UPHS is title game bound following big win

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Will face Madison Prep in Natchitoches

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  • Farmer Dylan Harris streaks down the sideline with an interception Friday for a 56-yard score. UP won the game 43-42. Photo by Tony Valentino
    Farmer Dylan Harris streaks down the sideline with an interception Friday for a 56-yard score. UP won the game 43-42. Photo by Tony Valentino
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Just like the commercial says, One Call Does it All. For the Farmers Friday night that call came on a 2-point conversion with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, down 1, with a spot in the 3A championship game on the line.

Lake Charles College Prep, trailing since the first quarter, tied the game at 35 early in the fourth quarter. The Trailblazers then took a 42-35 lead with 1:21 left in regulation.

The Farmers marched straight down the field behind the running of Trey Holly, and a 45-yard pass completion from Cole Dison to Dentrell Franklin, to score on a 1-yard run from Holly on a 2nd and goal with 20 seconds left.

Now the Farmers were down 42-41 and had a choice to make. Either kick the extra point to tie the game and try to win in overtime, or go for 2 and the lead. Head coach Joe Spatafora and offensive coordinator Brian Fine decided to go for 2 and the lead.

Now, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going to the Farmers’ leading running back Trey Holly. There was no doubt. But that’s not what happened.

Dison faked the run to Holly, rolled right and zipped a pass to Rykell Walker across the back of the end zone for a completion and a 43-42 lead.

“It had been setting up all night,” Spatafora said. “Rykell said he had it and it was going to be open, and it was. Great execution right there and it came up in our favor.”

Many players and teams may have given up after the Trailblazers took the lead with less than a minute and a half to play. Not the Farmers. “Relentless effort by these young men,” said a relieved Spatafora. “They fought to the end. We talked about all week just making sure we have one more than they do when it’s over and we did.”

The UP defense made a difference in the game. Dylan Harris picked off a LCP pass and took it 56 yards for a score with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, giving the Farmers their first lead at 14-7 after the 2-point conversion. “Turnovers are a part of the game and you need to win that battle,” Spatafora said. Senior Na’Kybrea Johnikin also had an interception in the game.

LCP came in also undefeated at 10-0 with 4 college signees. Three receivers have signed with Louisiana Tech, Grambling and New Mexico State, while the quarterback has signed with McNeese.

UP’s offensive line was back in action, paving the way for 309 yards rushing on the night. Holly had 35 carries for 184 yards and 4 scores.

The No. 2, 11-0 Farmers will face No. 9 seed Madison Prep Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. at Northwestern State’s Turpin Stadium in Natchitoches.