North Vermilion's defense tries to bring down Luke Doucet, who rushed for 285 yards.
Iota too much for North Vermilion
LEROY – Midway through the season, and with District 4-4A play a week away, the North Vermilion Patriots stand poised for their new adventures in Class 4A.
But what coach Brett Blakey’s squad saw Friday night against Iota provided some sobering moments in a 30-7 defeat.
“At 3-2, I think we’re better than some expected us to be,” Blakey said. “For the most part, the guys are doing a great job. But we’ve got to learn how to finish the job. We had trouble with Ascension (Episcopal) and Erath, but were able to pull those out.
“Tonight, they’re a good football team, and they played well and we didn’t. We’ve got to play better, execute better. We could be 5-0 right now, and we’d still need to get better.”
The game, and actually both halves, started well for the Patriots, but they had nothing to show for their efforts.
They drove to a first-and-goal at the Bulldogs’ 8 with their first possession, got a 7-yard run from senior quarterback Darius Gilliam and then – after a pair of offsetting penalties – failed in three straight runs from the one-yard line.
“That killed us,” Blakey said. “Even with everything else, it would have been 10-7 (Iota) at half, and it’s a completely difference story.”
Undaunted and trailing 10-0 at half, the Patriots marched from their 26 to the Iota 14-yard line before being repulsed on fourth and one.
“We score those two times, and it’s a completely different midset,” Blakey said. The night belonged to burley senior running back Luke Doucet as his relentless pounding left the host squad gassed and grasping by game’s end.
Doucet finished with 285 yards on 21 attempts.
After the second failed NVHS drive to start the second half, it was Doucet’s 52-yard ramble that set up teammate Zan Conner’s 3-yard run that made it 17-0.
And, after another valiant effort by Gilliam ended with a fumble on Iota’s 19, it was Doucet who blew past the weary Patriots for an 86-yard touchdown and a 23-0 score.
It was his 20th carry of the night.
The lone bright spot for North Vermilion came moments later, when Kendrick Baudoin returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the Patriots.
By the time the game was over, sophomore Ethan Guidry had taken over for Gilliam behind center. He represents the Patriots’ future, But Gilliam and the other veterans have current issues to address, starting next week at LaGrange.
They know they need to get better quickly, and are sure they can.
Iota just drove the point home.