NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For the first time in 13 seasons, Southwest Louisiana has a state champion in football.
Jordan Vickers' 3-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining proved to be the game winner as Kinder defeated Many 34-20 to capture the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship Friday night in the Superdome.
Trailing 20-18, Kinder (14-1) drove 87 yards on 16 plays and consumed over nine minutes in the fourth quarter, culminating with Vickers' touchdown run to secure the school's third state championship and first since 1978. The Yellow Jackets also won a title in 1967. It was the first time a team from SWLA won it all since 1999, when Iota won the 2A crown.
Vickers, who was named game MVP after running for three touchdowns and 196 yards, sealed the victory with less than a minute remaining on his third touchdown run from 25 yards out.
The teams played back-and-forth throughout. Many (13-2) had outscored Kinder 13-0 in the second half thanks to a pair of touchdown runs from quarterback Xavier Dias. Dias' 1-yard touchdown run cut the Yellow Jackets' lead to 18-13 and his 6-yard touchdown run put the Tigers up 20-18 before Kinder began its game-winning drive.
After Dias connected with Josh Berry for a 39-yard touchdown in the first quarter, Kinder trailed 7-6. The Yellow Jackets answered with the next 12 points behind a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown by Khalil Leblanc and a 55-yard touchdown run by Vickers.