Green Devils blast Istrouma

PETER SILAS PASQUA news@postsouth.com
Plaquemine's Rickey Aro rushes for a 21-yard touchdown in the third quarter of the Green Devils' 48-8 District 6-4A victory over Istrouma on Friday night. Aro accounted for four touchdowns and 250 yards of total offense in the win.

Plaquemine scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and amassed over 500 yards of total offense to win their fourth straight game and remain undefeated in District 6-4A play with a 48-8 victory over Istrouma on Friday night for homecoming at Andrew Canova Stadium.

The Green Devils (4-3, 3-0), currently No. 18 in unofficial Class 4A power rankings, outgained Istrouma in total yardage 515-161 with 373 of it coming on the ground, while running 61 total plays. Plaquemine also won the turnover battle 4-2 and held the Indians (1-5, 1-3), who ran just 38 total plays, to 52 total yards in the first half.

"We started out the season just about as bad as you can imagine," Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. "We played some very tough competition and had some key injuries at the beginning of the year. All of those things, as well as the new coaching staff, I think contributed to our failures but we are now on a four-game winning streak and more importantly undefeated in district. The district championship is what we are aiming for."

Hakeem Deggs forced three turnovers - two interceptions and one fumble - rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown and had 47 yards receiving on four catches for Plaquemine. Green Devil quarterback Rickey Aro completed 7-of-11 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns and added 108 yards rushing and two scores on the ground.

Julius Maracalin rushed for 93 yards on 11 attempts and Raekwon Thomas had two touchdown receptions for 85 yards. Backup quarterback D'Morea Wicks added 56 yards rushing and one touchdown and Myron Jack had one rushing touchdown.

Joseph Jordan had an interception and Tevin Becnel recovered a fumble for the Green Devils. Davon Godchaux had one sack and Chazz Edwards and Jaron Hooks combined for another as Plaquemine had six tackles for loss. Alexander Koulpasis kicked 6-of-7 point after touchdown attempts.

Indian quarterback Marquise Kaigler completed 9-of-21 passes for 99 yards but was intercepted three times. He rushed for 51 yards and Istrouma's lone touchdown on nine attempts. Tevin Walker had three catches for 60 yards.

Deggs' 21-yard touchdown run capped the games' opening 9-play, 70-yard drive and Koulpasis' kick made it 7-0 with 7:58 left to play in the first quarter. Maracalin and Joseph converted first downs on the drive as the Green Devils took advantage of Istrouma penalties for two more.

Two plays from scrimmage later, Deggs timed his jump perfectly and leaped high into the air to intercept Kaigler at midfield. Aro connected with Thomas deep over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession following three straight running plays and Koulpasis' kick made it 14-0.

Thomas juggled before bolting on another deep ball over the middle in double coverage from Aro on the Green Devils' next offensive play for a 57-yard touchdown after Deggs' 25-yard punt return to midfield.

Jack, Godchaux and Jaquele Smith combined to drop Aaron Hall for a 4-yard loss on the previous series and Koulpasis' kick made it 21-0 with 2:22 still remaining in the first quarter.

"I was proud of the fact that we got out to an early lead," Distefano said. "Our passing game improved tonight. Our quarterback did a good job and (Thomas) hasn't gotten the ball as much as he probably should have this year. Our receivers block their tails off all the time but they are also weapons to catch the ball."

Godchaux sacked Kaigler for an 8-yard loss before Edwards and Hooks dropped him for a 2-yard loss to halt the next series and Plaquemine mounted an ensuing 14-play, 80-yard drive capped off by Jack's 1-yard plunge with 6:04 left in the first half. Marcalin had six carries for 49 yards rushing on the drive.

Plaquemine almost added to the lead late in the first half after Deggs ran down Walker on a 34-yard catch and run forcing a fumble that was recovered by Becnel but Darius Robinson intercepted Aro at the Istrouma 1-yard line to keep the score 28-0 at halftime after the Green Devils had drove into the red zone.

Jordan intercepted Kaigler on the first play from scrimmage in the second half but five plays later Hall recovered a fumble on a sack. Smith tackled Javaris Washington for a 5-yard loss to halt the Indians' next series.

Aro reversed field on a 21-yard touchdown run inside the right pylon to cap the Green Devils' next 6-play, 75-yard drive kick started by Maracalin's 25-yard rumble. Koulpasis' kick put Plaquemine ahead 35-0 with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

On the next Indian possession, Kaigler lofted a deep ball into the end zone from the Green Devil 30, but Deggs came down with it again for his second interception, this time wrestling it away from the receiver on the ground.

"Hakeem had a great game but he does that every week," Distefano said, "offensively and defensively."

Aro reversed field again on a 30-yard touchdown run to cap the ensuing 5-play, 80-yard drive that featured two long runs by Deggs and gave the Green Devils a 42-0 lead.

Istrouma avoided a shutout on Zaigler's 7-yard touchdown run to cap the next 50-yard possession with 5:50 remaining. Zaigler had a 25-yard run and 11-yard completion on the drive and completed the conversion pass to Walker.

Wicks' 10-yard touchdown run reflected the final tally with 3:22 left to play after his 32-yard keeper across midfield.

The Green Devils return to the gridiron Thursday night to face St. Michael the Archangel (5-2, 2-1) in another District 6-4A matchup at the Louisiana Leadership Institute's Doug Williams Stadium in Baton Rouge.