Gators look to build momentum at Woodlawn

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Jaylin LeBlanc scores the Gators’ lone touchdown last week on a 31-yard run in the third quarter. LeBlanc and the Gators travel to Woodlawn Friday night.

ST. AMANT - St. Amant has been hurt defending the pass in its last two loses and head coach David Oliver knows the Gators will have to do a better job in that aspect when they travel to Woodlawn Friday night.

“We have to get the entire defense to play as a group,” Oliver said. “Last week, we were just inconsistent. When we were playing good pass defense, we didn’t have a good pass rush and that allowed their guys to eventually get open or the quarterback to scramble. When we had a good pass rush, we had a breakdown in coverage and there was a guy wide open. I think if we put both those phases together, we will be able to defend the passing game better.”

St. Amant (0-3) is coming off a 35-7 loss to St. Charles Catholic, while Woodlawn (0-2) fell to Zachary 41-12. 

The Gators defeated Woodlawn 24-3 last season as former quarterback Josh Jordan passed for 249 yards and two touchdowns and added another on the ground. The Panthers were edged by St. Thomas More 27-20 in their opener.

“It looks like they are a vastly improved team over last year’s club,” Oliver said. “They have a lot of seniors and have good size on both interior lines to go with some nice skill players. It is going to be a good challenge for us.”

St. Amant was gained 227 total yards last week but have struggled on third down throughout the season. Quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc finished with 99 yards in the air on 8 of 13 passing and added 49 yards on 15 carries. He has 198 passing yards completing 15 of 33 attempts and one touchdown this season. Junior fullback Nelson Jointer has rushed for 143 yards on 29 carries to lead the Gators’ ground attack. Senior fullback Adrian Bourgeios has 136 yards on 19 carries but has been hampered with an injury. Senior receiver Anthony Bonadona has been the top target with seven catches for 112 yards, while Chase Keller has added five receptions for 49 yards.

“The biggest thing we need to do is work on third down conversions,” Oliver said. “Last week, we were one for 10 and that cost us plays. Every time you get a first down, you get three more plays. We shoot for 50 percent so that would have been 12 or 15 more plays.  What we are looking to do is execute in the key situations which is third down. If we make half of those, we should be able to extend the drive, gain momentum and score touchdowns.”

Woodlawn, coached by Don Jones in his third year at the school, is coming off a 4-6 record and return nine starters with four on offense and five on defense. Senior quarterback Sterling Perryman directs the Panthers’ offense and his top target is senior receiver Jordell McCoy. Senior running back Antoine Weatherspoon and senior wideout Tyler Rogers all return. Senior linebackers Adam Cole and Jarrett Hardnett lead the defense.

“We try to win them all and we are preparing just like we prepare for any other team,” Oliver said. “”(Woodlawn is a) good challenge and we are going to treat them with respect. We are going to go out and try to execute. On a week to week basis, we worry more about what we do and how we are going to respond to what the other team does. We haven’t focused on that a ton but we are trying to get some momentum and we are trying to win.”

St. Amant open district play at East St. John next week in Reserve.