After losing in their last two state championship games, the Ouachita Christian Eagles (13-1) soared back to the top winning the LHSAA Select Division IV State Championship 28-14 over the Vermilion Catholic Eagles (13-1).
OCS pulled away from Vermilion Catholic scoring 21 unanswered points to help seal the victory.
Both quarterbacks made plays early on as Eagles veteran quarterback Landon Graves led a 11 play, 65-yard drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by the signal caller to give OCS the early 7-0 lead.
After throwing an interception to OCS’ Zach White on the opening drive, Vermilion Catholic quarterback Jonathan Dartez would respond with a two-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal to tie the game up at seven with a 11 play, 60+ yard drive of their own.
Both teams would exchange possessions with both defenses stiffening up throughout the second quarter, but OCS’ offense would strike right before halftime as Graves hit his big receiver Tate Hamby for a 45 yard pickup with 15 seconds left to play until the end of the second quarter. Five seconds later, Graves hits Drew Dougan for a 23-yard touchdown to give OCS all the momentum heading into the locker room with a 14-7 lead.
In the second half, Dartez turns the ball over by fumbling the football and the OCS Eagles’ offense makes the Vermilion Catholic defense pay as Zach White runs for a 16-yard touchdown to give OCS some breathing room at 21-7 midway through the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, Vermilion Catholic tries to answer back, but after intercepting Dartez earlier in the football game, OCS two-way starter Broc Hogan gets his second interception of the ball game setting up a 28-yard completion from Graves to Hogan for a 24-yard gain to end the quarter.
OCS would start the fourth quarter adding another touchdown to the scoreboard as once again, Graves connects with Dougan for the second time of the night.
Vermilion Catholic would get a late score on defense with 3:02 left to play in the game as Allen McLain picks up the loose ball on a Landon Graves fumble and would run it all the way back 65 yards to cut the lead at 28-14, but an OCS onside kick recovery would end all doubt.
OCS runs the rest of the clock and clinches the Division IV Select State Championship.
The Ouachita Christian Eagles continue their incredible run under Hall of Fame head coach Steven Fitzhugh, who has now won his sixth state championship as the head coach there and the school has now won eight state championships overall. This is also the fourth straight year that Fitzhugh’s squad has played in the state title game and have now split their last four games.
According to Fitzhugh, what made the difference this year than last was the ability to force turnovers and his team did that tonight in forcing three interceptions.
“Last year going into the playoffs, we had 27 takeaways. In our 4 playoff games last year we had a total of 3 takeaways the entire playoff run. This year we had 20 takeaways going into the playoffs and that’s what we talked about challenging guys. This is the difference in winning a championship or not, because we gotta get turnovers. In every playoff game we had at least 3 takeaways. Last week we had 5. Again, when these guys hustle to the football, good things happen. You know that’s a difference and the offense went out and capitalized on it. That just gives you a lot of momentum.”Ouachita Christian Head Coach Steven Fitzhugh
Senior Landon Graves comes out as a winner after having an incredibly productive prep career with the Eagles. He finished the night completing 19 of 25 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Broc Hogan ended up as the team’s MVP as he led the team with 6 catches for 64 yards on offense while also having two interceptions on defense. Tate Hamby had four catches for 89 yards while Drew Dougan had two touchdown grabs. Zach White kept Vermilion Catholic’s run defense honest as he had 88 yards rushing and another touchdown. Defensively, Noah Lovelady led the way with 8 tackles and Ben Devall was creating havoc in the backfield with 7 tackles, 2 TFLs, and 1 sack.
For the Vermilion Catholic Screamin’ Eagles, their quest for an undefeated season came a game short. Led by head coach Broc Prejean, Vermilion Catholic put up a good effort, but mistakes cost them in the end. Quarterback Jonathan Dartez was named as Vermilion Catholic’s MVP as he ran for 115 yards and a touchdown while completing 9 of 17 passes for 96 yards. Defensively, Clent Briggs Jr., Lewis Briggs Jr., Travin Moore, and Zandon Bessard combined for 9.5 TFLs while Allen McLain had the 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown, but the big plays from OCS overcame the negative plays.
It was a great impression for the Vermilion Catholic Eagles as the team made its first trip to the Dome since 2013, but the more experienced Eagles of OCS that showed off its maturity in the big game and it showed in the end.
Check out some of the photos taken by Billy Metcalf! We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form at the bottom of the article.
Road To The Dome Preview:
Key Plays: (Videos Provided By Tyler Barros):
Stay tuned on Monday. We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form below!