Zachary too good for upset-minded Spartans
Last Friday night, East Ascension played some of the best football they'd played all year, but in the end, fourth-ranked Zachary was just too good.
The Spartans took two early leads and then refused to let the Broncos break the game wide open, but they had no answers for 2014 5A Offensive MVP Lindsey Scott, Jr. and the explosive Zachary offense.
"We've been hearing about them, and honestly, film doesn't do them justice. On the field, they're much better," East Ascension head coach Paul Bourgeois said. "They're just exceptional athletes, and they just have so many weapons."
The Spartans honored the school's first ever team before the game. Members of that 50th anniversary squad led them out on the field.
And to reinforce the nostalgia, the Spartans wore the same emblem on their helmets as the first East Ascension team had, along with retro striped socks.
Coach Bourgeois and the rest of his staff wore attire common in the 1960s--khaki pants, white short-sleeved shirts with thin royal blue and yellow ties.
The atmosphere was electric as East Ascension took the ball to start the game and traveled 69 yards on 14 plays. With a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kyran Irvin, they took an early 7-0 lead.
Zachary quickly tied the game after a four-play, 67-yard drive that Terry Sullivan finished off with a three-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans regained the advantage on their ensuing drive as they marched 71 yards in nine plays.
On third down, Irvin hit Josh LeBlanc with a perfect pass on a quick slant, and LeBlanc scored from 26 yards out. After the extra point was blocked, the Spartans led 13-7 heading into the second quarter.
That's when the Bronco offense began to catch fire.
Scott threw a touchdown pass and then ran for one to give Zachary a 20-13 advantage.
Sullivan then added a seven-yard touchdown on the ground to give the Broncos their biggest lead of the game at 28-13.
Right before the half, East Ascension went on a brilliant 11-play, 73-yard drive, and as the final seconds rolled off of the clock, Irvin hit Josh Bates on a screen. Bates took it in for a 22-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 28-19.
Sullivan scored on a 19-yard touchdown run on Zachary's opening drive of the second half to push the lead to 35-19.
That advantage stuck until the fourth quarter when East Ascension drove 49 yards on seven plays. Bates ran it in from three yards out to cut the deficit to 35-25.
But once again, Zachary 's offense responded. They drove 57 yards and added a field goal.
The Spartans' final chance to make things interesting came late. Irvin broke loose on a 67-yard touchdown run, but it was negated by a penalty.
East Ascension eventually turned the ball over on downs and lost by the 38-25 margin. Scott and Sullivan had big games for the Zachary offense.
Scott threw for 155 yards and a score, while rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown. Sullivan rushed for 147 yards and three scores.
With Bates being held to 31 yards rushing and a touchdown on 11 carries, Irvin had to shoulder much of the load for the Spartans.
He went 13-26 for 151 yards with two touchdowns and one interception through the air. On the ground, he carried the ball 26 times for 77 yards and a score.
"It's hard because they really emptied their tanks here tonight, but this is our schedule. This is how it's going to be all year," Bourgeois said. "We have to go back to work, and we have to get better. We played well tonight at certain times. On both sides of the ball, we had opportunities. We just couldn't take advantage of them."