It was sweet payback for the La Marque Cougars, who avenged last year’s playoff loss to the Coldspring Trojans by beating them in a 42-20 bi-district win on Saturday afternoon at Stallworth Stadium in Baytown.
“I’m very proud of our players,” said La Marque head coach Mike Jackson. “Outside of our players and a couple of parents, there was no one who thought we would win this one. But I’m proud of our players and of their efforts.”
La Marque moves on to the area round of the postseason, where the Cougars will face Franklin at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Waller ISD Stadium.
The Cougars lost in the bi-district round last year to Coldspring in a 40-7 demolition, but returned the favor this year.
Both teams played to a close first half before La Marque took off in the third and fourth quarters.
“What’s interesting is that happens a lot when we play them,” Jackson said. “It’ll be close at the half before someone runs away in the second half.”
La Marque quarterback Myles Launius went 6-for-7 for 67 yards passing and threw two touchdowns.
Joey White had 29 yards receiving for the Cougars and one touchdown off a reception.
Perry Preston had 19 carries for 111 yards and one touchdown for the Cougars, while Norvan Saldana had 12 carries for 67 yards.
Coldspring quarterback Trey Higgens went 9-for-21 for 98 yards and had one interception.
David Fulcher had 66 yards receiving from four receptions.
Higgens had 11 carries for 93 yards.
Coldspring began the afternoon with good field position.
The Trojans capitalized when Fulcher scored from 11 yards out on a run with 8:43 left in the first quarter to give Coldspring an early 7-0 lead.
Devin Smith made a decent return for the Cougars, taking the ball to the La Marque 45-yard line.
Preston made runs of 10 and 9 yards on consecutive plays to bring the Cougars into Trojan territory.
Preston capped it off with a 13-yard touchdown run with 5:57 left in the first quarter.
But Pedro Rubio’s PAT was no good and the Trojans stayed in front at 7-6.
Preston used a 35-yard run on the Cougars’ next possession to get La Marque into Coldspring territory.
Preston carried the ball for a 25-yard run two plays later and the Cougars were on the 9-yard line.
Saldana scored on a 3-yard carry to give the Cougars their first lead of the game. On the 2-point conversion, Launius connected with Kordel Stewart in the right corner of the end zone to make it 14-7 with 1:43 in the first.
Contavious Parker-Harden scored on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter to bring both teams on an even level.
A high-snap on a punt by the Cougars saw the Trojans recover at La Marque’s 3-yard line.
The Cougars’ defense put up a tough goal-line stand but could only do so much before Fulcher scored from 1 yard out. The blocked extra point kept La Marque in front at 14-13.
La Marque didn’t take long to respond, scoring on a 25-yard pass to Preston on the following drive with 5:26 left in the first quarter.
Saldana scored on a 3-yard run to start the third quarter off on the right foot for the Cougars and extend their lead to 28-20.
Launius spotted a wide-open Joey White who hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass for the Cougars to give La Marque a 35-20 lead with 1:37 remaining in the third.
The Trojans’ offense could not find a response and were held to a scoreless second half.
“La Marque played a great game,” said Coldspring head coach Mark Byrd. “They hit the right spot at the right time. We had some injuries but that doesn’t count as an excuse. La Marque played well.”
Saldana scored his third rushing touchdown on a 3-yard run with 7:55 left in the game.
The Trojans attempted a fake punt near midfield with 4:10 left but couldn’t convert and the Cougars took over.
“I’m proud of our assistant coaches and our players,” Jackson said. “It’s been a long season with Hurricane Harvey and everything. But, I appreciate what we’ve done.”