Making amends: Bulldogs rally late to slip by Ascension Catholic in 8-1A

White Castle's Brian Jenkins, Brandon Foster, Daniel Edwards, Jared Little, Andre Prevost, Jared Jones, Moses Young, Robert Franklin and Harold Zachary converge on a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs' 14-12 District 8-1A victory over Ascension Catholic on Friday night at Milton “Rocky” Ourso Jr. Stadium. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

WHITE CASTLE - White Castle High School overcame multiple turnovers and rival Ascension Catholic to score the game-winning touchdown in the closing minutes for a 14-12 District 8-1A victory on Friday night at Milton "Rocky" Ourso Jr. Stadium.

The Bulldogs (6-3, 3-1), under coach Lamar Thomas, outgained Ascension Catholic (5-4, 2-2) 187-134 in total yardage in the second half but were plagued by turnovers and penalties. The victory sets up a showdown with West St. John (7-2, 4-0) for the district championship in the season finale.

"We have got something to play for, now," Thomas said. "This might be what we needed - a tough, close ball game that showed our kids we can fight against a quality team and pull it out at the end. We just have to learn to stick together and pull together as a team. We did that tonight and hopefully that will push us forward.

"Penalties and turnovers are killing us and we have to correct that. We get good drives going and then get penalties or turn the ball over. That is what is eating our lunch. We are a ball control offense and like to move the chains methodically and when we get in long situations, we are at a disadvantage."

White Castle senior running back Daryl Young overcame two second half fumbles to bust the winning touchdown on fourth down with a 54-yard run. Dontrell Taylor scored the Bulldogs' first touchdown on White Castle's opening possession of the game.

"It was a gutsy call," Thomas said. "We talked to the kids about it and asked them what they felt comfortable with. I leaned on my kids and we executed it. (Young) had a couple of fumbles but made up for it and made amends."

Ascension Catholic fullback James Martin scored both Bulldog touchdown on short runs as they clung to a 12-8 lead through most of the contest controlled by defense.

Young rushed off right tackle on fourth-and-six to pick up the first down before breaking a tackle, spinning toward the White Castle sideline and darting down it leaving Ascension Catholic defenders in the dust with 1:39 left to play to cap an 8-play, 84-yard drive with the Bulldogs' backs against the wall.

Harold Zachary recovered Ascension Catholic quarterback D.J. Latino's fumble caused by Andre Prevost on the previous possession after the Bulldogs drove to the White Castle 8.

Ascension Catholic drove to the Bulldog 26 on the final possession but Martin's 43-yard field goal never had a chance following a bad snap that was recovered by Felton Dominique.

White Castle took an early 8-0 lead following Taylor's 15-yard touchdown run but Ascension Catholic answered in the first quarter on Martin's first score. His second put the Bulldogs ahead in the second quarter.

Neither team could muster a drive on their opening possession of the second half. Ascension Catholic drove into Bulldog territory on their second but Zachary hit Patrick Butler for a 5-yard loss to send them backwards.

White Castle drove into the red zone on the next series before Grant Rousseau recovered a fumble. Taylor had runs of 18, 17 and 12 yards on the drive to compliment Young's opening 15-yard gallop.

Joseph Landry recovered Robert Franklin's muffed punt at the White Castle 23 on the next series but the Bulldogs stiffened and Young batted down a fourth down pass. Ascension Catholic recovered another fumble at the Bulldog 31 three plays later.

White Castle, currently No. 10 in the latest unofficial power rankings released by the LHSAA for Class 1A non-select schools, tangle the Louisiana Sports Writer Association's No. 4 ranked team West St. John on Friday night at home in the regular season finale.