The Orange Leader
Little Cypress-Mauriceville had no answer for Central quarterback Robert Mitchell in a critical District 20-4A game for both teams at Thomas Stadium Saturday night.
Mitchell completed 15-of-25 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 85 yards and three touchdowns and iced the game for the Jaguars with an interception in the end zone with 1:30 left as the Jaguars downed the Battlin’ Bears 44-28.
LC-M (4-5, 3-3) and Central (3-6, 3-3) are tied for the fourth and final playoff berth out of 20-4A with the Jaguars holding the head-to-head edge.
The Bears can still make the postseason if it defeats second-place Vidor (8-1, 5-1) at home Friday and Central loses at first-place Nederland (8-1, 6-0).
The Jaguars finished with 399 yards of total offense while the Bears put up 372 of their own.
LC-M quarterback Caleb Harley completed 18-of-29 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as he passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Senior tailback Alex Sezer had another splendid game, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
Dalton Doyle had eight catches for 94 yards for the Bears while Casey Viator hauled in six receptions for 88 yards.
Landon Malbrough snared six catches for 80 yards. Nicalus Rhone had two grabs for 79 yards, including a 75-yarder for a touchdown that broke the Bears’ backs with 9:29 remaining.
Central defensive back James Locke picked off Harley at the Jaguar 20 and returned it all the way to the Bear 48 and after a Bear personal foul, the Jaguars had the ball at the Bear 33 with 5:23 left.
Four plays later, Mitchell found the end zone again, darting 10 yards around the right end for the score. He then found running back Trent Samuels with a two-point conversion pass to give the Jaguars a 44-28 edge with 3:24 left.
The Jaguars struck quick to go up 36-28 when Mitchell found a streaking Rhone down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown bomb with 9:29 remaining. The Bears kept themselves in it though, blocking the extra-point attempt.
The Bears pulled to within 30-28 with a 13-play, 58-yard scoring drive. Harley completed two big passes for 20 yards that went for first downs. Sezer ran for 25 yards on the drive and capped it with a three-yard dart off left tackle with 9:39 remaining in the game. The drive saved alive when Central was called for interference in the end zone on a fourth-and-6 play from the Jaguar 21.
After holding LC-M deep in its own territory, the Jaguars went 65 yards in five plays to go up 30-21. Mitchell connected with Malbrough three times for 41 yards and Mitchell finished it up with a 12-yard keeper. The point-after was blocked with the Jaguars leading by nine with 1:15 in the third.
Central jumped on top 24-21 with a seven-play, 70-yard scoring drive midway through the third.
The big play came when Mitchell threw a 43-yard bomb to receiver Michael Jacquet that got all the way down to the Bear 5. Tailback Exavier Jones finished it with a one-yard plunge up the middle. The point-after kick was missed as the Jaguars led 24-21 with 6:39 in the third.
The Bears grabbed the lead on their first series of the second half, going 66 yards in seven plays.
Harley hit Viator with a 22-yard strike that got the ball to the Jaguar 32. On third-and-nine, the Bears pulled a “rabbit” out of the hat with a beautiful trick play on third-and-9 from the 31.
Harley tossed the ball to receiver Shea Richards behind the line of scrimmage and Richards found Viator wide open down the left sideline for a 31-yard touchdown dart. Harley then hit receiver Dalton Doyle with a two-point conversion pass, giving the Bears a 21-18 edge with 9:37 left in the third.
The Jaguars went into intermission with a slim 18-13 cushion.
Mitchell engineered a 13-play, 71-yard scoring drive at near the end of the half to put Central ahead.
Mitchell carried the ball four times for 64 yards, including a 26-yarder and he capped it with a great scramble, avoiding several Bear defenders to get into the end zone with a seven-yard touchdown keeper. He dove in, just barely clipping the left pylon to score. The Jaguars then converted the two-point conversion when receiver Landon Malbrough hooked up with running back Chris Allen with a pass to make it 18-13 with 0:14 left in the half.
The Bears snared a 13-10 edge early on in the second period, going 68 yards in 11 plays. Harley completed a big 21-yard dart to receiver Casey Viator that got to the Jaguar 21. Sezer, who had 99 yards on 14 carries in the first half, carried three times for 15 yards to get the Bears to the 6. Three plays later from the 3, Harley found receiver Billy Jones with a three-yard touchdown dart.
Central blocked the extra-point attempt and William Fonteneaux brought it all the way back for looked what to be two points but penalties waved it off and the Bears led 13-10 with 8:25 left in the half.
Central scored on its first series of the night, marching 60 yards in 10 plays. On fourth-and-8 from the LC-M 28, Mitchell drilled receiver Garrison Mitchell with a great pass over the middle and the receiver fought his way into the end zone as Central had a 7-0 lead with 7:44 left in the first.
It was the “Sezer Show” on the Bears first series. Sezer carried the leather seven straight times, including a 31-yard dart to the Jaguar 31. He wrapped it up with a four-yard dart up the middle. Kicker Dylan Bailey nailed the extra-point, tying the score at 7-7 with 4:10 in the first.
Jaguar return man Nicalus Rhone brought back the ensuing kickoff back 50 yards to the Bear 21. After Mitchell hit Malbrough with a 18-yard pass to the Bear 5, the Bear defense made a big stand and the Jaguars settled for a 23-yard field goal by Eric Bramble.
The Bears had 150 total yards in the first half while the Jaguars had 144.
Harley completed 5-of-6 passes for 56 yards.
Mitchell completed 5-of-15 passes for 70 yards and ran for 59 yards on 10 carries.