Ruben Stephens steps up for East Ascension in 36-29 victory

Michael Tortorich
East Ascension senior Ruben Stephens celebrates after returning a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown Friday night against Catholic.

East Ascension started fast Friday night in Spartan Stadium, scoring four touchdowns in the first quarter.

Catholic put together a rally in the fourth by scoring three times, but it was the Spartans who had the last laugh.

East Ascension defensive back Ruben Stephens provided key plays in both the opening scoring barrage and in the final stand late in the game. He was among the Spartans to get the home crowd fired up when he returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown. Stephens intercepted a pass with just over two minutes remaining to help East Ascension hang on for the victory. It was his second pass intercepted on the night.

East Ascension (5-3, 1-2 in District 5-5A) scored three touchdowns in the first minute of the game. Quarterback Adam Miller found running back Jarmarcus Jarvis on a 77-yard scoring pass to open the barrage.

Miller then threw a touchdown to Deandrus Ennis from 10 yards out. Ennis avoided Catholic defenders around the left side and capped the play by stretching the ball over the goal line. The scoring play was set up when Ja’lon Watts recovered a fumble at the Catholic 9 on the kickoff.

Miller finished with three touchdowns, completing seven passes for over 250 yards.

East Ascension wasn’t done yet. Stephens followed with his score when he scooped up a loose ball and scampered down the right side into the end zone.

The game continued to slip away from Catholic as Miller and Jarvis connected again. The pass play covered 84 yards. Mason Decoteau’s fourth extra point gave the Spartans a 28-0 advantage.

The visiting Bears then notched their first points. Still in the first, Nick Coomes, who ran for over 70 yards, carried on a 5-yard touchdown run.

The scoring ceased until late in the third. The Bears added two points on a safety with 3:03 left in the quarter. A botched punt snap led to the safety.

Catholic’s Pat Van Duzee added a 1-yard scoring run to cut the Spartan lead with 11:50 to go. The advantage stood at 28-22 after Coomes caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Ken Ward. The conversion pass failed.

East Ascension answered when running back Sione Palelei caught a pass from Miller and took it in from 34 yards out. Ennis added the two-point conversion at the 8:05 mark to extend the Spartans lead to 36-22.

Catholic accounted for 20 points in the fourth. Khalil Thomas caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Coomes to cut the East Ascension lead to seven points.

In week nine, East Ascension will play the first to two road games to finish the regular season. The Spartans will meet Woodlawn Friday night.

East Ascension’s Deandrus Ennis stretches the ball over the goal line on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Adam Miller.