This is game No. 36 out of the top 40 games played by Concordia Parish teams.
Ferriday High was making its second trip to Monroe on November 6, 2016.
The Trojans were hoping for a better outcome than two weeks earlier when Sterlington kicker Landon Green missed a 20-yard field field goal attempt with just over a minute remaining and his team trailing Ferriday High 30-28 in district game in Sterlington.
But a yellow flag gave Sterlington new life. The Trojans were penalized for leaping onto an opposing player, giving Sterlington a first down inside the Ferriday 2-yard line.
The Panthers then scored the winning touchdown, giving the Panthers a hard-earned 34-30 win.
"That left a bad taste in our mouths," Woods said. "That was a big factor. And we still had a shot at district. Another factor was that OCS won district on our home field the year before. I told the guys to look out on the field at them celebrating and told them we would never let anybody celebrate on our field again."
The Trojans were finishing the regular season at Ouachita Christian with a tie for the District 2-2A title on the line.
Ferriday, 6-3, was taking on an OCS football team that was unbeaten. The Trojans were 3-1 in district, with its only loss coming to Sterlington.
Sterlington's only loss was to OCS.
Besides a 22-12 win over Alexandria Senior High, OCS has scored at least 34 points in every game.
OCS entered the game committing only three turnovers all season long.
The Eagles would finish the game against Ferriday with five turnovers, including two fumbles returned for touchdowns as the Trojans stunned the Eagles 42-32/
“I think our offense was responsible for four of those touchdowns tonight,” OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh said. “You look at it, those that weren’t touchdowns gave them great field position.”
How Ferriday upset OCS derived from winning the game at the line of scrim- mage and putting pressure on Eagles’ skill players.
“We decided we were going to bring pressure,” Woods said. “We mixed up the stunts and kept them off balanced. Offensively, we just played well, but the way the defense played was incredible. We looked at film and watched it all week and we saw some stuff that we could take advantage of, and we knew we had the personnel to do it.”
The personnel he spoke made its mark early. After a two-yard Dominique Jackson run gave the Trojans a 6-0 lead, Jerrius Scott stripped quarterback Grant Fitzhugh and returned the fumble 27 yards for the score.
"Jerius told me before the game , 'Coach, I can take the ball from them. They are not as good as people think. We are a lot faster." They set the tone early," Woods said.
After Dare Rosenthal, Lewis Matthews and others halted the Eagles offense again, Jackson took the handoff on the next Trojan possession and rushed 35 yards to give Ferriday a 20-0 lead after a Melvin Jones 2-point conversion.
Ferriday’s athleticism and ability to make plays didn’t surprise Fitzhugh.
“We knew, and I’ve been telling them all week, ‘The two toughest teams on our schedule coming in were Alexandria and Ferriday,’” Fitzhugh said. “They were the most athletic football teams we would see. We struggled with (Ferriday) last year, and they lost two seniors off offense and defense, so they had everybody back. So no surprises. We just didn’t execute out there tonight.”
OCS didn’t go down without a fight. Thanks to a double reverse pass on fourth down, OCS continued a drive that culminated in a Grant Fitzhugh a one-yard score to put the Eagles on the board. Following a successful onside kick, Fitzhugh led Bryce Wallace into the corner of the end zone to bring the score within six. But then, Ferriday’s “personnel” struck again. On OCS’ next offensive possession, OCS running back Skylor Wilhite had the football stripped from his hands and Dantrieze Scott rumbled down the sidelines and made two Eagles miss en route to another Ferriday score, putting the Trojans up 28-14 at the half.
“They just flat out beat us,” Fitzhugh said. “They’re a good football team as it is, and you don’t need to give a good football team like that a lot of help. They were dangerous as it was.”
The defense stepped up in the third quarter for the Trojans, allowing only one OCS score. A Ronald Williams pass to Carlos Collins put the Trojans up 36-14 midway through the quarter before Dantrieze Scott made a one- handed grab on a two-point conversion. A 12-yard Grant Fitzhugh score followed by an unsuccessful two-point conversion led to a 36-20 fourth quarter lead for the Trojans.
After Grant Fitzhugh scored on a 10-yard rush, Jackson took a toss down the sideline for 48 yards to give Ferriday a 42-26 lead.
“These kids stepped up, and for the game, they put it together,” Woods said. “All year we’ve been working hard and saying, ‘If we put it all together for four quarters, not many teams in the state could beat us.’”
Grant Fitzhugh completed a 33-yard pass to brother Will Fitzhugh to make the final 42-32. Grant Fitzhugh finished the game completing 12-of-37 for 173 passing yards and 107 rushing yards and five total scores.
Grant Fitzhugh is a junior defensive back at Harding University in Arkansas, while his brother Will just signed with the Bisons.
Meanwhile, Ferriday’s Jackson led the game with 152 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Williams completed 12 of 22 for 73 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 69 yards.
After earning JUCO All-American honors at Hutchinson (Ks.) Community College as a cornerback, Williams signed with Alabama in February.
"I took Ronald and Dantrieze down to a camp at LSU and they lit it up," Woods said. "I told Ronald he was going to be a Saturday player, and possibly a Sunday player if he did the things he needed to do."
Ferriday finished that season going 9-4, falling to powerhouse Madison Prep 43-24 in the quarterfinals in a game played at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge.
Madison Prep was led by running back Tyrese Walker, the Class 2A Playr of the Year as a junior who signed with Idaho.
Walker was second team All-USA Louisiana by USA Today.
He rushed for 160 yardsa against Ferriday and had a 71-yard kickoff return.
Ouachita Christian fell to Riverside 48-17 in the second rondo of the Division III playoffs.
Sterlington defeated Madison Prep 28-27 for the Class 2A state championship.