Gators confident play makers will rise against SCC
\ST. AMANT - St. Amant head coach David Oliver knows his team has been on the short end of big plays in two losses to open the season. But Oliver is confident his team will make those plays when the Gators host St. Charles Catholic Friday night at The Pit for homecoming.
“I think getting that first win is critical for our kids,” Oliver said. “They have worked hard and sacrificed for one another. I think we are confident going into every game. We have been close in the first two games and just haven’t made the plays when it is crunch time. If we can make those plays this week, we have a chance.”
St. Amant (0-2) is coming off a 31-13 loss to Central, while St. Charles?Catholic (1-1) defeated East Ascension 21-6 Friday night.
“Our kids are hungry for it,” Oliver said. “We feel like we have made some progress this season. We are trying to streamline what we do and become more aggressive. We want to give our kids a chance to be successful and if we do that, hopefully they will make the plays that we are demanding they make. We are focusing on that in practice.”
St. Amant defeated St. Charles 57-54 in a triple overtime marathon last season as former quarterback Josh Jordan completed 31 of 45 passes for 392 yards and seven touchdowns, both school records, to outduel Vincent Rollo’s 336 yards and five touchdowns.
“We are both playing team football right now and it is going to be a drastically different game than it was last year,” Oliver said. “We are both going to try and emphasize the run. They are coming off a win where their defense created quite a few turnovers. I think the No. 1 thing is the team that makes the fewest mistakes as far as turnovers, missed assignments and penalties is going to be the team that comes out on top.”
St. Amant is still adjusting to a new offensive scheme incorporating the triple option. Quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc has rushed for 43 yards on 23 carries this season while completing 7 of 19 passes for 99 yards on one touchdown but left with a concussion Friday night. Fullback Adrian Bourgeois has led the Gators’ rushing producing 136 yards on 19 carries to go with two touchdowns despite playing sparingly due to injury. Fullback Nelson Jointer has added 99 yards on 20 carries, while tailback Tre` Vaughn has caught two passes for 44 yards, scoring on both a run and reception.
“We are not close to where we can be but we are showing improvement every week,” Oliver said. “It is a dramatically different style for everyone involved. There are some new techniques involved and we have to refine those through repetition in practice. The process has been a little slower than I would have liked but by the same token we are continuing to move forward and make progress.”
St. Charles Catholic, coached by Frank Monica, loss its season opener 37-7 to L.W. Higgins giving up 357 yards rushing but limited East Ascension to just 88 yards on the ground last week.
Running back Stafford Jones scored twice gaining 61 yards on 13 carries, while stablemate Courtland Taylor toted 17 times for 34 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Marc Picciola completed 2 of 5 passes for 26 yards.
“We are pretty banged up,” Oliver admits. “We have five or six kids that may not be able to play on Friday. That is a concern but we have a lot of kids that are ready to play that just haven’t had a chance, so they may do something special for us. The homecoming is for the fans, students and former players. We are focused on the game.”
St. Amant travels to Woodlawn next week beginning a three-game road trip, before opening District 6-5A play at East St. John.