It was an instant classic — the type of game people in Lafourche Parish will be talking about for a long, long time.
It was filled with twists, turns, big plays and dramatic moments.
Fortunately for fans of Thibodaux, the last swing went their way and they were the ones who scored the win and bragging rights this time around.
Thibodaux beat Central Lafourche 36-33 on Friday night in a game that’s the immediate leader in the clubhouse for 2019 Houma-Thibodaux Game of the Year.
The Tigers trailed with 2 minutes left after a Deon Jenkins touchdown. Jenkins was incredible again in the game, but more about that later.
With the Tigers down in possession of the ball, they marched and scored the dagger — a touchdown with 19 seconds left to secure a last-second win.
Halfback Rimond Thompson punched in the dagger on a one-yard touchdown run, but the drive was set up by a masterful performance by quarterback Luke Alleman, who made several clutch late-game throws.
The Tigers are now 4-0 on the season, while the Trojans are 3-1.
Coaches on both sides are still barely able to catch their breath after a thrilling cross-parish rivalry tilt that did not disappoint.
“What a game,” Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. “We always seem to be in those close games, and fortunately, we’re finding ways to win. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids. So many times, we could have let it go the other way, but the kids just kept playing and kept believing and we got the ball last and took advantage of it.”
“Our kids were hurt, but that’s good. It’s supposed to mean something. That shows us that they care and they’re into what we’re doing,” Trojans coach Keith Menard added. “It hurts, but we’re still 3-1. We had chances to win it, but we couldn’t take advantage and look, give credit to Thibodaux. They made the plays. They did what they needed to do.”
The Tigers had to slay a Herculean effort from Trojans’ halfback Deon Jenkins to secure the win.
Thibodaux led 28-21 at halftime, but Jenkins took over in the second half and nearly powered his team to a win.
He carried over and over and over again in the second half, punishing the Tigers’ defense without relent.
The third quarter was scoreless, meaning the Tigers maintained a 7-point lead going to the fourth quarter.
But then the dams broke. Jenkins scored after a long, lengthy drive to cut the lead to 28-27. The Trojans tried unsuccessfully for a 2-point conversion after the score.
After a defensive stop, the Trojans got it back and Jenkins powered through again — this time on a 35-yard touchdown run, breaking multiple tackles before powering into the end zone.
That score put Central Lafourche up 33-28 with 1:58 on the clock.
It was Jenkins’ final carry on a night where he rushed 37 times for 230 yards and four scores.
“I don’t know where he finds the energy,” Menard said. “But he just keeps getting it done.”
“He’s just relentless,” Dugas added. “That’s a Saturday player.”
But Thibodaux’s offense had just enough time on the clock to get over the top, thanks, in part to a kick return which gave the team the ball at the 49-yard-line.
Dugas said Alleman was masterful on the last drive, maneuvering the team forward, while also keeping tabs on the clock.
For the game, he threw for well more than 300 yards with multiple scores.
He completed passes to Kyren Lacy and Darwin Davis, moving the team closer to the end zone.
When they got close and with the clock bleeding down, they handed it to Thompson, who pushed forward through the line and into the end zone to give his team a 34-33 lead. After a 2-point conversion, Thibodaux led by 3 with 19 seconds on the clock.
The Trojans had one more chance with possession of the ball, but a Hail Mary heave fell flat.
On one side of the stadium, fans sat silent. On the other, the Thibodaux faithful went nuts — celebrating their team’s fourth-straight win to start the year.
Dugas said he was proud of his team for overcoming adversity and making enough plays to win.
For Menard, he said he’s disappointed his team lost, but added that the crowd, the atmosphere and the game, itself, will not soon be forgotten.
“It never gets old,” he said. “That was as packed as I’ve seen that stadium. Both sides were full. Our crowd was wild, our students were into it. Their crowd came and packed their side. It was a great night for high school football. It’s unfortunate we didn’t come out on the winning end of it, but it was a great showcase for our sport.”
CLASS 5A SCOREBOARD
East St. John 69, H.L. Bourgeois 7
Thibodaux 36, Central Lafourche 33
St. James 31, Destrehan 24
Hahnville 34, Terrebonne 27