The struggling Gents, led by quarterback Andre Mills, running back Danny Malbrough and an opportunistic defense that forced four turnovers and allowed just 203 yards, got back on the winning track and kept their postseason hopes alive Friday with a convincing 55-12 victory over the South Beauregard Knights.
“We really needed this tonight,” CHS head coach Josh Fontenot said afterward. “When you’re 1-5 and you lose five in a row, there’s a lot of reasons just to give up and let down.
“But these guys don’t. They just keep coming and keep fighting and I believe that this is just going to crank it up for us.”
The much needed victory sent the Gents to 2-5 on the season and 1-1 in district 4-3A play. With three games to play, the Gents’ hopes of a postseason berth - and district title - remain alive.
“You know, South Beauregard is a good football team,” said Fontenot. “They are scrappy and they are tough. So if we come in here and play this team to a one point win or a close victory, there’s still some doubt in our minds.
“I really felt that we needed a big blow-out victory to get us back to where we were in Week 1 and that’s what we got.
“Now everything is real again. It always was (real) but now that we have one back under our belt, we’re back to kind of controlling our own destiny.”
The most impressive thing about the victory was the fact that the Gents finally got it done both offensively and defensively.
On offense, the Gents racked up 340 yards and 15 first downs, using a balanced attack on the ground and through the air.
“We finally had some consistency tonight,” said Fontenot of his offense. “It never was perfect, it never is. But it was consistent and that’s what we’ve talked about all season long. We were finally able to put some things together and finish some drives.”
Defensively, the Gents were just as impressive.
Of the Knights’ 203 total yards of offense, over half was gained in the second half with the reserves in.
“Every week is the best week they are playing, there’s no doubt about it,” said Fontenot of his defense. “They (South Beauregard) have a really good tailback and they do some good things. They are extremely well coached.
“But our guys are getting better and I can say it once again, that’s the best game on defense that we’ve played all year.”
Although the defense was up to the challenge, the game didn’t start out well for the Gents.
South Beauregard took the opening kickoff at their own 37-yard line and mounted an five-play drive that was capped by a 2-yard Shea Holland touchdown run to give the Knights a 6-0 lead with 9:52 remaining in the opening quarter.
The touchdown was a wakeup call for the Gents, who responded almost immediately.
Starting at their own 37, Mills and Danny Malbrough alternated carries and marched down the field with Mills eventually scoring on a 28-yard run. Mackay Mouton’s PAT gave the Gents a 7-6 advantage.
That was just the beginning.
After forcing a punt, the Gents went back to the ground attack and marched 41 yards before Malbrough scored on a 3-yard scamper.
Curtis Broxton then recovered a fumble on the Knights’ ensuing possession and the Gents capitalized on the very next play when Mills hit Damon Malbrough for a 38-yard touchdown.
South Beauregard’s defense stepped up midway through the second quarter and sacked Mills, forcing a fumble at the Gents’ 12-yard line. Two plays later, Kelly Courville scored on a 6-yard run to cut the Gents’ lead to 21-12.
On the fumble, Mills turned his ankle, causing some concern for the Gents’ coaching staff.
“We had a game plan and a lot of it was involving Andre running,” said Fontenot. “And then he busts his ankle and it’s 21-12. Now we’re scrambling for our gameplan because a lot of is him running.”
Mills carried just one time following the injury but with his ankle a concern, he went to air ways and was just as effective.
Mills hit Chanz Moore on a 24-yard touchdown pass just over a minute after he was injured and he then turned around and hit Moore again, this time for a 26-yard touchdown pass after Marshall Wilbert recovered a fumble.
“I just can’t say enough about Andre,” said Fontenot. “He lit it up in the air. He got the ball to No. 2 (Moore) and when we get it to him, he does some great things.”
The Gents led 35-12 at the half and they weren’t done.
Malbrough got the Gents going in the second half by scoring on a 52-yard run just 18 seconds into the third quarter.
Chris Lewis added the Gents’ final two touchdowns as he scored on a 7-yard run following another Broxton fumble recovery and then on a 34-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the Gents rushed for 231 yards, with Malbrough leading the charge with 15 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis added 58 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries while Mills picked up 43 yards and a touchdown on nine rushes. Jacquo Price had nine yards on four carries.
“Danny played great tonight,” said Fontenot. “He was consistent. There were no bad plays or bad reads.
“And Chris comes in there and gives you that little change of speed that gives people some trouble. Both of them are great running backs and together, they are phenomenal.”
Mills also completed four passes for 95 yards and three scores and Price had one pass for 14 yards.
Moore led the recievers with three catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns while Damon Malbrough had one catch for 38 yards and a touchdown. Kiriakis Brown also had one catch for 14 yards.