Despite not being able to play a scrimmage or a jamboree, the Gators returned to the field last Friday night. They made the trip to Livingston Parish--another area hit hard by the flood--to visit Live Oak.

When the St. Amant community was engulfed by flood waters, fear and uncertainty were among the most common emotions that floated around.

Besides homes and businesses, the school was submerged--leaving many to wonder when students would be able to continue their studies.

Many thought St. Amant would have to cancel their football season. Head coach David Oliver was not one of those people.

Just days after the flood, he said that the Gators would be back. Two weeks later, they were.

Despite not being able to play a scrimmage or a jamboree, the Gators returned to the field last Friday night. They made the trip to Livingston Parish--another area hit hard by the flood--to visit Live Oak.

The Gators started fast, and they never looked back--rolling to a 31-6 victory.

Coach Oliver was excited for his team, but he was also thankful for all those that have helped his program in the last two weeks.

East Ascension has allowed the Gators to use their facilities to practice, and Dutchtown has shared their school with St. Amant students.

"I'm really thrilled we were able to get on the field. It's a huge win to start football back up," Oliver said. "East Ascension and Dutchtown have a slice of this. Our school board did a great job, and most of all, I'm just proud of our student athletes."

The Gators took the opening possession and drove 65 yards in 15 plays, but they had to settle for a 22-yard Briggs Bourgeois field goal after the drive stalled.

On Live Oak's ensuing drive, cornerback Jerrick Beckwith picked a ball off in the flats and took it in for a touchdown to give St. Amant a 10-0 lead.

To start the second quarter, the Gators marched 73 yards in nine plays and finished things off with a four-yard touchdown run by Mark Darby to extend the lead to 17-0.

After an interception by Ben Parker, the Gators took over at the Live Oak 47 with little time left in the half.

Hayden Mallory connected with Bourgeois for 33 yards. On the very next play, Reece Elisar caught a jump ball for a nine-yard score with just two seconds remaining in the half.

In the third quarter, Live Oak cut the deficit to 24-6, but the Gator offense went right back to work.

They drove 80 yards in 11 plays and finished things off with a 14-yard touchdown connection between Mallory and Cade Nelson.

The score allowed the Gators to cruise to an easy 31-6 victory in a game many thought would never be played.

"Our mission is to make sure these people remember something about the fall of 2016 besides the flood. This was the first step in that direction," Oliver said. "It was just three hours where everyone could be together, focus on this and not have to worry about all of the other stuff going on."

Just the trip to the game was a quick reminder to the Gators that their community was just one of the many that were ravaged by the flood.

"Live Oak got hit extremely hard," Oliver said. "Driving through Denham Springs, it really breaks your heart to see how this affected so many communities, so hopefully, by getting back on this field, we're doing our small part in getting it back."

In the victory, Mallory didn't show many signs of rust. He went 19-30 for 236 yards with two touchdowns. Bourgeois was his favorite target as he came up with seven catches for 100 yards.

The St. Amant ground game had a hard time getting started. Darby was held to 43 yards and a score, while Nelson added 37 yards.

"We protected the football. We made a couple of big plays early and controlled the tempo of the game," Oliver said. "We had very few penalties. Those were some of the things I was worried about with us not having a scrimmage or jamboree, but we were able to come together and make some plays when we needed to."

The defense was impressive, limiting the Eagles to just 157 total yards.

"That's a Live Oak team that not many people are going to want to play in weeks five and six, because they're in the beginning stages of putting in the option, and they have some nice pieces," Oliver said. "It just hasn't all clicked. It's a new offense, but their defense is stout. I don't think we did a good job running the ball, but that was mostly them. They're tough up front."

Now with week one in their rearview mirror, the Gators are ready to get back to the friendly confines of The Pit. On Friday night, they'll host their home opener against Higgins.