Mamou, their opponent, was coming off of their first win of the season and seemed to find itself on a new roll, while Iota was undersized, young and coming off of its eighth loss.
The trend for both teams continued Friday when the Bulldogs (1-9, 1-4 in district 5-2A) loss to the Green Demons (2-8, 2-3) by a score of 31-20.
“These kids have played hard all year long,” said Neal Legé, Iota head coach. “We gave up 19 points in that first quarter and never recovered.
“We were hoping for a ‘W.’ We wanted to end on a positive note, but we just came up short.”
The first quarter opened the game up for the Green Demons and spelled disaster for the Bulldogs. Two fumbles and the inability to stop Mamou gave the home team a 19-0 advantage.
First, Mamou took a little over two minutes off the clock and picked up seven points from Dillon Holland and a 27 yard run followed by a Ben Israel kick.
Then Iota looked to be moving down the field to answer. Two minutes and 30 yards later, however, Iota committed its first fumble. The Green Demons took two-and-a-half minutes to capitalize thanks to Holland’s second touchdown of the night, a 24 yard rush.
Iota would turn the ball right back over and Mamou would, this time, take almost four minutes off of the clock before Dominique Austin would rush in from 11 yards out.
“The fumbles on the first two drives hurt us,” said Legé, “You just can’t do that and expect to win.”
The offensive showcase by Mamou finally simmered in the second quarter, but Iota would continue to struggle to move the ball consistently. Finally, with one minute and 42 seconds to go, Iota found the end zone. Timothy Lunson, who was one of many players battling injuries in their final appearance of the season, picked up 40 yards and the first Bulldogs points. Ryan Chapman’s extra point pulled the Dogs to within 13 points.
That two possession game would be short lived however as Mamou’s Ben Israel’s five yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left in the half would bring the lead up to 19 for Mamou.
The score would remain 25-7 until one minute into the fourth quarter.
At that point Iota would find touchdown number two thanks to a bad snap and 12 yard loss on fourth down for the Green Demons. Iota would begin their offensive drive on the Mamou two and Michael Thevis quickly rushed in for the score.
But just like the second quarter, Iota’s joy would be short lived as yet another Mamou player picked up points. This time it was Ben Israel off of a five yard run.
“We fought back in the second half,” said Legé. “It just was too much to overcome. We couldn’t make a stop.”
The only score for Iota that didn’t get answered was the final points of the night. The Bulldogs’ Matt Benoit ran in from 28 yards out.
The silver lining for Iota is the amount of sophomores and freshmen that have seen big chunks of playing time this year, particularly in the past two games. Iota, which started with 52 players this year (only four of which were seniors), were down to only 32 players dressed Friday thanks to several big injuries.
“We were playing freshmen all over the field,” said Legé. “We had two freshmen score two of our touchdowns tonight. So if we can get healthy and regroup, next year may be different.”
Thevis’ 73 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries led the Dogs offensively. He was followed by Lunson (eight carries for 57 yards and one touchdown), Nick Sloane (eight carries for 27 yards), Adam Ardoin (three carries for 25 yards) and Benoit (one carry for 28 yards and a touchdown). The Bulldogs’ quarterbacks, Lunson and JT LeJeune, would attempt only three total passes on the night. Lunson’s single try would fall incomplete while LeJeune’s two tries would end in one completion for 11 yards (caught by Connor Meyer) and an interception.