Patterson High School defenders Irvin Celestine (12) and Treylon Bennett (5) close in on North Vermilion running back Malik Criner during Friday's District 8-3A contest in Leroy. North Vermilion defeated Patterson 52-28. Criner rushed 34 times for 205 yards with four touchdowns. Patterson will return home Friday when it hosts Abbeville for homecoming. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

North Vermilion tops Patterson 52-28

Both Patterson and North Vermilion were looking to get back on track this week heading into their District 8-3A opener at North Vermilion Friday.
For the Lumberjacks, three turnovers — including two in the first quarter — helped North Vermilion jump out to a 28-7 lead en route to a 52-28 victory.
“We, once again, self-destructed physically, got beat on the offensive (and) defensive line,” Patterson Head Coach Don Jones said. “Of course, when you lose, everybody’s got an answer for it, but it’s not the X’s and O’s. I can promise you. It’s not the scheme. It’s all about senior leadership. It’s all about physicality.”
Patterson was, however, missing some players due to injury, Jones said.
“We were pretty limited on what we could do,” he said.
While Patterson took a 7-0 lead on its first drive of the game via a Treylon Bennett 1-yard run with 9:12 remaining in the first quarter and a Jose Rivera extra point, the Patriots scored on their first three drives and added a fourth touchdown on a pick-6.
With the game tied at 7 after Malik Criner’s 7-yard run with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter, the Patriots quickly regained possession as Micah Istre intercepted Randy Paul on the first offensive play of the Lumberjacks’ ensuing drive.
Istre returned the ball to the Patterson 2-yard line, and one play later, Criner scored from 2 yards out with 4:51 remaining for a 14-7 North Vermilion lead.
The Patriots added a score on their next offensive possession when quarterback Garrett Becker completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Parker Romero with 57 seconds left in the quarter for a 21-7.
The Patriots added a pick-six by Kendrick Baudoin on the Lumberjacks’ ensuing offensive drive.
Hunter Hulin, who was 7-for-7 on point-after attempts and 1-1 on field goal tries, made his fourth extra point of the night for a 28-7 North Vermilion lead with three seconds left in the first quarter.
The hole was too much for Patterson to overcome.
After falling 35-21 to South Beauregard last week, North Vermilion Coach Brett Blakey knew his team needed to get back to its identity for the season: physical running and passing out of
necessity.
“We set the tone,” Blakey said. “We were physical in the run game. We felt like we could take it to them, and I felt like our offensive line answered the call tonight.”
North Vermilion (3-3 overall, 1-0 in district) had 363 yards of offense (291 rushing and 72 passing).
After Patterson’s Dajon Richard scored on a 2-yard run with 10:38 remaining in the first half, the two teams went scoreless until Hulin connected on a 25-yard field goal to close the first half and give North Vermilion a 31-14 advantage.
Patterson (1-5, 0-1) cut its deficit to 31-21 with 7:12 left after Richard recorded a 54-yard touchdown reception from Paul.
However, North Vermilion added three more touchdowns: a 53-yard run by Becker with 6:53 remaining in the third, a 10-yard run by Criner with 5:37 left in the third quarter and a 17-yard run by Criner with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I thought we came back (in) the second half (and we) were going to make a little run, but we didn’t,” Jones said.
Criner led North Vermilion with 34 carries for 205 yards, and he scored four touchdowns. Becker had eight carries for 70 yards and one score.
Becker also completed 2 of 5 passes for 72 yards and a score.
Defensively, North Vermilion limited Richard, a University of Texas-San Antonio verbal commit, to 211 yards of offense (117 rushing yards and two scores and 94 yards receiving and a touchdown).
Richard’s final touchdown, a 79-yard run, came against North Vermilion’s junior varsity.
Blakey was pleased with his team’s effort stopping the Patterson standout after warning his team about the playmaker’s ability.
“I said, ‘Dajon’s going to make some plays. He’s really good. When we get the opportunity to make stops, we got to make stops,’” Blakey said.
Patterson had 386 yards of offense (204 rushing and 182 passing).
James Butler added seven carries for 60 yards, while Bennett had five rushes for 38 yards and a score.
Paul completed 9 of 18 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Patterson will return to action Friday when it hosts Abbeville in District 8-3A action. The game will be the Lumberjacks’ homecoming.
Meanwhile, North Vermilion will travel to face Erath Friday in district action.

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