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Block High School falls to St. Mary’s High School

NATCHITOCHES, La. — The Block High School Bears came up short in their effort to share the LHSAA District 3-1A championship as they lost to the St. Mary’s High School Tigers 23-14 last Friday night at Turpin Stadium on the campus of Northwestern State University.

With the loss, Block (3-5, 2-2) finished in third place behind St. Mary’s and Logansport High School, which defeated Northwood-Lena High School 58-22 last Friday night to end up in second place in the district standings.

“We’ve got to execute on the small stuff. We’re still learning,” Bears head coach Benny Vault Jr. said Monday morning. “We played great defense. But we turned the ball over a lot. Special teams made some mistakes. We missed a lot of opportunities on offense.”

Even in defeat, Vault said he was pleased that his team did not give up against a good St. Mary’s team and that the players left it all out on the field.

“We played a full four quarters. We’ve grown a lot over the season. I feel good about our position,” Vault said. “The fought together and played hard. I think they understand what it means to win.”

Dexture Jefferson rushed for both of Block’s touchdowns and junior wide receiver Tylik Davis had a good game on both sides of the ball.

“It was an overall team effort. Everybody contributed,” Vault said. St. Mary’s improved to 6-2 overall and won the district title outright with a 5-0 record. Yet somehow the Tigers are just the No. 11 seed in the LHSAA Division IV Playoffs and will be on the road for the first round against No. 6 seed Metairie Park Country Day School.

Meanwhile, Block is the No. 12 seed and will be at home for the first round of the LHSAA Class 1A Playoffs. The Bears play host to No. 22 seed Merryville High School Friday at 7 p.m. The Panthers got in despite going 1-6 overall and 1-5 in District 4-1A.

“That’s big considering where we came from,” Vault said when asked what it means to host a first-round playoff game. “We’re excited. The town is excited. We haven’t advanced to the second round since 2015.”

Despite a sixth-place finish in District 4-1A and just one win to its credit, Block will not take Merryville lightly.

“It looks like they’re pretty big. They run the ball as much as any team we play,” Vault said. “They have a couple of good running backs. They run it to the left, run it to the right, run it up the middle. They play smash-mouth football.

As to how the Thanksgiving holiday affect practice this week, Vault said, “We’ll practice a little earlier. Make sure we understand everything. It’ll give us a little more time to work on what we need to work on.”

Vault said the keys to victory for his team will be to play good defense and control the ball.

“We’re going to try to keep them off the field. We’ll have to play the possession battle.”

Vault noted that he expects to have a good crowd Friday night despite a limit on attendance due to COVID-19.

“We expect to have a playoff atmosphere. The limit is 130. We can carry 40, 50 on our side for sure. There will be some people here for the holiday,” Vault added.

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