Kaplan's Hayes Abshire (7) avoids North Vermilion defenders. Abshire had a season high 157 yards against North Vermilion.
Kaplan runs over North Vermilion
KAPLAN – Two old district rivals met in an early season contest Friday as the North Vermilion Patriots traveled to Kaplan for an early season Vermilion Parish matchup. And when the dust settled it was the home team that played smash mouth Pirate football and claimed the 32-7 non-district win.
The Pirates improved their record to 2-0 and will take on Church Point next Friday. North Vermilion fell to 1-1 and will travel to Youngsville next Friday to take on the 2-0 Ascension Episcopal Gators.
Friday night’s contest came down to the Pirates executing very methodically on offense and used a bend but don’t break defense to control the contest.
“I think we definitely got better from week one to week two” said Pirate Head Coach Stephen Lotief. We did a good job on the offensive line and defensively we were able to make plays when we needed them.”
Kaplan did exactly that as in the contest they converted on five 4th down conversions and kept the Patriot offense out the endzone all night despite allowing three trips into the red zone. The visitors from Leroy did not help their cause as they had 13 penalties for 125 yards, along with mishandled snaps and dropped passes in the red zone that had them playing behind the sticks on many drives.
“You can’t make that many mistakes against a quality program like Kaplan and think you will stay in the game. I thought we did some good things on defense at times tonight, but offensively we just failed to execute and finish any drives” said Patriot mentor Brett Blakey.
NV opened the game with an on-side kick, but the Pirates defense stepped up to the challenge and force a punt. Kaplan’s run game started early as Drake Lejeune broke off a 45 yard early on to get the Pirates down the field. NV, however, was able to step up and stop the Pirates at the 20-yard line to keep the game scoreless.
After a defensive stop, Kaplan struck first with a Hayes Abshire 67-yard touchdown off left tackle with 3:03 remaining in the first for the first score. Kevin White’s two point conversion made it 8-0. North Vermilion answered on the ensuing kickoff when Kendrick Baudion took the kick and went 81 yards untouched to the endzone. A Patrick Chapman PAT made it 8-7. Kaplan’s next drive remained the same as Lejeune, White and Abshire took turns in the Pirate Wing T and White finished off the drive with a 3 yard run. A missed two point run kept the score at 14-7.
North Vermilion’s next drive was their best of the night as they drove from the 13 yard line all the way down to the Pirate 15 looking to tie the score. But on the next three plays, a holding penalty, dropped pass and a great Pirate pass break up at the goal line forced the Patriots to stall their drive. Kaplan threatened just before half, but a Dylan Naquin interception at the four yard line kept the score at 14-7 at the half.
The Patriots looked to try and get back in it to start the second half with a kick return to the Kaplan 40 from Benny Freeman. But again, the Patriot drive stalled by their own doing as back to back runs set up a 3rd and 2. The next play, however, a snap sailed over the head of the quarterback Darius Gilliam and that was compounded by a block in the back penalty turning any threat into another stop for the Pirate Defense.
From that point on, it was Kaplan Pirate football at it’s finest as they marched the ball three and four yards at a time and methodically moved the ball down the field. Scores from Mason Frick and Abshire put the Pirates in complete control 26-7 lead with 7 minutes left in the game. Kaplan added a late score with a minute to go for the 32-7 final.
Abshire led the ground attack with unofficial rushing totals of 21 carries for 157 yards. Lejeune added 133 yards of his own on 13 carries.
For the Patriots, Gilliam led the ground attack with 59 yards on 15 carries. He added 38 yards through the air. Baudoin ended the game with 40 yards rushing.
“We did a good job of making plays and adjusting to what North Vermilion was trying to do. This is a good win for this team” added Lotief.