After trailing 10-0 early on, the Rattlers came away with a 43-24 victory over the Black Knights in the 15th annual U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl on Saturday afternoon at Olympia Stadium.
A handful of local stars did not participate in the game to prepare for high school All-American games.
Regardless, there was plenty of star power to go around. Catholic High running back and LSU commitment Clyde Edwards-Helaire opened things up on the receiving end of a 16-yard touchdown pass from St. Amant quarterback Hayden Mallory to give the Black Knights a 7-0 lead. “Coach put me in at the slot, and I was on the two-man side,” Edwards-Helaire said. “The linebacker didn’t come out on top of me, so it was an easy concept of bait them in, stick a move over the top and get over the top for the touchdown.”
The Black Knights followed up the touchdown with a 20-yard field goal by St. Amant kicker Briggs Bourgeois for a 10-0 lead.
The Rattlers had plenty of stars of their own and quickly responded in the second quarter. Scotlandville quarterback and Louisiana-Lafayette commitment Levi Lewis opened it up through the air by throwing touchdowns passes of 21 yards to Port Allen’s Jarious Robertson and 63 yards to Madison Prep’s Lyndan Rash. This gave the Rattlers their first lead at 14-10.
“We were planning that for the whole series,” Lewis said of the 63-yard touchdown. “Rash said he wanted it really bad, so we just fed him the ball.” The Black Knights reclaimed the lead with just 22 seconds before halftime on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mallory to Northeast receiver Keelyn Hogan. Walker quarterback Jacobi Scott opened the second half for the Rattlers and tossed an 8-yard touchdown, putting his team up 24-17. Lewis followed that with a 35-yard lobbed pass to Rash for another touchdown.
“Outside of the bowl game, we are really good friends,” Lewis said of Rash, so, we had that trust and connection in each other.”
Lewis completed 12 of 17 attempts with three touchdowns and no interceptions. After a 16-yard touchdown run from Louisiana School for the Deaf running back Zavian Bell, the Black Knights trailed 18 points they attempted to mount a comeback.
With 3:14 to play, Mallory threw an 8-yard touchdown to Dunham receiver Joshua Matthews.
Because of a U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl rule, the Black Knights received the kickoff following the touchdown because they trailed by more than eight points with less than four minutes to play. The Black Knights’ comeback attempt fell short, however, after Central defensive back Chance Atkins returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown, capping the win for the Rattlers. “There was no shortage of superstars today,” Black Knights coach Mike Roach said. “They’re very good players, and we love them all.” With their prep careers officially over, many players began to shift their focus toward playing college football. “(New Catholic coach Gabe Fertitta) sent me some film from Pittsburgh, and I was able to look at all of (newly hired LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s) concepts and see how I fit.” Edwards-Helaire said. “He was telling me how I fit into his offense and the type of guy I am. “I think his offense is perfect for me. I’m very excited.”