Gators overwhelm Griffins in finale

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Briggs Bourgeois scored 26 of St. Amant's 47 points in their dominating victory over Dutchtown. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

St. Amant's offense gets most of the pub, but in their 47-7 home win over Dutchtown in last Friday night's regular season finale, they showed that they can be lethal in all three phases.

Their defense forced two turnovers, and behind Briggs Bourgeois, the Gator special teams out-scored the Griffin offense.

"When you score a lot of points, the offense usually gets all the credit, but that's a product of great field position, strong special teams and great defense, and we played that tonight," St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. "They had the long field all night. Briggs had two long returns. They were always in long-yardage situations, and we were able to take advantage of it."

The loss ended the season for Dutchtown. After evening up their record at 3-3, they finished the year with four straight losses.

"It was the same stuff we've been doing all year. We just can't seem to get it right," Griffin head coach Benny Saia said. "The silver lining in all of this is that 95 percent of these players will be back for next year. The lessons learned will serve us well going into next season."

St. Amant took their first lead on the final play of the first quarter, following a seven-play, 78-yard drive.

Right after a Dutchtown offsides penalty handed the Gators a first down, Hayden Mallory hit Bourgeois for a 23-yard score to put St. Amant up 7-0.

On the Griffins' ensuing possession, quarterback Ben Mays was picked off by Ben Parker at the Dutchtown 41.

After penalties derailed the Gator drive, Bourgeois was forced to attempt a 49-yard field goal, and he drilled it to extend the lead to 10-0.

They then went up 16-0 when St. Amant drove 58 yards in just three plays. KJ Franklin made a tremendous jump-ball grab in the corner of the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.

Bourgeois and the special teams ended the half with a bang as he exploded for a 65-yard touchdown on a punt return to give them a 23-0 lead at the break.

They began the third quarter with a 70-yard drive that culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by Cade Nelson to put the Gators up 30-0.

The Griffins were finally able to get on the board late in the third quarter when Larry Hebert picked off Mallory at the Gator 24. Eventually, Noah Gray scored on a 1-yard run.

But St. Amant responded with a big kick return by Khaj Washington that gave them a short field to navigate. Nelson eventually banged his way in for a three-yard score.

St. Amant ended the impressive showing with a 14-yard touchdown connection from Mallory to Bourgeois and a 26-yard field goal by Hector Rodriguez.

Bourgeois had a tremendous game--scoring 26 points on his own.

Besides the damage he did in special teams, he had five catches for 68 yards and two scores.

"He's a great kicker, great punter, great receiver and he's been decorated All-State. He's one of the best to ever play at St. Amant High School--if not the best," Oliver said. "This year, we've been having him return punts. Every time he touches it, he's a threat to score."

Franklin had four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Mallory went 15-23 for 222 yards with three scores and one interception, while Nelson chipped in on the ground with 118 yards and two touchdowns.

The St. Amant defense held Dutchtown to just 155 total yards.

Mays went just 6-19 for 78 yards and was picked off twice. Gray and Chuckie Davis were limited to 37 combined yards on the ground.

Despite the 3-7 record, Coach Saia said he was pleased with the effort his team displayed throughout the season.

"I'm proud of these guys. They never quit; they never dropped their heads," Saia said. "We had no problems with people not showing up to practice. We never had any trouble with guys mumbling and grumbling. They came to work every day and did their best. That's all you can ask from anybody. Hopefully, it will pay off down the road."

As for St. Amant, they have gone 5-1 in six games against their Ascension Parish rivals the past three years.

They finished the 2016 regular season 9-1, earned the No. 7 seeding in the 5A playoffs and will host a first-round playoff game for the second straight year.

This week's matchup will be against No. 26 Slidell (4-6).

"Last year, we were able to get that monkey off of our backs and have one at home and get the win," Oliver said. "Our theme this year is 'reach higher,' so our expectations are to go further than one round."