THE FRAY: Griffins move past Spartans in defensive tussle

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown’s Leon Blouin scores on a 1-yard quarterback sneak as East Ascension’s Irvin Nash, Albert Black and Sebastion Gaona pursue and Jared Spriggs and Eric Babin provide blocking in the first quarter of the Griffins’ 14-3 District 6-5A victory Friday night iin Spartan Stadium.

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Dutchtown came out on top of the scoring board in a District 6-5A defensive tussle with cross parish rival East Ascension 14-3 Friday night at Spartan Stadium.

The contest featured only 345 total yards of offense as the Griffins (7-3, 3-2) improved its post-season stock and completed a sweep of other Ascension Parish Class 5A teams. It was Dutchtown’s fourth straight victory over the Spartans in the young rivalry that dates back to 2003.

“We expected a battle,” Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia said. “They have a good football team.  We found a way to win the game. Penalties kept us bottled up all night long. We have to correct those holding calls and get that fixed because it is hard for an offense to overcome second-and-long. That was the negative of the night.

“I thought our defense played well. We held them to three points. I wish we could of got them off the field a little sooner but that is their game. Three yards and try to keep your offense on the sidelines.”

Dutchtown advances to the Class 5A playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will host Comeaux Friday night at Griffin Field. East Ascension has failed to make the post-season for the third consecutive season since moving back up to the 5A ranks.

“I hate losing but I feel good about this football team right here,” East Ascension head coach John Lambert said. “I am proud of my defense for holding them to 14 points and our offense moved the football on them. We walked out of that locker room after half-time ready to win this game.

“What we are trying to do here is play good defense, good offense and good special teams and we did that tonight. My kids fought like crazy. They played their hearts out tonight and didn’t back down for a second.”

The game was marred by a bench clearing brawl with about four 1/2 minutes left to play. On fourth-and-6 from their own 32, East Ascension went for it and Jamarcus Jarvis was stopped two yards shy of the marker on a gang tackle that carried out of bounds onto the Spartan sideline.

“That is unfortunate,” Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia said. “It is an unfortunate thing that happens. We shook hands and those guys were hugging each other after the game. In was just in the heat of battle and it happens at all levels of football. You wish it wouldn’t happen in high school. We are going to talk to our kids about it. We are not proud that it happened but it did.”

The fray quickly escalated into a shoving match that would end up in a pile halfway between the hash marks requiring security police to intervene momentarily. After both coaches, principals, referees and law enforcement convened, the game continued with the ejection of seven players.

“It is a shame that it had to end that way because it was a good clean game up till that point,” Lambert said. “It is just two rivals playing each other and those kind of things happen sometimes.”

Dutchtown’s offensive output that produced enough to win was led by Effrem Reed who rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown Johnathan Darville added 41 yards on two attempts out of the Wildcat formation and quarterback Leon Blouin scored the Griffins’ other touchdown.

“It’s a pride thing,” Saia said. “These kids, they know each other, they like each other and they compete against each other so it is nice to be able go to the Jambalaya Festival and have that to brag about.”

East Ascension was led by Avery Williams with a game-high 73 yards on 19 carries, while Jarvis added 31 yards on 12 attempts.

Dutchtown scored on the opening possession of the contest when Blouin kept from 1 yard out to cap a 10-play drive, two plays after Darville converted a third-and-28 with a 39-yard run from the Wildcat following two penalties against the Griffins and a recovered fumble for a loss.

“It is a good change of pace, gives the other team something they have to practice against and it has been effective for us,” Saia said of the Wildcat. “I thought they did a good job of bottling it up later on.”

Shaquille Lewis returned the opening kickoff 42 yards and Reed’s 13-yard run pushed Dutchtown across midfield before a 12-yard scamper by Cyril Francois. Grant’s Auzene’s kick gave the Griffins a 7-0 lead with 7:37 left to play in the first quarter.

East Ascension answered with a 21-play drive that nearly drained 11 minutes of the clock to put points on the board with a 37-yard Michael Stafford field goal on the ensuing possession. Williams converted two third downs on the drive and Emerson Foster’s 2-yard quarterback sneak moved the chains on fourth down.

After Sebastion Gaona hit Troy Lewis for no gain on third down to force the Griffins to punt on the ensuing possession, Eric Reid intercepted Foster on the next series and returned it 15 yards to the Dutchtown 39. The Griffins failed to capitalize and Williams dragged Reid for a 12-yard gain to near midfield on the ensuing series but John Williams sacked Foster for a 1-yard loss one play later just before half-time.

Dutchtown forced the Spartans to punt on the opening possession of the second half after Landon Collins hit Jarvis for a 2-yard loss and went to the Wildcat after Scott Bosworth dropped Reed for minus 3 yards. Reed scampered 24 yards on the first play out of the possession before East Ascension bottled it up and Albert Black eventually recovered a fumble at the EA 42.

East Ascension failed to gain a first down and Darville returned Stafford’s punt 30 yards to the EA 46. Reed capped the ensuing 9-play, 46-yard drive with a 2-yard run around the left end. Blouin opened the possession with a 16-yard completion to Max Rought before jaunting 15 yards on third-and-long. Auzene’s kick reflected the final tally with 57 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Irvin Nash sniffed out a fake punt dropping Reid for a 5-yard loss on the Griffins’ ensuing possession at the Dutchtown 40 but Aaron Davis recovered a fumble three plays later at the EA 46. On fourth-and-9 from the EA 35, Dutchtown went for it and Darville was stopped two yards shy of the marker on a reception from a group tackle that carried out of bounds on the Griffin sideline.

After the melee, the teams’ offensive and defensive units shook hands on the field before play resumed. Blouin connected with Austin Brown out of the backfield for a 30-yard gain to the EA 35 but Gaona and Wade Julian hit Reed for no gain on fourth down to give East Ascension one final chance. However, Foster was sacked by Devante Jones for an 8-yard loss on the last play of the game two plays after Darville intercepted him and subsequently fumbled on the return which was recovered by Cameron Lodge.

East Ascension’s Avery Williams rushes for a 12-yard gain in the second quarter as Dutchtown’s Eric Reid pursues in the Griffins’ 14-3 District 6-5A victory Friday night at Spartan Stadium. Williams finished with a game-high 73 yards on 19 carries and Reid returned an interception 15 yards.