by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
NATCHITOCHES – A loss in last season’s championship game did nothing short but motivate Many High School.
The Tigers (12-0) completed a year long mission to recapture the glory of winning a state title in the opening game of the 2020 LHSAA Prep Classic as they defeated Kinder (9-3), 16-13, in a slugfest that will be remembered for ages.
Sunday’s state championship victory is Many’s first since 2014 and second in program history. This also served as the rubber match in state championship games played between the Tigers and Kinder. The Yellow Jackets won in 2013 while Many score the state title win the next year.
A first half of miscues and missed opportunities resulted in a low scoring affair as Kinder scored once in its six minutes of offense while the Many Tigers racked up 115 total yards but was only able to reach paydirt one time.
A no-doubt, would-be playoff resulting touchdown play was called back for each team during the first half as Kinder’s 78-yard pass from Graham Fawcett to Deunota’ Fonten was resulted in a penalty. Minutes later a 36-yard punt return from Many’s Tackett Curtis was also called back due to an illegal blocking penalty that would have placed the Tigers at the Kinder 6.
Trotter Lafollete’s 32-yard field goal gave Many its first lead of the game as the Tigers ran into the locker room with a 9-7 halftime lead.
A majority of the second half consisted of drives ending with punts up until the fourth quarter when Many scored to take a 16-7 lead on what was perhaps the deciding play as Tylen Singleton returned a 23-yard interception return to extend the Tiger lead.
For his efforts, Singleton was named Many’s Most Valuable Player in the game.
Kinder wasn’t going down without a fight and used an eight play, 80 yard drive to pull within three of Many.
However, it wasn’t enough as the Tigers used the final minutes of the game to claim victory and take home another state title.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• 07:21 – Kinder | Tylan Caeser took advantage of a first-play, option rush 59 yards for paydirt to put the Yellow Jackets on the board first.
• 09:54 – Many | Many’s drive down the field resulted in ZeQuarrius “Cadillac” Rhone sneaking in from the one yard line for paydirt. PAT was no good.
• 0:35 – Many | Trotter Lafollette’s 32-yard field goal gave the Many Tigers their first lead of the game, 9-7. It was Lafollette’s second made field goal of the season.
• 09:13 – Many | Freshman Tylen Singleton came up with one the game’s biggest plays with a 23-yard interception returned for a touchdown that put the Tigers up 16-7.
• 02:19 – Kinder | The Yellow Jackets cut the lead to three when Griffin Cooley scored on a 6 yard run following an eight play, 80-yard drive.
Many head coach Jess Curtis
“We knew coming in here that it would be nothing short of a dog fight. What you have to be sure to do is make the last play against a team like that. You can’t blink and I don’t think our guys did tonight.”
On finishing the season undefeated
“It feels great and that’s the parallel I saw all season. A team that was embarrassed last year picked themselves up off the ground and went to work. No matter what, these guys chose to roll with the punches during this pandemic. It’s a wonderful feeling and we finished some business today.
Many SS Tylen Singleton on game-winning interception
“I was watching it the whole way and was locked in. It felt great to be able to help my team score and extend the lead.
Kinder head coach Bret Fuselier
“All year long, our guys found a way to win. I am proud of them and you have to tip your hat to Many. They are a great team and were the No. 1 team in the state for a reason. You may look back at this game and ponder the what-if’s but Many did a great job. Our guys fought all the way to the end though. We were an onside kick away from winning. We just ran out of time but we believed the whole way.”