THIBODAUX, La. (WVUE) - For the Southeastern Lions, the big win over their rival was a long time coming. It was nearly a year and a half in the making after coming up short against the Nicholls State Colonels when they last met in 2019.
To say they were playing with a chip on their shoulder in Thibodaux would be an understatement.
“Big chip,” says defensive back Alphonso Taylor. “We had it on our minds all week. We watched the video from the last game two years ago when it ended at the one yard line. It just fired us up. After that, we were ready to go.”
Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo had no problem letting his team lean into that emotion to use it to fuel them to a monster second half.
“Seeing them celebrate on our field, I think that’s part of the process,” says Scelfo, referring to the Colonels hosting the trophy in Hammond back in 2019. “Us coming here to win in Guidry Stadium, that’s part of the process. And you’ve got to remember a lot of these kids played against each other in high school or with each other in high school. So there are some rivalries that are already naturally built in.”
But their emotional edge was only part of the Lions advantage mentally. They refused to back down after weathering a tough second quarter where Nicholls led by as much as 10. They started the third quarter with a pick-six from Ferlando Jordan, and that set the tone.
It was the first of four interceptions thrown by Lindsey Scott.
“We were lucky we got the picks today,” says Scelfo. “We made those plays when we had a chance to make them. But you don’t beat a quarterback like that to often man.”
Calling them lucky is being humble in victory. The Lions were ferocious, and as coach Scelfo called it, bold. They weren’t afraid to take risks and impose their will. Southeastern converted all three of their fourth down attempts and turned two of them into touchdowns.
“I tell the players to be bold when they’re playing,” says Scelfo. “Be bold in your preparation. I tell our coaches, Greg (Stevens), be bold in our play-calling. I think you saw that. Chris (Lachney), be bold in the defense. Bring pressure. Be bold. Don’t be scared. So I’m not going to not go for it on fourth down. We’re going for it man.”
But to make that type of decision, you’ve got to have the right player at quarterback. And Cole Kelley was absolutely clutch, more than earning redemption for the fumble against Nicholls that stuck with him since 2019.
“It was emotional for him,” says Scelfo. “For him to be able to take control this year, this is his team. He’s the leader. There’s no doubt about that. For him to be able to play as well as he did tonight, I don’t know what the numbers are, but I think he played really well tonight. It was important for him to be able to get a win here tonight.”
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