Loreauville scored the go-ahead touchdown, then came up with a critical turnover in the waning moments to hold off Mangham 37-34 Friday night in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Mangham fought back from an 18-point deficit to take the lead twice in the second half, which featured four lead changes.
Converting on fourth-and-11, Loreauville went ahead 37-34 on Ty Alexander’s 20-yard pass to Logan Giourard with 2:58 remaining.
Starting from its 25 after the kickoff, the Dragons marched from their own 25 behind six running plays before fumbling the ball away on second-and-two at the Loreauville 5 with 1:21 remaining.
Capitalizing on quality field position after a short punt, the Tigers grabbed the early lead.
Ethan Simon’s 24-yard reception on second down preceded an eight-yard run by Jaylyn James. Cameron Trahan punched the extra point through to put the host Tigers up 7-0 with 3:52 left in the opening frame.
Backed up to its own 6 after the kickoff, the Dragons then drove to the Loreauville 22 before turning the ball over on downs.
Feeding off the fourth down stop, the Tigers doubled their lead behind a nine-play, 78-yard drive.
Loreauville converted on fourth-and-five from the plus-22 when Alexander threw to Collin Jacob for eight yards.
Alexander ran it in from 10 yards out two plays later as the Tigers widened the spread to 14-0.
Mangham closed the gap to 14-6 when Kaleb Pleasant’s 16-yard pass to Tae Gayden punctuated a seven-play, 61-yard series.
Loreauville answered with a precise 13-play two-minute drill. Advancing from their own 34 to the Mangham 13, the Tigers upped their lead to 17-6 on Trahan’s 30-yard field goal with four seconds left in the half.
Picking up where it left off, Loreauville covered 80 yards on eight plays to start the second half.
Alexander kept for 37 yards to set up Ethan Simon’s 27-yard run as the Tigers went up 24-6 with 9:38 to play in the third period.
Mangham began to make its move from there by scoring on its next three possessions.
Pleasant’s nine-yard run finalized a 10-play, 77-yard drive, and J.T. Smith’s 2-point reception brought the Dragons within 24-14.
A blocked punt at the Loreauville 49 led to Cam Wilmore’s two-yard run, which trimmed the margin to 24-21.
Beset by a holding penalty, the Tigers ran three plays and punted. Smith’s 27-yard return gave the Dragons a short field at the 27. From there, Smith carried for 18 and nine yards to give Mangham its first lead. Kolby Poindexter’s PAT brought the score to 28-24 in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
Mangham then forced the Tigers into a third straight empty possession only to fumble at its own 28.
An ineligible receiver backed the Tigers up to the 33 before Simon accelerated into the secondary for 26 yards to the 7.
Alexander punched it in from seven yards out, two plays later, to put the Tigers back in front, 30-28.
]Flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the touchdown, the Tigers were forced to kickoff from the 25.
Starting from their own 45, the Dragons reclaimed the lead four plays later. Cam Wilmore’s 31-yard jaunt gave Mangham a 34-30 cushion with 7:12 on the clock.
Loreauville began its game-winning possession from the plus-44 after a short kickoff.
A holding penalty, which nearly disrupted the drive, led to second-and-22 from the 31. Calep Jacob’s 11-yard reception and an incomplete pass brought fourth-and-11 from the 20 before Alexander flipped the game-winning pass to Giourard.
Loreauville (8-4), the No. 20 seed, advances to play defending state champion Amite in the quarterfinal round.
Mangham out-gained Loreauville 441-357, but the Tigers were plus-3 (3-0) in turnover margin.
Wilmore (26 carries, 217 yards, 3 TDs) and Pleasant (20-125) did most of the damage offensively for the Dragons, who accumulated 397 yards rushing on 57 attempts.
Mangham, the No. 4 seed, closes out the season 9-3. One of the state’s most surprising teams under first-year head coach Scott Wilcher, the Dragons saw a six-game win improvement over 2018.