The Patterson Lumberjacks took an early lead Friday and held on to beat Loranger 16-14 and advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Patterson (10-2), the fourth-seed, jumped out to a 16-0 lead on 13th-seed Loranger (7-5) before the Wolves stormed back.
The ’Jacks got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter when quarterback Jake LaGrange found Mykel Jones on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:29 remaining. The score was set up by a 27-yard punt return by Daylon Charlot and a 21-yard catch by Jones. LaGrange scored on a two-point conversion run for an 8-0 lead.
Patterson linebacker Jedrick Gunner scooped up a Loranger fumble and returned it 14 yards to the Wolves’ 19-yard line. After a Patterson penalty and a sack of LaGrange, the junior hooked up with Jones again for a 33-yard score with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter. LaGrange added another two-point conversion run to extend Patterson’s lead to 16-0.
LaGrange was 9-of-26 passing for 86 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
He is starting for Spencer Landry, out for the second straight game with a cracked collarbone.
Jones was the leading receiver with seven catches for 77 yards and two scores.
“They (Loranger) had a good defensive scheme, and they showed us different looks that we didn’t capitalize on,” Patterson head coach Tommy Minton said.
With 2:39 remaining in the first half, Loranger intercepted a Patterson pass at the ’Jacks’ 37-yard line. Jake Ingraffia, now at quarterback, hit running back Cody James with a screen pass that he turned into a 62-yard touchdown. Loranger added a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 16-8.
LaGrange was picked off again on the next Patterson possession by D.D. McGee, who darted 63-yards down to the ’Jacks’ 8-yard line with 51 seconds remaining in the half.
Ingraffia wasted little time connecting with Javeon Francis on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left. Patterson stuffed Loranger’s two-point conversion run to take a 16-14 lead into halftime.
Patterson went to its ground attack in the second half with senior running back Deontay Jones pounding the ball against Loranger’s big defensive line.
Deontay Jones carried 21 times for 79 yards to lead the ’Jacks. LaGrange added 40 yards on 13 carries.
“We started running the ball after they went to a bracket coverage (double teaming the wide receivers) on the outside,” Minton said. “Deontay always runs hard, and he did a good job (Friday).”
Patterson’s defense also stepped up in the second half, forcing four punts and two turnovers.
“We were able to avoid big plays in the second half; we played good defense throughout the game,” Minton said. “They got a little momentum before the half, but we pretty much held them in check.”
Patterson held Loranger to just 185 total yards (145 passing and 40 rushing).
“My hat goes off to them, they’re a good football team,” Loranger head coach Sam Messina said. “They made some plays early in the game, and they closed it out when they had to.”
Patterson had a nine-play drive that took more than three minutes off the clock and another six-play drive that chipped away more than two minutes.
Loranger got the ball back with 1:57 to play and completed a 40-yard pass down to the Patterson 28-yard line with 50 seconds remaining. But Shelby Lavergne jumped in front of Flanagan’s pass for the game-winning interception with 39 seconds left.
Defensive stars for Patterson included Jerome Jennings, Shundren Johnson, Taylor Harris and Kendall Hunter. Malik Bass also added an interception for the ’Jacks.
Standout linebacker Nehemiah Augustus dressed out but didn’t play for the second week in a row with an injury.
The Lumberjacks will host Jennings (9-3) Friday at the Sugar Dome at 7 p.m.
Jennings, the-fifth seed, beat Westlake 38-13 Friday for the second time in three weeks, to earn a return trip to the quarterfinals.