Big third quarter lifts Gators past Bulldogs

Kyle Riviere
The Gators celebrate after a Reggie Sims touchdown run that contributed to their 39-14 win over Lutcher. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

St. Amant was their own worst enemy in the first half of their home contest against Lutcher. Costly penalties stalled promising drives, and though they controlled the game, they only led by five at halftime.

Lutcher made them pay at the start of the second half by scoring on their opening possession to take a 15-14 lead.

That score seemed to wake a sleeping giant.

The Gators responded by reeling off 22 points in the span of just three minutes. This onslaught stunned Lutcher, and they could never recover.

St. Amant scored the final 25 points of the game and cruised to a 39-15 victory.

"I thought that stretch in the third quarter was huge for us," Gator head coach David Oliver said. "We had a halftime lead. Our defense made a stop, we scored and then we were able to pull away. We were behind for a second there, but the way we were able to respond was just unbelievable.

"Reese Nelson had some huge plays on defense. Javin Augillard kept his poise and was really good for us on offense. It was just a great team win for the Gators."

Last season, Lutcher brought down the Gators at home. It was their first win in the rivalry since the two teams began playing each other regularly in 2013.

St. Amant tried to make that a distant memory early on as they marched 52 yards on their second offensive possession. Reggie Sims finished off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Cole Poirrier was good on the two-point try to make it an 8-0 ballgame.

Lutcher responded at the end of the first quarter as they moved 61 yards in just four plays. A five-yard touchdown run by quarterback Mekhi Patterson cut it to 8-6.

In the second, a promising Gator drive that reached the Lutcher 4 was hampered by a personal foul call. It forced St. Amant to settle for a 32-yard Poirrier field goal.

Later, another drive that went into the Bulldog red zone was derailed by a holding call. Again, St. Amant settled for a field goal--this one was a 42-yarder by Poirrier to give St. Amant a 14-9 halftime lead.

On Lutcher's opening drive of the second half, they moved 80 yards in just five plays. They took their first lead of the game with a touchdown connection between Patterson and Jacoby Williams.

Down 15-14, the Gators put together their own 80-yard drive. This one ended with an 11-yard touchdown run by Sims. They also converted the two-point try to take a 22-15 lead.

After forcing a quick three-and-out, the Gators got the ball at Lutcher's 30-yard line. On their first play, Sims broke loose up the middle for a score.

St. Amant then forced another three-and-out and took over at the Bulldog 48. On their first play, Poirrier hit Austin Bascom on a slant for a 48-yard score, completing a stretch of three touchdowns on three straight offensive snaps for St. Amant.

Up 36-15, Poirrier added a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to ice away a 39-15 victory for the Gators.

"It was penalties and bad execution that hurt us in the first half. We cleaned some of that stuff up in the second half and came out with the win," Oliver said.

With running back Lathan Vaughn out of action for the game, Sims was depended upon to carry the load on the ground. He did just that, rushing for 129 yards and three scores on 23 carries.

"He did a great job for us on the ground, and I thought the offensive line deserves a lot of credit too," Oliver said. "Reggie has had a great season coming off of a torn ACL, and he has become a big part of our football team."

Poirrier completed 12 of 18 passes for 191 yards and a score. Bascom caught five balls for 114 yards and a touchdown, while Augillard made eight grabs for 89 yards.

The win improved St. Amant to 3-2 overall. They'll now begin district play this week with a home game against McKinley.