Gators feast on Bulldogs to remain undefeated

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant has started the season 4-0 for the third straight year. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The last two seasons, St. Amant needed clutch late drives to come from behind and squeak past Lutcher. The late-game heroics weren't needed on Friday night.

The Gators played their most complete game of the season at home in what became a 40-20 blowout of the Bulldogs that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.

"I thought we dominated the game in all three phases," St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. "We played error-free football, we didn't turn it over and we scored every time we had the ball until the end. So, I was pleased with how we played."

In the previous three seasons, the Gators had beaten Lutcher by a combined margin of 6 points.

In the Bulldogs' run of back-to-back Class 3A state titles, they had only lost three games. Two of those losses came to the Gators.

But this year's Lutcher team doesn't have the two players that gave St. Amant headaches in the past: quarterback Jontre Kirklin (LSU signee) and receiver Al'Dontre Davis (TCU signee).

Without them, their offense was suffocated by the St. Amant defense.

Meanwhile, the Gator offense scored touchdowns on their first three possessions.

The first time they got the ball, they fed it to Cade Nelson five straight times, and he completed the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0. He accounted for all 67 yards on the series.

Each of their next two scoring drives ended with touchdown strikes from Halen Miller to Grant Alexander. These scores came from 37 and 62 yards out to give the Gators a commanding 21-0 advantage.

Lutcher did cut into the deficit before the half.

They put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive to get into the end zone for the first time and get within 21-7 at the break.

However, that was as close as they would get.

To start the third quarter, St. Amant went on a 10-play, 84-yard drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown connection between Miller and Collier Ricks to make it 27-7.

After holding Lutcher to a quick three-and-out on their first possession, the Gators added a 25-yard field goal by Hector Rodriguez to make it 30-7 heading into the fourth.

"We talked at halftime, and everything was checking out with the game plan. We scored every time we got the ball in the first half," Oliver said. "I thought the first two series of the second half--one on offense and one on defense--were going to be real critical to the outcome of the game, and I was pleased with what we did."

In the final quarter, the Gators finished their scoring with a four-yard touchdown run by Nelson and a 38-yard field goal by Rodriguez to give them a 40-7 advantage.

Lutcher ended the game scoring two touchdowns against St. Amant's reserves. They scored their last touchdown on the final play of the game.

The Gators outgained the Bulldogs, 486-266.

"Our offensive and defensive lines played great," Oliver said. "We told them coming in that this was going to be a weight-room game where we had to control the box on offense and defense, and I think we did that. That's why both our offense and defense shined. The big uglies played well. It was a fat kid game."

The St. Amant offense showed tremendous balance.

On the ground, Nelson rushed for 154 yards and two scores, and through the air, Miller went 14-16 for 240 yards with three touchdowns.

K.J. Franklin had 60 yards rushing and 53 yards receiving, while Alexander was the leading receiver for St. Amant with four catches for 125 yards and two scores.

The Gators are now 4-0 for the third straight season.

"I think we're getting a little better every week," Oliver said. "It's hard to find a lot of flaws in our game tonight until you watch the film. There's always something to correct, but I like where we're at."

This week, St. Amant will go on the road for the first time this season to play undefeated St. James.