Down 12-0 on the road to parish rival Dutchtown, a sputtering East Ascension offense desperately needed a spark. Head coach Darnell Lee knew where to go.

Down 12-0 on the road to parish rival Dutchtown, a sputtering East Ascension offense desperately needed a spark. Head coach Darnell Lee knew where to go.

They started giving the ball to all-everything senior Jimel London, and like many teams this year, the Griffins had no answer.

London broke loose on three long touchdown runs in a stretch of 28 unanswered points by the Spartans to collect their first district victory of the season, 28-18.

“I love our guys,” Lee said. “I love this team. I love this school. I love this community. I’m extremely proud of them.”

Each team came into the game hot. East Ascension was a winner of three straight, while Dutchtown was following up back-to-back victories.

With the Spartans not being able to get out of their own way in the first quarter, the Griffins jumped all over them.

On Dutchtown’s second play of the game, quarterback Ben Mays took a keeper down the sideline and outran all East Ascension defenders for a 65-yard Griffin touchdown to put them up 6-0.

The Spartans were forced to punt on their next possession. An errant snap went over the punter’s head, and Dutchtown recovered the ball at the East Ascension 8-yard line.

Though, the Spartan defense forced the Griffins to settle for a 19-yard Cohen Parent field goal.

East Ascension’s next drive ended when Dutchtown’s Van’Shon Grayson picked off Jason Wakefield and returned it to the Spartan 33.

Once again, the Spartan defense dug in and forced the Griffins to settle for a 40-yard Parent field goal that put them ahead 12-0 at the end of one.

To start the second quarter, London took over for East Ascension.

In at wildcat quarterback, London caught the direct snap and raced 48 yards for a score to cut the deficit to 12-7.

On their next drive, it was the same formation and the same result. This time, London broke loose on a 49-yard touchdown run to give East Ascension their first lead at 14-12.

The Spartan defense set up their next score as Jaqunn Mitchell picked off Mays and returned it to the Dutchtown 33-yard line.

Four plays later, Wakefield went play-action and hit Shedrick Smith on a slant for a 13-yard score to give East Ascension a 21-12 halftime lead.

Still leading by 9 late in the third quarter, outside linebacker Adrian Bowie came up with a sack and strip of Mays. East Ascension recovered in Dutchtown territory.

Just two plays later, London took a snap out of the wildcat and raced 32 yards for a score to give the Spartans a 28-12 lead.

Dutchtown scored a late touchdown when Mays tossed a nine-yard score to Terry Mathews, but the Griffins failed to convert the 2-point try.

With just over a minute remaining in the game, East Ascension was able to close out the win.

The Spartan defense forced three turnovers and only allowed 160 total yards. Eighty-three of those yards were gathered by Mays on the ground.

“We started slow, but our defense has been playing well all year,” Lee said. “We told them to stay the course. We wanted to play four quarters. We told them we had to make up for that in three, and they did.”

East Ascension’s offense came almost entirely from London and Thomas Levy.

Levy rushed for 75 yards, while London amassed 143 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries.

“I’m not a fan of a player, but I love watching [Jimel London] play,” Lee said. “I love watching our team play, because I think Thomas Levy did a great job, too. He was more of a jab, but he hit them when it mattered.”

The loss dropped Dutchtown to 3-3. Conversely, it was East Ascension’s fourth straight victory, improving them to 5-1 overall.

“We’re playing Spartan football in all areas of the game,” Lee said. “Offensively, we’re improving every week. In special teams, we had the muffed snap that gave them the opportunity early, but our defense was resilient. I’m just proud of our kids. Our defense is mature, but our offense is a little immature as far as chemistry goes. That’s why Jimel has to come over and spark us and give us a little rhythm.”