FOOTBALL

EA outlasts rival St. Amant for jamboree win

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
East Ascension quarterback Kyran Irvin. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

It may have been a jamboree, but East Ascension and St. Amant were in regular-season form last Friday night as they traded blows in a 21-14 thriller that the Spartans were able to win.

Fueled by two turnovers, East Ascension was able to jump up 21-0 on the Gators at the half.

After the break, the St. Amant defense stood tall and forced three turnovers of their own--allowing the Gators to score 14 unanswered, but a late stand by the Spartan defense allowed them to seal the victory in the LeBlanc's Food Store Jamboree.

"I think our itinerary said the scrimmage started at 9. We played good football after that point," St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. "We were sloppy early. We challenged our kids to go out and play better in the second half and execute, and I think they did that. We started to turn the tide a little bit, but we just couldn't finish the job."

Much of East Ascension's success in the first half was sparked by quarterback Kyran Irvin and running back Josh Bates.

"We felt like we had a lot of confidence, and we return very good athletes in Kyran Irvin and Josh Bates," East Ascension head coach Paul Bourgeois said. "I think those two are special. There's a lot of other people talking about how they have great ones, but we have good ones too."

The Spartan offense got it going early after a Maurshaud Melancon interception on St. Amant's opening drive.

They covered 37 yards in six plays and got on the scoreboard when Raekwon Mackyeon took an end-around 24 yards for a touchdown to put them up 6-0.

East Ascension followed it up with an eight-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Irvin hitting Keenen Dunn for a nine-yard touchdown.

Irvin took it in himself on the two-point try to give the Spartans a 14-0 lead.

On St. Amant's next series, an errant snap went over quarterback Hayden Mallory's head, and it was recovered by the Spartans at the Gator 10-yard line.

Just two plays later, Irvin ran it in untouched to give them a comfortable 21-0 advantage at the break.

The lead looked like it was about to get bigger to start the second half as Irvin hit Dunn for 50 yards.

However, on the very next play, Bates fumbled the ball away to St. Amant. The turnover totally changed the complexion of the game.

The St. Amant passing game heated up as they marched 88 yards on nine plays. They got on the scoreboard when Mallory hit Jacob Cheatwood for a nine-yard touchdown.

After Patrick Wolfe picked off an Irvin pass that was deflected, the Gator offense went back on the move.

They started things off with a 30-yard connection from Mallory to Briggs Bourgeois.

After seven plays, St. Amant spanned 60 yards and cut the lead in half with a five-yard touchdown catch by Larson Fontenot.

On East Ascension's next drive, Irvin was picked off in the end zone. It ended a promising Spartan drive and gave St. Amant one final chance to tie the game.

Mallory hit Bourgeois for 19 to start things off, and the Gators pushed the ball to the East Ascension 17.

For the first time in the second half, the Spartan defense made a huge stand and forced St. Amant to turn the ball over on downs. That stop allowed them to run the clock out and clinch a victory.

"I think it took them a little while to get into the Friday night grove, the speed, the tempo and the atmosphere," Oliver said. "Once they settled down, we created some turnovers for them in the red zone, and we had a couple of real long drives. We just couldn't make the plays when we needed to. We have some work to do."

Mallory looked good in his first start in a live game. He went 17-25 for 217 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception.

His two top targets were Fontenot (nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown) and Bourgeois (five catches for 72 yards).

Irvin led the Spartans as he went 6-10 for 88 yards with a score and two interceptions through the air, and he ran for 79 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Josh Bates chipped in with 59 yards rushing.

Coach Bourgeois said he wants to see some improvements defensively.

"We need to improve in situations like tonight, where we couldn't stop the bleeding," Bourgeois said. "They went right down the field and scored a touchdown, went right back down the field and did the same thing and were on their way to another one. We have to be able to come up with something to stop them when the momentum turns."

In week-one action on Friday night, East Ascension will travel to Denham Springs, and St. Amant will also make a trip to Livingston Parish. They'll visit Live Oak.