Abbeville defensive lineman Joshua Landry (58) has to make a split decision about who to tackle. Does he go for Kendrick Baudoin (middle) or NV quarterback Darius Gilliam. Landry tackled Baudoin, but Gilliam kept the football. Photo by Beverly Vincent.
North Vermilion's playmaker keeps everyone on their toes
LEROY - When you have a playmaker running your offense, everyone knows to be on their toes because you never know what could happen.
Darius Gilliam is North Vermilion’s starting quarterback. In Thursday’s season opener against the Abbeville Wildcats, Gilliam made things happen and helped NV win 30-7.
He danced and ran around in the backfield until something happened. On an early snap count, while his teammates stood around, Gilliam alertly took off and scored a touchdown. When he looked like he was about to be tackled, he pitched it to a running back or threw it downfield to an open receiver. There were even times when he tried to do too much, and it did not go his way.
Late in the game, NV head coach Brett Blakey reminded Gilliam that he had teammates.
“Sometimes I think he thinks he has to do it all, and he does not have to,” said Blakey. “I was telling him to trust the system. It is something as a head coach I have to live with. We will have great moments, and we will have our bad moments.”
North Vermilion’s offense had more great moments than it did bad moments.
On paper, Gilliam rushed 60 yards and threw for 117 yards. He completed 79 percent (11-out-of-14 passes) of his passes.
His first completion of the night was a 20-yard completion to Dale Martin. On the tackle, Martin injured his shoulder and is expected to miss a few games.
On the same drive, with 45 seconds to play in the first quarter and on the AHS 4, the ball was snapped to Gilliam. The snap came earlier than expected, and few players moved, except for Gilliam and receiver Daylon Deculus. He found Deculus alone in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
The Patriots went ahead 14-0 on a 70-yard drive that was capped off when Gilliam ran six yards for a touchdown. He also had two completions on the drive. One was a 10-yard completion to Zack Necaise and a 5-yard catch by Christian McNees.
On the Patriots’ next possession in the second quarter, Gilliam looked to be sacked but then threw a floater to Deculus, who caught the ball over his shoulder. It kept NV’s third scoring drive alive.
Deculus said players can’t fall asleep with Gilliam at QB.
“He is always scrambling,” Deculus said. “We have Play A and then there is Play B. You have to find a place to get open, and once you are open, he will find you. It reminds me of playing backyard football. He is running around to find the open receiver.”
On the same drive, Deculus also had a one-handed 10-yard catch where he landed on the AHS 1-yard line.
“I was running my route, and there was space in the corner,” Deculus said. “He threw it high, and I went up. I am not sure how I caught it. I came down with the ball. I thought I fell in the end zone, but the referee said I did not cross.”
In the game, Deculus had three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown. McNees also had three receptions for seven yards.
Running back Kendrick Baudoin had 18 carries for 89 yards. His longest run was a 37-yard run. Baudoin also had three catches for 17 yards.
NV rookie kicker Patrick Chapman, who is the goalie for the Patriots’ soccer team, made his first-ever high school field goal by nailing an 18-yarder late in the third period to make it 30-0.
The North Vermilion defense only gave up seven points against Abbeville.
The Wildcats had 145 yards of offense. AHS quarterback Jaidyn O’Brien led AHS with 10 carries for 49 yards. He scored a one yard touchdown in the third quarter.
It was made possible by a 40-yard reception to Charles Shuford. Shuford had two catches for 48 yards.