INDIANOLA — The Bayou Academy Colts had the Indianola Academy Colonels on the ropes here Friday night in the second round of the AAA State Playoffs.
Bayou had trailed early in the game, but battled back and took a 13-10 lead. The Colonels, however, put together a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to take the lead and hold on for a 16-13 win.
The Colts finished the year 7-5 while the Colonels improved to 11-1 and advanced to the semifinal round of the playoffs.
“It was a great football game and probably one of the best ones I’ve ever been in to be honest with you,” Bayou head football coach Greg Wallace said. “Our guys played their guts out. We missed opportunities in the first half to put the ball in the end zone, and we really had a lot of good opportunities in the second half to get things going. Whether it was just one missed block or one dropped ball, we just couldn’t seem to make that final play.”
Bayou’s defense made the first big play in the contest when Riley Smith recovered a fumble late in the opening quarter. The Bayou offense was unable to do anything with the turnover, which ultimately led to a punt from the Colts.
Indianola took control of the ball and moved it down the field. The contest rolled over into the second quarter and with 7:51 remaining in the period, the Colonels scored off a one-yard run. Spencer Roberson added the point after for a 7-0 lead.
The Colts answered with a drive where they moved the ball well off passes from Cross Crowe and a couple of runs from Christin Hayes.
The Colts found themselves faced with an a-fourth-and-one situation on the Colonels’ 31-yard line. Coach Wallace elected to go for it, but the Colonels stopped them and got the ball back.
Indianola’s good fortune was short-lived as Bayou’s Colby Chenault intercepted a pass from Will Davis to give the ball back to the Bayou offense.
The Colts put together another promising drive, but once again Wallace was put in a situation where the team was too close to punt and too far for a field goal attempt. The Colts tried to convert on fourth-and-one, but the Colonel defense turned them away again.
The teams would go into the locker room at halftime with Indianola leading 7-0.
Due to an electrical issue with the stadium lights, the second half was stalled for nearly an hour. When the action started, it was the Colts’ defense that stole the momentum when it put an end to the Colonels’ opening second half drive off a forced fumble from Bayou’s Peyton Horn with Kellar Otts recovering the ball for the Colts.
Bayou ended up punting the ball back to Indianola and with 3:21 on the clock the Colts’ defense held the Colonels to a 24-yard field goal from Roberson, which extended Indianola’s lead to 10-0.
On Bayou’s next possession, Crowe orchestrated a four-play, 77-yard scoring drive that saw Bryson Reed rumble in from 28 yards out with 1:39 left in the third. The kick after attempt missed, but Bayou had closed the scoring gap 10-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bayou’s Clay Taylor laid a hit on an Indianola returner and forced a fumble that was recovered by John Thomas Aguzzi, giving Bayou the ball on the 23-yard line.
With 9:51 left in the game, Crowe connected with Chenault for a nine-yard touchdown grab. The kick after was good for a 13-10 Bayou lead.
Following punts from both teams, the Colonels found themselves trailing with 6:18 left in the game. The Colonels went to the ground game and moved the ball effectively down the field. With 2:33 on the clock, the Colonels scored on a one-yard run. The kick attempt missed, but the Colts now trailed 16-13.
The Colts tried to muster a scoring drive, but Crowe couldn’t connect, and the Colts turned the ball over on downs.
Indianola took control with just under two minutes to go. With a couple of timeouts, Wallace was able to stop the clock. Bayou’s offense got the ball back with 33 seconds left in the game.
The Colts couldn’t muster anything as Crowe’s final pass of the season was intercepted to end the game for the Colts.
Crowe finished the night completing 14-of-26 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Bryson Reed had 28 yards on four carries with a score, Chenault had six receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown, John Maggio finished with four receptions for 54 yards and Clinton Davis had three catches for 26 yards to round out the Colts’ offense.
On defense, Otts tallied 15 tackles with a fumble recovery, LaQwariyea Williams added 14 tackles, Gilbert Lopez added nine tackles and Reed added eight tackles.
Despite the loss, Wallace was pleased with the overall progress his team made this year.
“They learned how to win together this year,” Wallace said. “There was a lot of really good leadership, and I really feel like it’s a step in the right direction for our program. I felt like our kids played about as hard as I’ve ever seen a team play. It was really rough on me to see them come up short, because they did everything a coach could ask them to do.”