VACHERIE — Many head coach Jess Curtis knew his Tigers were up against a formidable opponent.

VACHERIE — Many head coach Jess Curtis knew his Tigers were up against a formidable opponent.

And when the Tigers fell behind No. 9 St. James early on, Curtis never lost faith in his squad.

“We weathered their early momentum and our boys found a way to win,” Curtis said in reference to Many’s 28-14 victory over the Wildcats. “They weathered that early storm and made plays. The kids trusted in our plan and the whole team stepped up tonight. It was a very unselfish effort.”

Knowing his team would be facing some very, very fast and athletic players in the Wildcats, Curtis played numerous players on the defensive side of the ball, including Chris Evans and starting wide receiver Isaiah Smith.

And that proved to pay some dividends for the top-ranked Tigers (13-0).

After St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse had given the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Rashaun Weber on the opening drive of the game, it appeared as if the lead was going to grow to a two-touchdown advantage as St. James drove inside the Many 10.

Narcisse dropped back and fired a pass toward the end zone, where Smith picked it off, giving the Tigers the ball at their own 6.

Many promptly drove the length of the field, covering the 94 yards, the final 11 coming from junior running back Kentrell Maxie, tying the game up at 6-6, which would be the halftime score.

The Tigers took their first lead of the game in the third period when quarterback Xavier Dias scored on a 1-yard plunge and two-point conversion, capping an 88-yard drive by Many, allowing the top-ranked team in Class 2A to take a 14-6 advantage into the fourth quarter.

It didn’t take long for St. James to answer as the Wildcats went on a 63-yard drive, ending with a fourth-down TD pass from Narcisse to Aaron McKinney from 10 yards out, cutting the deficit to 14-12.

Narcisse ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, knotting the game at 14-14 just about two minutes into the fourth quarter.

A little later, the Tigers reclaimed the lead when junior running back James Carhee ran the ball in from three yards out for the touchdown. He also bulled in for the two-point conversion, giving Many a 22-14 edge.

The Tiger defense came up with a huge play late in the game as they forced a Narcisse fumble, which was recovered by Darrion Miller deep in St. James territory.

With about 90 seconds to go, Dias capped the evening with a 7-yard touchdown run, giving Many the 28-14 victory.

“It was a tough game and I am just so proud of our boys.” Curtis said. “St. James is a very, very good team and they have athletes all over the field. And to be able to hold them to just 220 yards was outstanding.”

The Tigers limited Narcisse, a sophomore who already has offers from a number of Division I universities, including LSU, to just 172 yards passing and two touchdowns, while also forcing him into a couple of turnovers, both of which led to Many touchdowns.

Offensively, the Tigers accounted for 308 yards, 270 of which came on the ground. Carhee had 17 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, while Maxie added 99 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

Dias chipped in with 46 yards rushing and two touchdowns, along with 38 yards passing.

Many will host No. 5 Northeast, which beat East Feliciana on Friday, 14-12, at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium on Dec. 5, with the winner advancing to the Class 2A finals the following Friday in the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

This is the first semifinal game to be hosted by the Tigers.