Spartans hope to play spoiler against East St. John

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Marcus Bailey fights for extra yardage against Destrehan last week. Bailey and the Spartans host East St. John Friday night.

East Ascension will attempt to play the role of spoiler when they host East St. John in a District 5-5A battle Friday night at Spartan Stadium.

“We are trying to keep East St. John out of the playoffs,” East Ascension head coach John Lambert said. “That is the plan.”

East Ascension (2-6, 1-3) finds themselves currently 44th in the unofficial Class 5A power ratings, 12 spots behind the final playoff berth which is held by East St. John (3-4, 2-2).

“We are so far down the list in power points right now, it would be hard for us,” Lambert said. “We would need all the stars to align just right for us to get in.”

East St. John, led by head coach Larry Dautreive, is coming off a 35-28 overtime victory over Hahnville last week, while the Spartans fell 46-0 to No. 1 rated Destrehan. The Wildcats’ losses have come to No. 2 ranked Destrehan, No. 4 Acadiana, No. 9 Dutchtown and No. 2 Bastrop of Class 4A.

“They are a very big team,” Lambert said. “They are bigger than we are so it will take technique. They are very similar to Destrehan with the size and speed that they have and with the schedule that they have had, they have certainly played some of the best teams in the state.”

The Wildcats are led on offense by running Alex Singleton who rushed for 87 yards on 19 attempts to up his season totals to 644 yards on 140 carries and five touchdowns. Quarterback Kalen Henderson threw two touchdowns last week on 2-of-3 passing for 96 yards and has 559 yards completing 32-of-71 passing to go with five touchdowns and has rushed for 238 yards on 50 attempts. Todd Muse has added 289 yards on the ground in 50 attempts to go with five touchdowns and Andre Millet has 209 yards on 32 carries.

“There are some good matchups there,” Lambert said. “Coach Dauterive is really concentrating on running the football and our defense is probably best at stopping the run, so it really does present a positive matchup.”

East Ascension limited Destrehan to 225 yards total offense last week. Tackle Wade Julien led the Spartans with five tackles, including two for losses, while end Ryan Moll had three stops with one going for a loss and linebacker Chase Thomas provided two tackles for losses.

East St. John’s defense, which has given up 24.8 points per game, is led by  linebackers Alvin Sconeaux and Bryson James and defensive back Torri Zeno. 

“In the two games we have won this year we have controlled the line of scrimmage and that is the key to winning football games,” Lambert said.  “They are certainly bigger than we are, but if we stay on our blocks and can get four yards a pop, we are on the field a lot longer than their offense is and that rests our defense, which had been the strength of our team all year.”

East Ascension’s offense has struggled putting points on the board being shut out of the end zone four times this season including last week. Avery Williams rushed for 51 yards on 15 attempts against Destrehan upping his season totals to 594 yards on 131 carries. Emerson Foster completed 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards and now has 364 yards on 27-of-75 throws and three touchdowns. Marcus Bailey caught three passes out of the backfield for 24 yards last week.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors,” Lambert said. “It has been a great group of guys to coach and just to be around. I look forward to rooting for them in other sports but I am sick to my stomach. I really wanted to give them the present of going to the playoffs.”