BRING ON THE RAIN: Griffins’ stingy defense blanks No. 7 East St. John
PETER SILAS PASQUA
The Weekly Citizen
GEISMAR – Dutchtown took advantage of a stingy defense that forced four interceptions and gave the Griffins good field position to thoroughly dominate No. 7 East St. John 34-0 Friday night in a District 6-5A upset Friday night at Griffin Field.
Through a steady rain that blanketed sheets at time and deteriorated field conditions, the Griffins (6-3, 2-2) were never threatened building a 14-0 first quarter lead over East St. John, who was previously undefeated in district play.
“It was just one of those nights where everything went right for us,” Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia said. “I thought jumping up on them early was big. You didn’t know when the conditions would deteriorate and they are still a dangerous team.
“Momentum is a big thing in football and I think we kept it most of the game. We stayed focused and concentrated. I think the conditions helped us more than it helped them. They are a throwing football team but you have to play it however it is dealt to you and I am proud of my guys. I thought they played a great game.”
Effrem Reed scored three first-half touchdowns for Dutchtown and rushed for 107 yards on 16 attempts.
“It was one of those nights were everything went right for them,” East St. John head coach Larry Dautreive said. “We have been on the other end of that before. We couldn’t grip the ball or throw it tonight. We had to throw every down and they knew it. They were getting to us with three and dropping eight. We didn’t protect the quarterback and he was running around for his life.
“We were doomed at half-time. I thought we had a great game plan but we just didn’t execute it. They do a good job with the Wing T and they have a good team. They earned enough points to beat us and we didn’t score. If you can’t score, you are not supposed to win."
The Wildcats (7-2, 3-1) were without the state’s leading receiver, Dhaquille Williams, who was suspended for breaking school policy, and the Griffins limited East St. John to just 59 total net yards harassing quarterback Kalen Henderson for four interceptions and five sacks.
“I thought our defense played extremely well,” Saia said. “It is so much easier when the offense is moving the ball. It gives them a chance to get a break.”
Dutchtown scored on their opening possession after holding East St. John to a three-and-out. Troy Lewis capped the six play, 39 yard drive with a 3-yard run after hauling in a 34-yard reception from quarterback Leon Blouin to convert a third down. Grant Auzene’s kick gave the Griffins a 7-0 lead with 8:19 left to play in the first quarter.
Reed capped the Griffins’ next 11-play, 53-yard series with a 3-yard push. Blouin’s 8-yard pass to Max Rought and Lewis’ 8-yard run were the biggest gains for Dutchtown. Auzene’s kick made it 14-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Marcus Godfrey intercepted Henderson on the ensuing possession and returned it to the ESJ 30 but Auzene’s 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Godfrey picked Henderson again on the next series, this time returning it 27 yards for a touchdown. Auzene’s kick made it 21-0 with 11:13 left to play in the first half.
Cole Harp sacked Henderson for a 10-yard loss to end the ensuing possession but the Griffins were forced to punt.
Eric Reid returned a Henderson interception to the ESJ 34 on the next series and Blouin hit Reed out of the backfield for a 29-yard touchdown on the next play from scrimmage. Auzene’s kick was wide right leaving the score 27-0 with 4:57 left to play.
Reed capped the Griffins’ next 5-play, 63-yard series with a 9-yard run into the end zone. Blouin’s 27-yard run set up the score after Reed’s 15-yard pickup. Auzene’s kick reflected the final tally.
Landon Collins sacked Henderson for an 8-yard loss on the final play of the half and the Wildcats didn’t cross midfield till 2:44 remained in the third quarter.
Lucas Shipman intercepted Henderson on East St. John’s first possession of the second half, two plays after John Williams sacked him for a 7-yard loss but Andrew Taylor recovered Leon Blouin’s fumble on the next play.
Harp sacked Henderson for a 7-yard loss to end the Wildcats’ next possession and the Wildcats’ only venture into Griffin’s territory came when they recovered the subsequent muffed punt.
Neither team crossed midfield in the fourth quarter as the rain continued.
Dutchtown wraps up the regular season when they travel to East Ascension (4-5, 1-3) Friday night at Spartan Stadium for a District 6-5A match-up at 7 p.m. while East St. John travels to Hahnville (8-1, 4-0) for a share of the district championship on the line at Fighting Tiger Stadium.
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