Vandebilt Catholic football coach Jeremy Atwell used the phrase "complimentary football" to describe the Terriers' 34-0 win over District 7-4A rival Ellender High during Thursday's game held at Thomas B. Smith Memorial Stadium in Houma.
The Terriers (4-2 overall; 3-0 in district) dominated all three phases in the win.
Vandebilt’s offense generated 318 total yards with 292 of it coming in the run game. Senior runner Drew Rios led the way with 22 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Max Doyle contributed two rushing touchdowns and 87 yards.
The Terriers defense pitched their second straight shutout and has not allowed a score in its last 10 quarters. Also, their special teams contained Ellender’s return game all night.
Atwell said it was a complete game performance with his offense, defense and special teams units making key plays in the win.
“It was just a good game for us. We played complimentary football," Atwell said. "We were able to run the ball and possess the clock a little bit. It allows your defense to take a deep breath, pin their ears back and go. We’ve had great special teams coverage over the past two weeks, so that was kind of like the first time we’ve played a whole game. It still wasn’t clean everywhere but I’m extremely proud of the way they came out on a short week.”
Ellender coach David McCormick said the Patriots (1-5 overall; 0-2 in district) didn’t have any emotion during Thursday’s game, which was moved to Thomas B. Smith Memorial Stadium due to unsafe playing conditions on the field at South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium in Bourg.
“They dominated all three phases of the game (Thursday),” McCormick said. “We looked like we were sleep walking. We didn’t play good. There are no excuses. We can’t go up against a team like this and go through the emotions.”
Rios had a 39-yard run that set up his 1-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Vandebilt after a Reid Bourg extra point with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
Later in the opening quarter, quarterback Max Doyle mishandled the snap, but managed to keep possession of it and scramble 19-yards up the middle to extend the Terriers lead to 14-0 with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
On Ellender’s next possession, freshman quarterback Ryan Williams had the Patriots’ best offensive play on a 52-yard run down to Vandebilt’s 5, but the Terriers’ defense stood tall three plays later and forced a turnover on downs.
Doyle, who scored his second touchdown on a 54-yard touchdown that made it 21-0 Vandebilt with 4:41 to go in the second quarter, said he and Rios are taking advantage of big running lanes up front.
“I thank our O-line for helping us open up the run game,” said Doyle, who also completed 3-of-7 passes for 26 yards. “We’re forcing defenses to worry about both of us because it’s opening up lanes left and right. We’re playing well and I’m thankful for it. We just want to keep it rolling.”
In the third quarter, Vandebilt went up 28-0 when junior receiver Ja’Corey Wells took a reverse handoff run 22 yards for a touchdown. Junior receiver Caleb Calhoun capped the scoring with a 29-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Vandebilt senior defensive back CJ Detillier later grabbed an interception and the Terriers held Ellender to 113 total yards.
“The defensive line was on (Thursday),” Vandebilt junior linebacker Chandler Rhodes said. “When our defense is in the backfield 24-7, it’s hard to stop. Everybody is working together. Our defense is playing with some confidence right now. We feel like nobody is going to stop us. Everybody doubted us at the beginning but we’re just going to come back and prove them wrong.”
Senior defensive back Brennan Patterson, who had several tackles for losses, said Vandebilt didn’t want to overlook Ellender on Thursday.
“We have to treat every game like it’s an important game,” Patterson said. “We couldn’t underestimate them because they have some talent and they are fast. We just had to come out and perfect our craft and do what we do.”
McCormick said he hopes the Patriots will bounce back.
“This was a rough one for us to come out and play like we did,” McCormick said. “I’m very disappointed, but we have a handful of kids that are going to go out and give you everything they’ve got every play. That’s what makes coaching fun – those kids that give you everything they’ve got. We’ve got to scrape this off and come back next week.”