In a battle of two teams aiming to pick up their first win of the season, Ville Platte used its speed and big plays to defeat Pickering.
The Red Devils, despite 166 yards from Quan Blackwell, fell to 0-4 after the 44-21 loss to Ville Platte Friday night at home.
The Bulldogs had seven plays –all for touchdowns– over 25 yards, including a punt and two kickoff returns.
"First they were loading up the box inside so we were able to hurt them on the edge, then they started to moving outside," Pickering coach Eddie Thomas said. "They were fast. Our angles weren't very good and that hurt a little bit. We spotted them 20 points with turnovers."
Trailing 20-0 in the first quarter, the Pickering offense found its rhythm, scoring on back-to-back possessions with short-yardage scores by freshman quarterback Braden LeBato to make it 20-14.
"I was real proud of their effort, and we had to play a couple of guys both ways because of injuries and that hurt us too," Thomas said.
With 20 second left in the half, the playmakers of Ville Platte found pay dirt again with a 47-yard run by quarterback Brandon Veazie to put the Bulldogs up 26-14 at halftime.
Ville Platte running back Jamal Byers took the opening kick of the half to the house to make it 32-14, but Pickering kept it close with a 27-yard touchdown run from Blackwell at the 1:30 mark in the third quarter.
Elgia Charles took the ensuing kick to the endzone from 92 yards out, and Byers added a 65-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we gave good effort but our technique still isn't where it needs to be," Thomas said. "The mistakes are correctable. We have to build on the positives we got and try to correct the things we did wrong by next Friday."
Byers had 257 yards rushing on 19 carries, and Veazie had 3 carries for 62 yards.
For Pickering, linebacker Jonathan Gregory was forced to play a bigger role on offense after an injury to running back Mikey Hood and collected 56 yards on 11 carries while playing solid defense up the middle throughout the night.
"He's a great kid. He's a quiet kid and he leads by example," Thomas said. "He's tough and ready to go when he steps on the field. I hope other kids will take his lead."
Blackwell's 166 yards on 28 carries was his second game in a row with over 140 yards.
"He brings a lift when he's running the ball and can break out to the open field,” Thomas said. “It fires up the guys and he's a playmaker. I think (Hood) can do similar stuff but he gets a lot of that from Quan. Kids are trying to emulate him and take his lead."