St. Amant drops Covington to end losing skid
ST. AMANT – St. Amant scored the first 21 points of the contest on way to a 56-33 victory over Covington in the season opener at the Pit Friday night that also halted a 10-game losing streak.
“I am just happy for the kids,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. “Our seniors worked extremely hard in the offseason and laid it on the line for us. I was pleased to see them realize that there is a correlation between hard work and success and they really needed it. They earned it and I am proud of them.
“It is our first win with the new regime. There was a lot of transition last year and there were some things we had to build and get right. We felt like if we handled those things, winning would take care of itself. Those things have cleared up and the winning is starting to happen.”
St. Amant, coming off an 0-9 campaign, unleashed a devastating ground attack that churned up 364 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Guillory rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries while also completing 6-of-10 passes for 85 yards and one score. Senior running back Tre` Vaughn led the attack with 139 yards rushing on just eight carries and also returned kicks another 125 yards.
“Beside those individual efforts there are 11 guys on every play that are really contributing,” Oliver said. “If the line is not doing their job and the receivers aren’t blocking on the edge, we are not talking about the games they had. I just thought it was a great offensive team effort on those plays and we got some key defensive stops with gang tackling and great team effort so I was really pleased how we competed as a group.”
St. Amant opened the contest with a 10-play, 89-yard drive capped by Guillory’s scamper wide left. Justin Manton’s kick put the Gators ahead 7-0 with 7:23 left in the first quarter.
Britton Day raced into the end zone from 31 yards to cap the Gators’ next 7-play, 60-yard drive. Manton’s kick put the Gators ahead 14-0 with 11:53 left in the first quarter.
After Covington stalled at midfield again, St. Amant took over at their own 21 following a punt. Nelson Jointer’s 5-yard touchdown run capped the 6-play series after Guillory hit Vaughn for 17 yards and Day for 41 yards.
Otis Jacob returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to pay dirt to put the Lions on the board with 6:08 left to play in the first half.
Vaughn returned the next kickoff 41 yards to set St. Amant up in Lions’ territory and Guillory capped the 4-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run around the right side after kick starting the possession with a 32-yard gain. Manton’s kick put the Gators ahead 28-7 with 2:13 left in the half.
Covington cut it to 28-12 on the last play before half-time when Tyler Scott connected with David Mizell from 1-yard to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive. Scott’s 25-yard completion to Mizell sparked the possession.
“I thought we were in command of the game the whole time,” Oliver said. “Covington came out in the second half and really put up a huge fight. It was nice to see our kids respond in a positive way to adversity.”
Neither team was able to sustain a drive to open the second half. On the Lions’ second possession Scott connected with Dexter Thompson from 28 yards to cap a 4-play, 55-yard drive. Spencer Graham’s kick cut it to 28-19 with 2:01 left to play in the third quarter.
Vaughn returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards and the Gators quickly answered when Guillory found Chase Hitchcock from 4 yards.
But Jacobs would answer with his second kickoff return for a touchdown, this one good for 95 yards to cut the margin to 35-25 with eight second remaining in the quarter.
Three plays later, Vaughn took a misdirection hand-off right 60 yards to pay dirt. Tony Raffray recovered the ensuing squib kickoff and the Gators drove 44 yards in 10 plays to go up 49-25 on Jointer’s 1-yard burst with 9:59 left to play.
Covington was not through and Scott hit Mizell to cap the ensuing 8-play, 65-yard drive. Scott hit Bickham on the conversion to cut it to 49-33 with 3:21 left to play.
St. Amant would answer with a 4-play, 53-yard drive capped by Guillory’s 9-yard touchdown run to reflect the final tally with 5:33 left to play.
“We took the first step toward our ultimate goal,” Oliver said. “We are still hungry and have a lot of things we need to work on. It was a positive first step but we have a lot of things we need to improve upon as a football team.”
St. Amant travels to Hammond Friday night at 7 p.m. for their Week 2 contest.