 yards straight down the field against a Port Allen defense that had pitched back-to-back shutouts against teams of a lesser quality. Travis capped the final yards, going five stripes to pay dirt.

Port Allen took over possession and marched into PHS territory, but coughed up the pigskin at the Green Devil 23. Travis then sent green fire sparking over the Pels' heads with a 77-yard touchdown pass and catch with favorite target Damarcus Watts.

But, as 2008 history has shown, the PHS offense gives and the PHS defense takes away. Port Allen's Parker scored on a pair of short runs to cap drives and the Pels took a temporary 14-13 lead.

Back came Travis and the PHS offense. The senior QB tallied on a 4-yard keeper with 1:16 left to intermission and the PHS boys went to the locker room with a 20-14 advantage. However, even a 20-0 halftime lead would not seem comfortable enough with PHS' 2008 track record. And, in the long run, it was not. PHS could not score in the second half and PAHS won the game with their 13-0 final-quarter showing.

PHS finished the game with 158 yards rushing and another 121 yards in the air with Travis and Watts getting together on six completions and a score. PHS had 16 first downs, but, overall, the Green Devils were not productive enough to win. Port Allen was the most productive with 19 first downs, 315 yards rushing and another 18 in the air. Both teams had two turnovers, while PHS held a narrow edge in penalty yardage: 107 to 98.

Johnson led the PA attack with 128 yards rushing and the go-ahead touchdown; while Parker, whose dad, Leonard, Sr., is a former North Iberville High head gridiron coach, matched Travis in productivity. Both QBs scored twice and tossed TD passes.

Plaquemine travels tomorrow and faces yet another powerful non-district foe on a killer schedule set up two years prior by a coach who left the school at mid-year. Perhaps at that very moment, the tide had turned on the PHS boys.