2021

Final Score:

Zachary 28

Ponchatoula 20

Recap done by THE Robin Fambrough

Colin Charlet leads team out the tunnel!

Think the phrase defense wins championships is just a cliché? Do not argue that point with top-seeded Zachary.

The Broncos (15-0) shut out Ponchatoula in the second half to claim a 28-20 victory in the Class 5A title game that concluded the LHSAA Prep Classic on Saturday night at the Caesars Superdome.

It is the fourth 5A title in seven years for Zachary. The Broncos held the third-seeded Green Wave (12-1) out of the end zone on fourth down three times in the second half with the Wave in the red zone.

“We continued to put our defense in a bad situation time and time again in the second half,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “I think the bend-but-don’t-break defense we have played all year did what we needed it to do.”

Carlton Johnson’s Interception!

Carlton Johnson’s interception of a Nolan Tribble pass at the Zachary 1 with 2:52 remaining helped secure the win. However, the game ended with the Broncos batting down a Tribble pass toward the end zone as the clock expired to kick off the celebration. It was the second straight week Zachary shut out its opponent in the second half.

Ponchatoula coach Hank Tierney said it was his call to go for it on fourth down, thinking his team would either score or back Zachary up, which also would be an advantage. Tierney, who won his 300th game in the semifinals, also said the game was likely his last.

Kam Hamilton sacks Ponchatoula QB

“The goal was to go out on top and win it with these guys,” Tierney said. “It did not work out that way for us tonight. My soul is pretty much searched. I am pretty sure that will be the last game I have ever coached.”

Tribble set a Class 5A title-game record by throwing 53 passes, completing 25 for 307 yards and a TD. 

Texas A&M commitment Eli Holstein provided a gritty effort to match his defense, completing 13 of 30 passes for 257 yards and two TDs.

Photo by: Luke Dubee

Holstein was intercepted twice but scored on a 1-yard run that gave Zachary the lead with 9:05 left in the third period. That touchdown followed Johnson’s first interception that included a 46-yard return.

Photo by: Luke Dubee

Next, Holstein uncorked a 41-yard touchdown pass to Tylon Williams with 6:22 remaining to provide a cushion. He also contributed a 37-yard quick kick punt to the Green Wave at its 2-yard line with 5:55 to go.

“We’re excited inside, but we’re trying to keep our composure right now,” Holstein said.

Tribble completed 14 of 27 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown as the Green Wave built a 20-7 lead. Anticipating that the Broncos would stack defenders in the box to stop Brayden Johnson, a 1,900-yard rusher, the Green Wave countered with an intermediate passing game that featured plenty of sideline routes.

It also set up a big play. The Broncos ran a fake punt near midfield that failed and turned the ball over near midfield. Tribble connected with Amarion Miller on the very next play for a 49-yard scoring pass that gave Ponchatoula a 7-0 lead with 5:57 left in the first quarter.

Zachary answered quickly. A 50-yard kickoff return by Jerome Robinson set up a 9-yard TD run up the middle by Connor Wisham that tied it 7-7 with 3:58 to go in the first period.

Jerome Robinson returning the Kickoff!

The Green Wave took the lead on a seven-play drive that was aided by a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a 33-yard field goal by Jake Labourdette. Tierney elected to take the points off the scoreboard, and the gamble paid off when Johnson scored on a 4-yard to give Ponchatoula a 14-7 lead.

Darrien Brider’s interception of a Holstein pass four plays later set up another Ponchatoula score — a 3-yard TD run by Johnson, which made it 20-7 with 4:01 remaining in the half.

Zachary had time for one quick strike on a 36-yard Holstein to Jordan Williams TD pass at the 3:30 mark.

Title!!
Photo by: Luke Dubee
Respect.
Photo by: Luke Dubee
Eli Holstein named games MVP.

“This football team is very calculated,” Brewerton noted. “They are prepared to play four quarters or more. They believe they can win.”

Team Celebrates the Win!
Photo by: Luke Dubee