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Tensas junior does it all in 45-24 shellacking of Eagles

ST. JOSEPH, La. The concession stand smoke drifting over the field, the full moon rising in the east and Friday the 13th provided an eerie setting, but it was Lee Hale and the Tensas Academy Chiefs who really turned Friday night into a night of horrors for Porters Chapel.

Hale gained 204 of Tensas’ 377 rushing yards, scored three touchdowns, intercepted a pass and kicked a 33-yard field goal to lead Tensas (7-2, 1-2 Conference 7-A) past PCA (5-4, 0-4), 45-24.

Jeremiah Riggs rushed for 110 yards on 18 carries and Dustin Abbott added 103 yards, a touchdown and an interception for PCA. Kyle Ehrhardt completed 8 of 17 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, both to Allen Pugh. Pugh finished with three catches for 105 yards and also kicked a 31-yard field goal.

Tensas quarterback David Crigler was 6-of-14 for 95 yards and one touchdown on the night, and also contributed 78 yards and two scores on the ground.

“We knew they were a solid team. They controlled the line of scrimmage, it was that simple,” PCA coach Bubba Mims said. “I think the better team won tonight, and they have the better team than we do at this point in time.”

Tensas scored on its first four possessions to take command of the game early. Crigler found Dudley Hendrix on fourth-and-15 from the PCA 17 with 6:42 to play in the first quarter for the game’s first score. A botched snap on the point after led to a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

After PCA went three-and-out on its next possession, Tensas took over at its own 43 and scored just three plays later. Crigler found cousin Scott Crigler for a 24-yard gain to the Eagle 34, then ran an option play from the shotgun for the touchdown on the next play.

“That set the tone for the ballgame, because we knew they had an explosive offense. They’ve scored a lot of points this year,” Tensas coach Chris Jacobs said. “We had to go out and dominate the line of scrimmage, and I thought we did that early.”

PCA finally got on the board early in the second with Pugh’s field goal, but Tensas answered right back. Using a hurry-up offense, Hale ran four straight times for 41 yards, scoring on a 3-yard run to make it 22-3.

The Eagles then got a quick drive of their own when Ehrhardt hit Pugh on a slant pattern on the next play from scrimmage. Pugh juggled it, but gathered it in, slipped a tackle and went 59 yards for the score.

But between a relentless pass rush Tensas had four sacks in the first half and the Chiefs’ own explosive offense, PCA was playing catch-up all night.

“We knew our receivers could beat their cornerbacks, and we did at times, but we just couldn’t get time to throw anything deep. We couldn’t keep the rush out,” Mims said.

Hale added another touchdown before halftime on a 6-yard run to make it 29-10, then helped put it away in the second half with his third-quarter field goal and another 6-yard TD run in the fourth.

PCA scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, on a 9-yard run by Abbott and Ehrhardt’s 15-yard pass to Pugh with 1:33 left, but it was too late for the Eagles, who lost any chance they had of making the playoffs as a wild-card.

The Eagles can still finish with a winning record, however, with a win over CM&I in next week’s season finale.

“I think that’d be great,” Mims said. “We’re not satisfied with that, but considering everything these kids have been through this year, it’d be wonderful for them.”

Tensas, meanwhile, kept its wild-card hopes alive but must face undefeated River Oaks at home next week.

“That hunger wasn’t there before, and we’re really playing hungry for the first time,” Jacobs said. “We went out there and played like we needed to.”