The 2019 high school football season is over in the Houma-Thibodaux area.
University Lab came to Houma on Friday night and showed why they’re one of the top teams in the state, using dominant defense and quick-strike offense to roll to a 35-14 win over Vandebilt.
With the win, University will take on De La Salle in the Semifinals.
For Vandebilt, the loss ends their season with a 7-5 record.
University coach Andy Martin said he was proud of the way his team played on the road against a tough, worthwhile foe.
“We took care of business,” Martin said. “We knew coming in that they were going to be hungry and prepared to fight and compete to try and defend their home field. We needed a good start and we got one. Once we got ahead, our defense did an excellent job keeping them out of rhythm and controlling the game.”
The Terriers fought like heck on Friday night, but University just had a few too many athletes.
Lab scored first — a short touchdown run by quarterback Tanner Lawson to go up 7-0.
Then, the turnover bug bit Vandebilt hard later in the half. First, the Terriers fumbled, which again gave the ball to the Cubs with a short field.
They capitalized in two plays on a pass from Lawson to Austin Ausberry to go up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Terriers coach Lance Ledet said many times throughout the season that Vandebilt has had a turnover bugaboo. He’s also said that the team has had problems with slow starts. Both things bit them on Friday.
“If I had the answer for it, I’d bottle it and sell it and we’d make some money,” Ledet said with a laugh earlier this season when asked about slow starts. “That’s been a problem for us. We’ve had a hard time getting out of the gates clicking at the level that we want to be playing.”
Behind the 8-ball on the scoreboard, Vandebilt just never had a chance to catch back up.
Vandebilt was without starting quarterback Gavin Daigle, who missed the game after being injured in the team’s opening-round win at Hannan.
And the team lacked rhythm throughout the first half, which allowed the Cubs to get to the big lead.
University had something to do with the struggles, too, though.
Cubs’ defensive lineman Jacquelin Roy is an LSU commitment and he took up tons of space at the line of scrimmage.
With Roy eating blockers, the team’s linebackers and safeties flew to the football to make plays to keep Vandebilt in check.
“We were just excellent defensively,” Martin said. “I’m so proud of those kids. We knew they were without their quarterback, so we weren’t exactly sure what their offense was going to look like. But we won at the line of scrimmage and I thought we tackled well. I thought we did a really good job of limiting them and tackling them at first contact.”
In the second quarter, University added another touchdown to its lead — again off a turnover — an interception by Micah Davey.
That set up Derrick Graham on a touchdown run to go up 21-0 early in the second quarter.
But then Vandebilt settled in.
The Terriers held Lab several times in the second quarter to send the game to halftime with the same 21-0 score.
In the third quarter, University put the game away on a short touchdown run by Lawson which put the Cubs up 28-0.
After that score, Vandebilt got points on a touchdown drive when quarterback Jean Luc Lapeyre hit Collin Robicheaux for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 28-7 — the score coming early in the fourth quarter.
University added a fourth-quarter score of their own to go up 35-7, but Vandebilt scored with just a few seconds on the clock to send the game to its final margin — a touchdown run from Caleb Calhoun to end the game.
Ledet said multiple times in the back-end of the season that he was proud of his team for fighting. Vandebilt started slow, but ended with a bang, playing their best football at the end of the season.
Ledet said he thought his team continually got better, which sparked a late-season turnaround.
“The kids kept working and made improvements,” Ledet said recently. “We couldn’t be prouder of them for continuing to fight and continuing to work hard and doing everything we’ve asked them to do.”