Spartan defense terrorizes Gators in blowout victory

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
East Ascension's Jacquel Jacobs races into the end zone for a touchdown after picking off Hayden Mallory on the first play of the game. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

The horrors of Halloween came early for St. Amant.

The Gators brought their undefeated record to Spartan Stadium for their annual clash with archrival East Ascension, and they left with a crushing 31-10 defeat.

Quarterback Hayden Mallory and the St. Amant passing game had established themselves as one of the most prolific units in the state, but they were victimized by an inspired Spartan defense.

They picked off Mallory four times--returning one for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Overall, they held the Gators to just 174 total yards.

"Give a lot of credit to Coach Lee," East Ascension head coach Paul Bourgeois said. "In his first year as defensive coordinator, they've struggled a little, but they've shown signs of potential. They just haven't been consistent, so for him and the defense to have a game like this, I'm so happy for them."

The Spartans were desperate after dropping two straight games.

They immediately grabbed the momentum as Jacquel Jacobs came through with an interception on the first play of the game and returned it for the touchdown. The score put East Ascension up 7-0 and ignited the rowdy Spartan crowd.

"You have to give EA's coaches a bunch of credit. They had a nice game plan, and we came out with the early mistake," St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. "I thought we settled down to an extent. Our defense really played well for three quarters; they just got worn down."

Later, East Ascension blocked a Gator punt, but they were not able to do anything with it. A touchdown pass was negated by a holding penalty.

After the Spartans had to punt out of their own end zone, St. Amant took over at the East Ascension 34-yard line, but they were only able to add a 21-yard Briggs Bourgeois field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

That score remained until the second half.

The Gators got off to a promising start as Patrick Wolfe picked off Kyran Irvin at the Spartan 19-yard line. However, St. Amant came up empty handed when Mallory was picked off in the end zone by Jacobs.

Guided by a 55-yard run by Josh Bates, East Ascension covered 93 yards in nine plays.

Irvin then broke loose on a 31-yard touchdown run to extend the Spartan lead to 14-3.

On their next drive, Bates gashed the St. Amant defense again. His 82-yard scamper set the Spartans up with a 22-yard field goal by Cale Kernan to go up 17-3.

After picking Mallory off again, East Ascension took over at the St. Amant 31-yard line. Just three plays later, Irvin took a handoff, broke tackles and marched 21 yards for a touchdown to put the game away at 24-3.

Irvin eventually added another six-yard touchdown run, and the Gators finally scored a touchdown when Mallory hit Larson Fontenot from 16 yards out to make the final score 31-10.

The St. Amant offense was overwhelmed.

Mallory was only able to complete 13 of 29 passes for 105 yards with one touchdown. Jacobs accounted for three of Mallory's four interceptions.

On the ground, Nathan Taylor was only able to accumulate 38 yards on 18 carries.

"They gave us the ball with great field position, but we just couldn't do anything with it," Oliver said. "We had the four interceptions and the blocked punt. Those are the things that get you beat in a hostile environment."

Irvin had a nightmarish game through the air--where he went 0-13 with two interceptions, but in the second half, his feet came up with some huge plays for the Spartans. He ran the ball 23 times for 91 yards and three scores.

Bates had just as many yards as St. Amant's offense. He rolled up 174 yards on 14 carries.

"I can tell you this about the big runs, a lot of them had to do with those two great running backs. Kyran (Irvin) is like a running back/quarterback," Bourgeois said. "Those guys made some cuts and broke some tackles before they got those runs. Their defense still gave us hell, but we had those players make big plays when we needed them."