Gators earn hard-fought playoff win

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Larson Fontenot (No. 3) celebrates with Jacob Cheatwood (No. 80) after his touchdown catch against Slidell. Photo by Furlow's Photography.

Before St. Amant's first-round playoff victory over Covington last season, it had been 14 years since their last postseason victory. They didn't have to wait so long this time around.

Despite a sloppy first half that saw the seventh-seeded Gators commit three turnovers, they were able to score three fourth-quarter touchdowns to capture a hard-fought 38-24 victory over No. 26 Slidell at The Pit.

On paper, the matchup looked like another blowout win for St. Amant. The Gators came in firing on all cylinders at 9-1 and averaging 45 points per game. Meanwhile, the Tigers came in just 4-6 overall.

However, Slidell gave St. Amant a stern test from the very beginning.

The Gators wasted no time moving downfield on their opening possession. They stretched the ball inside the Tiger 10-yard line, but a Mallory pass was picked off, thwarting the St. Amant scoring threat.

The Gators were able to bounce back with a Mallory to Briggs Bourgeois touchdown connection to give them a 6-0 lead, but Slidell answered back with a score to take a 7-6 advantage into the second quarter.

Bourgeois regained the lead for St. Amant with a 39-yard field, but the Gators weren't able to add to the lead after being bitten by the turnover bug once again.

A promising drive that saw them get inside the Tiger 5-yard line was halted when a fumbled snap was recovered by Slidell.

Not long afterward, Tiger quarterback Wayne Griffin was picked off by Ben Parker, but Parker lost the ball as he tried to get into the end zone.

As a result of the squandered opportunities, the Gators only led 9-7 at the half.

Slidell opened the third quarter with a field goal to go up 10-9, but the St. Amant offense got back on the move.

They regained the lead with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Mallory to Larson Fontenot. A successful 2-point try put them up, 17-10.

Though, Slidell answered right back. They quickly moved downfield and tied the game with another Griffin touchdown strike.

With the game all knotted up in the fourth quarter, the Gator offense caught fire.

Early in the period, Mallory hit Bourgeois for a six-yard touchdown to put St. Amant up 24-17.

When the Gator defense came away with a Cade Roddy interception, the offense came back on with a short field to work.

Mallory hit Jacob Cheatwood for a 12-yard score to give St. Amant the biggest lead of the game at 31-17, but once again, the Tigers bit back.

They wasted no time spanning 65 yards in just four plays. Another Griffin touchdown pass cut the deficit to 31-24.

That's where the Gators drew the line and took control.

The St. Amant offense went back to work, quickly moving 60 yards downfield and going back up by two scores with a three-yard touchdown run by Cade Nelson.

The Nelson run allowed the Gators to salt away the 38-24 playoff victory.

In the win, Mallory went 26-35 for 287 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

It was St. Amant's 10th victory of the season. They'll have a chance to earn No. 11 this Friday night in another postseason game at The Pit.

They'll host 10th-seeded Barbe. The Buccaneers also went 9-1 during the regular season and are coming off of a 23-19 victory over East St. John in the opening round.