Opelousas Hammers Their Way To Division II (Non-Select) State Championship 26-13 in Revenge Matchup Against Cecilia

In a rematch state championship game between two district rivals, it was the Opelousas Fighting Tigers that got the last laugh with a 26-13 win over the Cecilia Bulldogs to win their first ever state championship in program history after the Tigers lost the first game 25-22 earlier in the season.

“I am just blessed to be in this position. I want to thank the players and the community for all of the support along the way. They have been with us every step of this journey and to be able to celebrate this win with them is special.”

Opelousas Head Coach Jimmy Zachery

The Tigers won their first ever title by using their size advantage in the trenches and allowed their dynamic backfield to flourish. Offensively, the Tigers ran for 291 total yards led by quarterback Zackeus Malveaux, who ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and four star junior running back D’Shaun Ford, who ran for 152 yards and two more scores.

Malveaux was the Game’s Most Valuable Player as he had two long touchdown runs of 66 yards and 32 yards out, but head coach Jimmy Zachery was certainly pleased with the way his offensive line won the battle in the trenches.

“I can’t say enough about those guys, man. Every time that I am doing any interviews, it is all about the trenches. I am a trench man. I am a lineman by trade. Keegan Moten is a senior. Joe Milton is a senior. Jakyrie Lambert is a senior. Chris Rideau is a junior. He will be back and Bryson Lewis and Trace Denofrio, and CJ Bernard. Those are guys that believe what we are doing and are reasons why we are champions.”

Opelousas Head Coach Jimmy Zachery

While Opelousas’ rushing offense was impressive, the defense was arguably even more impressive holding a high potent offense that averages over 34 points per game to only 13.

Dynamic quarterback Diesel Solari was only held to 173 total yards of offense and two touchdowns in the loss, but battled and put his team in position late in the game. Defensively, Brent Gordon was a standout as Cecilia’s Most Valuable Player and helped to keep his team in the game with an impressive 13.5 tackles and two tackles for loss.

The Opelousas Tigers struck first with two touchdown runs from Malveaux to go up 12-0 and a stifling defensive performance by the Tigers gave them a two possession lead at halftime.

Cecilia would finally breakthrough on the scoreboard in the third quarter as Solari connected with Ellis Stewart for a 48 yard touchdown to pull within a score at 12-7.

Opelousas responded with a 71 yard scoring drive that resulted in a short touchdown plunge by Ford to extend their lead back double digits at 18-7.

Solari would lead a 86 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pull within five at 18-13, but a 14 yard touchdown run from Ford put the game on ice with 1:33 left in the game at 26-13.

The Cecilia Bulldogs (12-2), under head coach Dennis Skains, fall just short of their first state championship since 1995, but he is proud of how his team finally broke through for their first state title game appearance since that time.

“I am proud of how the guys continue to build and lay the foundation on the guys that come before them. We wanted to win the last game. I know that is everybody’s goal, but we have some more work still left to do.”

Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains

Speaking of droughts, head coach Jimmy Zachery finally broke through and has led the Opelousas Tigers (12-3) to their first title in 67 years. Inheriting a program that went winless in his first year, Zachery’s ultra confidence in his vision of the team has helped them become from worst to first in a matter of four seasons.

“It feels good. I feel like the great Muhammad Ali. Always calling his shots. I just felt like our guys put a lot of time away from their families. For us to get to the first round and the second round and get knocked out, that’s not the expectation. The expectation is to win championships. We want to win championships everywhere. We not only want our kids to be champions on the field, but champions off the field and in life.”

Opelousas Head Coach

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Check out the photos from Andy Bryson!