After a game that featured just about every emotion imaginable, Ouachita head coach Todd Garvin had a clear perspective — you can’t do better than win.
It’s not the way he or his staff would have drawn it up, but a 15-12 victory against Carroll on Homecoming Friday night pushed the Lions to a 2-1 start. And if Lion fans hung around through the lightning delay that lasted about an hour or so, they got to witness a thrilling comeback win.
Carroll led 12-9 with less than a minute to play with Ouachita driving. With 21 seconds remaining, quarterback Zach Jackson hit Jaeden Ledent on a short route before Ledent broke a tackle and turned on the burners for a 41-yard touchdown.
“The guy went for the ball instead of trying to make the tackle, and Jaeden was able to make a play,” Ouachita head coach Todd Garvin said. “We’ve prepared for those moments. We do it weekly where we run our hurry up offense, and we were fortunate to have all three of our timeouts there.”
After the win Garvin told his team he was excited the Lions found a way to win, but that didn’t change the fact that Ouachita’s play Friday night was far from stellar. Fumbled quarterback-center exchanges, seven offensive penalties for 75 yards and other small things added up to draw the ire of Garvin and his coaching staff. But Garvin used it as a teaching moment, going over all the miscues on film with his team the following morning.
“It was frustrating,” Garvin said. “We lost our composure late in that game. We even had a penalty for celebrating that touchdown, which gave them the ball around midfield for a chance to heave a game winner. I guess it was a tougher battle than our kids thought it would be.”
Carroll can take a lot from a game like that. That was head coach Tank Washington’s message to his bunch. The players heard just about everything there is to hear after giving up 86 points to Avoyelles one week prior, but that allowed Washington to beat that “Carroll vs. the world” drum all week. And the players responded.
“We practiced all week, trying to get back on the physical side of things,” Washington said. “Going into the Ouachita game, we felt like we had a good chance to win. They believed in the plan we had in place. Our takeaway was when you do things the right way, you have a chance to be successful. And when you don’t, like at the end of that game, you won’t be as successful.”
Carroll jumped ahead early in the ballgame when running back Amareya Greeley caught a long touchdown pass. Ouachita countered with a touchdown pass of its own before getting a second-half safety to lead 9-6. In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs surged ahead when Nate Roberts reeled in a 50-yard touchdown score.
Washington praised his team’s defense, especially Jai Brown after pulling double duty.
“Our defense played lights out,” Washington said. “Jai Brown had to go both ways because our center was out and we moved our right tackle to center. So he had a lot of snaps and was causing trouble in the middle. Our guys were getting a lot of pressure on them. They wanted to run the ball, and they weren't able to. They scored both times on passes.”
Carldell Sirmon led the Lions with 131 yards on 22 carries. The Lions rushed for 197 yards on 47 plays, while Jackson was 5-of-11 for 98 yards and two scores with an interception.
Ouachita’s defense was stout, as well. Besides two passes where Carroll’s receivers got behind the Lions defense, Ouachita’s unit flied to the football. And that includes the new No. 0 Carmycah Glass.
“The No. 0 theme is a new tradition we’re starting and it comes from LSU’s No. 18,” Garvin said. “Carmycah doesn’t necessary have to be our best player. The uniform goes to the total team player. Carmycah, it doesn’t matter, every single day he’s even keel. You can’t tell what kind of day he’s had. He’s well spoken, and will always give you a hand shake or a fist bump. He’s just a high-charter young man. And that’s the guys we want to recognize on our football team. I’m glad to say he’s the first to ever wear the No. 0.”
Glass led the Lions with 10 tackles, which included three tackles for loss.
The (1-2) Bulldogs will host Franklin Parish for a Thursday night affair this week, while (2-1) Ouachita travels to take on Union Friday. Washington’s message for his club this week will be about finishing, while Garvin and his coaching staff look to clean up some mistakes that nearly cost the Lions a victory Friday night.
“We’re not executing on the offensive side of the ball right now, so we’ll have to get more physical on the line of scrimmage,” Garvin said. “For us defensively, we’ll have a tough task trying to stop (Trey Holly). He’s one of the premier running backs in the state.”