Gators maul Griffins in regular-season finale

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown's Fitell Bolding is swarmed by Elliot Turner (No. 90), Anthony Wilson (No. 35) and other Gator defenders. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

If you did what Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia calls "Ascension Parish math," it looked like the Griffins would trounce visiting St. Amant on Friday night to claim their first outright district title since 2011.

Dutchtown (7-3) had beaten both East Ascension and Catholic by double-digits--two teams that had walloped the Gators (8-2) by a combined 48 points.

That math turned out to be fuzzy.

From the opening snap, St. Amant took it to the Griffins. They built up a 17-point lead at halftime and never looked back as they cruised to an emphatic 41-14 victory.

"We have a good team. We're proud of our kids," Gator head coach David Oliver said. "We've been working to try to kick the door down and get to the next level. We didn't ring on the doorbell or knock, we kicked it down tonight. I think we showed what kind of team we can be."

Saia didn't think his team gave St. Amant enough credit heading into the matchup.

"I told them not to do the Ascension Parish math, and that's what happens in this community. They hear, 'Catholic beat St. Amant [51-14] and y'all beat Catholic, 42-7. It's in the bag,'" Saia said. "So, I don't think it was a letdown. I don't think we had the proper respect that we needed to have to come out here, and I'm not taking anything away from [St. Amant]. They played a tremendous football game."

The Gator offense was hot early as they drove 55 yards in seven plays for their opening drive. Nathan Taylor finished it off by carrying the ball three straight times for 32 yards and a score to put St. Amant up 7-0.

A Briggs Bourgeois 36-yard field goal put them up 10-0 after the Gators partially blocked a Griffin punt.

Dutchtown cut into that lead with a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive that saw Fitell Bolding break loose on a 37-yard touchdown run.

St. Amant regained a 10-point advantage in the second quarter as they drove 65 yards in just five plays. Hayden Mallory hit Bourgeois in stride for a 24-yard score.

The Gators ended the half with a six-play, 50-yard drive that was sparked by a brilliant play by Mallory. He scrambled away from pressure and hit Tanner Mayo 34 yards downfield.

Not long afterward, Mallory hit Bourgeois for an eight-yard score to give St. Amant a commanding 24-7 lead at the break.

The advantage went to 20 points to start the third as Bourgeois drilled a 49-yard field goal.

Dutchtown finally answered with an eight-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off with an eight-yard touchdown run by Bolding to cut the deficit to 27-14.

But from that point forward, it was all Gators.

Taylor continued to shred the Griffins on the ground as he added touchdowns of eight and nine yards to ice away the 41-14 victory.

"I thought all three phases played excellent," Oliver said. "We had some big kick returns, we blocked a punt early, the offense was steady all night, we got points on almost every drive and we only had the one turnover. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job making them one-dimensional."

St. Amant out-gained Dutchtown, 460-269.

They held Griffin quarterback Jared Sparks to just 13 of 29 passing for 121 yards and no touchdowns. Sparks added 49 yards on the ground.

Bolding was Dutchtown's only bright spot on offense as he earned 92 yards rushing and two scores on 19 carries.

"They out-played us, they out-coached us, they were a hungrier team and they came in here and took it to us," Saia said. "All you can do is take your hat off to them. Hopefully, we'll learn from this. We'll have a big game next week. If we do it again, we'll be picking up equipment."

Mallory completed 15 of 24 passes for 229 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His favorite target was Bourgeois as he made seven grabs for 105 yards and the two scores.

Taylor was a force on the ground. He carried the ball 19 times for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was a great team effort," Oliver said. "I felt like we had this football in us all year long, but in the key moments, we just hadn't put it together since the Lutcher game. It's nice to end the regular season on a high note and secure a week 11 game in The Pit. We're excited."