EA topples Catholic for sixth straight victory

Kyle Riviere
Jimel London (No. 2) led the Spartans with 62 yards rushing in their upset victory over Catholic. Photo by Kyle Riviere

East Ascension has won some big games this season, but none were bigger than the victory they picked up on Friday night.

The 11th-ranked Spartans went on the road and upset a team they hadn't beaten since 2011.

With a superb performance by their defense, East Ascension beat 10th-ranked Catholic, the defending district champion, and put themselves in the driver seat in league play.

With the victory, they simplified things for themselves. If they win their final two games, they will capture their first ever District 5-5A championship.

In the previous two seasons, East Ascension had lost to the Bears by a combined margin of 71-27. This included a 37-21 defeat last year.

Behind a defense that seems to get better with each game, the Spartans made sure history would not repeat itself in 2017.

Though, Catholic did take the opening lead.

Midway through the first quarter, the Bears put together an impressive drive that ended with a 44-yard field goal by Preston Stafford.

Then, the Catholic defense made a big play as Andrew Gauthier picked off East Ascension quarterback Jason Wakefield at the Spartan 43-yard line.

However, on the very next play, the Bears fumbled an exchange, and the Spartans' Derrick Smith quickly pounced on it.

The East Ascension offense made the best of the reprieve. They went on their most productive drive of the game.

They moved 57 yards in 11 plays and took a 6-3 lead after a six-yard touchdown hookup between Wakefield and receiver Shedrick Smith.

Catholic looked like they would either tie it or take the lead late in the half as they drove to the East Ascension 12-yard line, but the Spartan defense made a huge stand, turning the Bears over on downs.

Spartan defensive back Jacquann Mitchell also came away with an interception to ensure a 6-3 halftime lead for his team.

On East Ascension's opening drive of the second half, two-way star Jimel London once again provided a huge spark for the offense.

London broke free on a 44-yard run. This scamper set up a 44-yard field goal by Ryan Gremillion that extended the Spartans' lead to 9-3.

This lead carried over to the fourth quarter.

The Bears began drives in East Ascension territory on three separate occasions during the final period, but each time, the Spartan defense turned them away with no points.

The most crucial stop came in the waning moments of the game. Catholic drove inside the red zone with under a minute remaining.

On fourth and goal, they were forced to go for it. Mitchell batted the ball away from receiver Vernon Langley at the goal line with just 35 seconds left on the clock.

The huge stop gave East Ascension the ball and allowed them to churn out the victory.

The Spartans won, despite only producing 161 total yards. That's because their defense held Catholic to just 166 yards of total offense.

Bear quarterback Jackson Thomas was limited to just 7-15 passing for 65 yards. Beau Griffon led Catholic on the ground with 62 yards.

The East Ascension defense has only allowed one touchdown in the last nine quarters.

Wakefield completed 10 of 21 passes for East Ascension. The completions went for 87 yards and a score.

London led the way on the ground for the Spartans as he produced 62 yards on 10 carries.

The victory was the sixth straight for East Ascension as they improved to 7-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in district play.

Ever since getting off to an 0-6 start in 2016, the Spartans have gone 11-2.

East Ascension will try to remain in the top spot of the district this Friday night as they host 4-4 McKinley.