Gators take down EA for first time in four years
It took 10 weeks, but East Ascension was finally able to host its first home game of the season on Friday night.
The Spartans were amped to play on their new artificial field turf against archrival St. Amant. But St. Amant was the worst kind of guest on Friday night.
Behind a stingy defense and two clutch drives, the Gators ruined East Ascension’s homecoming.
The Gators came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Spartans, 10-6. It was their first win against East Ascension since 2017.
With just 16 points scored, it was also the lowest-scoring game in the rivalry since 2011.
“It was a great defensive effort. Our kids didn’t back down,” Gator head coach David Oliver said. “They came into a hostile environment with a lot of emotion. After losing in two overtimes last year, we wanted to make one more play than they did this year, and we did that.”
St. Amant drew first blood. After taking over at the East Ascension 46-yard line, the Gators drove the ball into field-goal range.
Cole Poirrier then hit a 35-yarder to give St. Amant a 3-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Later, East Ascension’s defense forced the Gators to punt from inside their own end zone. The punt was shanked, allowing the Spartans to start the drive at the St. Amant 25-yard line.
But the Gator defense didn’t give up a single first down. East Ascension had to settle for a 38-yard Evan Kern field goal that tied the game early in the second quarter.
With both defenses dominating for much of the period, the game remained deadlocked at halftime.
On East Ascension’s opening drive of the second half, Walter Samuel exploded for a 50-yard run on the Spartans’ first play. But the Gator defense held firm and forced Kern to make a 27-yard field goal.
Trailing 6-3 in the third, St. Amant put an 11-play drive together that reached the Spartan 18-yard line, but Poirrier was picked off by Kendrick Broussard in the end zone.
Although, to begin the fourth, the Gators went back on the move. They put their best drive together, marching 67 yards in 10 plays. St. Amant then took a 10-6 lead with a three-yard touchdown run by Poirrier.
St. Amant then forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball back.
Facing a third-and-11 at the Gator 37, Poirrier hooked up with D’Andre Taylor for 42 yards, giving St. Amant a first down at the East Ascension 21.
The Gators nearly bled the clock dry, but the Spartans forced them to kick a field goal. Poirrier’s 28-yarder was blocked.
East Ascension took over at its own 20-yard line with just 21 seconds remaining. Samuel picked up 31 yards on a screen to get East Ascension to the Gator 49 for one last play.
But Troy Dunn’s Hail Mary fell incomplete, giving the Gators the 10-6 victory.
In the win, Poirrier went 14-26 for 200 yards, and he rushed for 55 yards and a score. Taylor had five catches for 101 yards, and Noah Louque caught seven passes for 70 yards.
For East Ascension, Samuel rushed for 83 yards and added 46 receiving yards. But the rest of the team totaled just 28 yards.
“I’m so proud of this defense,” Oliver said. “They really answered the call, and now we’re probably looking at a top-10 seed for the playoffs. That’ll give us another game of our toes on the new turf at The Pit. So, things are good in Gator Land.”
St. Amant has now won back-to-back games and has only allowed 20 total points in those two victories.
“We’re playing our best football when it matters the most,” Oliver said. “When you have that going for you, good things happen.”