St. Amant wins ugly, EA loses big

Kyle Riviere

It wasn't the most glamorous win, but the Gators will take it.

St. Amant traveled to McKinley Friday night and despite committing a plethora of mistakes, they escaped with a 30-13 win--their second within the district.

The Gators got off to a promising start when Gabe Richards picked off a pass and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown to quickly put St. Amant up 7-0. It looked like it was going to be another Gator blowout, but McKinley kept their composure and amply responded.

To start the second quarter, Travion Alexander hit Malik Odom for a 13-yard touchdown, and the Panthers took the lead when Tyrone Scott added a five-yard touchdown run.

Facing their first deficit of the game, the Gators finally got on track as they marched 90 yards with great running by Kirk Elisar and Evan Matheny. Matheny finished it off with a 37-yard run that helped St. Amant regain the lead at 14-13.

And right before the half, the Gators got a huge momentum swing as Beau Nickel hit Matheny for a 24-yard touchdown to extend the St. Amant lead to 21-13 at the break.

McKinley never responded. Their offense--which moved the ball well in the first half--was stymied. They were forced into a safety and held off of the scoreboard for the rest of the game.

St. Amant added a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game totally out of reach at 30-13.

The Gators had nearly 400 yards of offense, but penalties crippled them all night. They had a staggering 183 yards of penalty yardage.

Despite the self-inflicted wounds, the St. Amant running game still impressed. Trey Washington was held to just 57 yards on 16 carries, but Matheny stepped up with 71 yards and a score on the ground and 31 more yards and another touchdown through the air.

The win now puts the Gators out to 6-1 and 2-1 in district play. The six wins are the most by St. Amant since the 2004-2005 season--which was also the last time they made the playoffs.

As for their archrival East Ascension, their up-and-down season continued with a 55-28 blowout loss to Catholic.

Maybe the Spartans were still in a daze after last week's heart-wretching loss to Dutchtown where they fell one yard short of victory. Either way, Catholic knocked them down early, and East Ascension never was able to get off of the mat.

The Bears went on a 78-yard drive to start the game that took up nearly half of the first quarter. It ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Khalil Thomas.

They took a 13-0 lead into the second quarter when Nick Coomes kept the ball on a quarterback-keeper to cash in a three-yard score.

After recovering a Spartan fumble and getting a short field to work with, Thomas made East Ascension pay again as he broke loose on a 17-yard touchdown run to give Catholic a commanding 21-0 lead.

That lead equipped with the Spartans' inability to stop the Bear rushing attack made any East Ascension comeback attempt an impossibility.

Sione Palelei had a 68-yard touchdown run and busted free for another 73-yard scamper to set up another Spartan score. It was no use; the Bears kept answering East Ascension touchdowns with touchdowns of their own.

Derrius Guice had a 47-yard touchdown run, and Thomas reeled off two more long scores of 56 and 79 yards.

Catholic took a huge 48-14 lead into the fourth quarter and ended up finishing the game with the 55-28 victory.

Palelei was exceptional in the losing effort as he ran for 151 yards and a score. However, the Bears got three 100-yard performances from its backfield.

Coomes rushed for 118 and three touchdowns, Guice added 140 yards and a score and Thomas went crazy. He piled up 237 rushing yards and four scores.

Altogether, Catholic reeled off 575 total yards.

The loss just highlights what's been a topsy-turvy year for the Spartans.

From the last-minute scheduling and eventual blowout loss to U-High, to three razor-thin losses to Mandeville, Denham Springs and Dutchtown, it's been an emotional roller-coaster.

The team many thought would contend with Dutchtown for the district crown has now fallen to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in district play.

They'll try to bounce back this week as they host winless Woodlawn.

As for 5-2 Catholic, they will travel to The Pit for a huge District 5-5A showdown with St. Amant.

The key matchup will be the Gator defense against the Bears' dominant offense.

St. Amant is only giving up 10 points a game while Catholic is scoring 38 a contest. Something has to give.

And if you like great running back play, this should be the game to watch. The Gators' rushing attack led by Washington and Elisar will be stacked up against Catholic's duo of Thomas and Guice.