BRING IT: East Ascension, Dutchtown to close out regular season

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Q’Dareus Lomas, left, and Dutchtown’s Eric Reid, right, are fierce tacklers on stout defenses that could make it difficult for the offenses when the Spartans and Griffins strap it on Friday night at Spartan Stadium.

East Ascension and Dutchtown may be at opposite ends of the spectrum in the playoff picture but you can guarantee bragging rights are on the line when they renew their cross-parish rivalry to conclude the regular season Friday night in a District 6-5A match-up at Spartan Stadium.

The Griffins (6-3, 2-2) seek to improve their already impressive unofficial No. 6 power rating, while the Spartans (4-5, 1-3) hope for a victory and a lot of help to improve their No. 46 rating.

Dutchtown’s strength of schedule is second to no one in high school football in the state of Louisiana this year with opponents’ combined record, 59-21. East Ascension’s opponents combined mark is 38-43

“You never want to lose to the people that you are going to bump into the rest of the year,” Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia said. “I am the sure the motivation rests with East Ascension to try and win. We get excited for every game because we are only guaranteed 10 of them and this is one of them.

I think we haven’t had a week that we felt like we didn’t have to show up and we could win a game. We had to play at the top of our game every week and I think that makes you get better. The records of the teams we have played don’t lie and it has certainly helped us in power points.”

“To me, East Ascension is playing good football right now. I think they are playing better right now then they were earlier in the year. I have a great deal of respect for their defense which is as good as anybody’s in our district. Offensively, they have quit turning the football over and have had some success running the football so it is going to be a challenge.”

Dutchtown is coming of three consecutive victories in the series, including a 30-0 victory a year ago, after dropping the first three in the match-up. The Spartans won the first three games (49-13, 28-13 and 10-0) before the Griffins broke through for a 40-20 win three seasons followed by a 35-7 victory in 2007.

“You have to win the last one,” East Ascension head coach John Lambert said. “We have to try and win the parish before we can win anything else. We have to crawl before we can walk and we got to get some help. We know that. We have to hope some people we played win and we have to hope some people we didn’t play lose and we have to go win this football game. Our whole focus is on Dutchtown.

“Dutchtown has established themselves as the premier team in the parish. We are treading water until we can knock them off their pedestal. Certainly we want to beat Hahnville, Destrehan and East St. John but we also understand that we need to beat Dutchtown. If we are going to be successful we have to win games within our parish and they are the cream of the crop right now.”

Dutchtown limited East St. John’s potent offense to just 59 total yards a week ago in a 34-0 shutout of the previously undefeated in district Wildcats. The Griffins forced Tulsa commitment Kalen Henderson into four interceptions and sacked him five times.

LSU commitment, Eric Reid leads a secondary that includes Marcus Godfrey, Johnathan Darville and Shaquille Lewis,  while  Dutchtown’’s front  consists of John Williams, Telfry Gaines, Aaron Davis and Darrien Baptiste. Linebackers are Jabob Magee, Landon Collins and Cole Harp, who led the Griffins with seven tackles and two sacks a week ago.

“I think that they have the best defensive backfield in the district,” Lambert said. “There is no doubt about that. I am very impressed by all of those guys. Their front seven has improved a lot. Dutchtown has played some very good football teams so we have a tremendous amount of respect for what they are going to do on defense and at the same time we understand we have to stay on the field because the longer we are out there, the less their offense can touch the ball.

I think it is important that we take care of their front seven. That is what our aim is. We have to control the kids they have on their defensive line and that is a hard thing to do. No one has done it this year.”

East Ascension’s split back veer attack was held to 150 yards rushing a week ago in a 22-10 setback to defending state champion Destrehan. Avery Williams has rushed for 761 yards on 104 carries this season scoring eight touchdowns.

Justin Pelle` was the leading rusher a week ago with 51 yards on nine attempts while Jamarcus Jarvis added 46 on nine totes. The Spartans rotate series between Emerson Foster and Chase Rivett at quarterback behind an offensive line that is anchored by Adam Thompson, Landon Gauthier, Jon Karrer and Houston Veazey. Dustin Day and Nathan Ray are their top targets.

“I think that their offensive line is better than what it was last year,” Saia said. “The two quarterback system has helped them. I don’t know why, but it has seemed to help them and they have not turned the ball over the past two weeks, which has made them a more dangerous football team.

Our defense played excellent last week and if we can get that kind of effort, I feel pretty good about our chances. I am sure we will have a different game plan for a different offense this week.”

East Ascension caused three fumbles a week ago but were plaqued by the three scoring plays over 30 yards and surrendered 140 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.

The front consists of Sebastion Gaona, Scott Bosworth and Dex Templet, while the linebacking corps features Q’Dareus Lomas, Wade Julien and Irvin Nash. Damien Banner, Kadarius Williams, Donovon Hill and Brelen Aikens are in the secondary.

“They are bigger than us,” Saia said. “I have a great deal of respect for (defensive coordinator) Jason Brown. You know he is going to have them prepared. They are going to be in the right place and they are not going to beat themselves.

They are going to execute and do what they are supposed to do. When a team does that, it makes it difficult. You have to really be on your game offensively to move the football. We need to be consistent in what we do. No team is good when they turn the football over. We have to protect the football.”

Dutchtown’s Wing T attack rushed for 186 yards a week ago while the Griffins also threw for 72 yards. Effrem Reed rolled up 107 yards on the ground scoring twice to up his season total to 821 yards on 159 attempts with 10 scores and added a touchdown reception of 39 yards.

Troy Lewis also scored last week and has 437 yards rushing this season, while Leon Blouin has thrown for 474 yards this season. The offensive line is anchored Colby Crysel, Eric Babin, Zach Hill and Brandon Castjohn. Max Rought and Jamon Stanton are two targets.

“I don’t know if you can stop them,” Lambert said. “I think the goal going into it is to limit what they can do and how much they can do it throughout the evening. We just want to have the opportunity to keep our offense on the field. Long, sustained drives are going to help us against Dutchtown because they may not seem like it, but they are a quick strike offense.

They do some great things out of the wildcat formation. We have to contain the quarterback in the pocket and limit what they get out of the wildcat. If you can do that, then you are going to have some success making them punt the football, but then again, they have run several fakes for first downs in some pretty crucial situations. For a team a that is very young, you have to admire how they have improved throughout the year.”

Once again, it could come down to the kicking game. East Ascension’s Michael Stafford hit a 20-yard field goal a week ago and Dutchtown’s Grant Auzene has connected from beyond 40 yards this season.