East St. John coach Phillip Banko welcomed a break from playing ranked teams with a 41-20 victory against Capitol (1-4) on Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.
After losing to John Curtis and Parkview Baptist in consecutive weeks, the Wildcats (1-3) picked up their first win of the season.
ESJ racked up 342 yards, and quarterback Leonard Davis had four touchdowns — three passing, one running — in the victory for ESJ. Davis completed 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards, with Troy Gerard leading with 81 receiving yards.
Dez Broussard added 51 yards receiving, and running back Kadeem Vance ran for 59 yards and added 30 yards receiving.
“We established the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Banko said. “It’s great to get the win. It’s what we wanted. We wanted to get ready for district.”
Capitol quarterback Anthony Thomas completed 12 of 23 passes for 159 yards with two touchdowns passing and another rushing. Running back Jamar Robertson had 69 total yards.
“We play these 5A schools, and we have to go out and fight,” said Capitol coach Damieon Mills. “That’s what our kids did. They did an outstanding job of finishing the game.”
Davis needed one play to make his mark in the game. He found Gerard on the first offensive play, for a 53-yard reception down the left sideline. Davis scored two plays later on a quarterback sneak.
Following a Capitol three-and-out, ESJ mounted a seven-play, 59-yard drive, culminating in a 31-yard touchdown run by Nigel Anderson, who also had a 13-yard carry on the drive.
Davis threw his first touchdown pass on the next Wildcats possession. At the Capitol 38-yard line, Davis recovered a fumbled snap, scrambled in the pocket, then found Dez Broussard wide open in the end zone to put ESJ ahead 20-0 in the waning minutes of the first quarter.
ESJ kicker Marshal Robel missed a 26-yard field goal attempt on the next possession, but a 26-yard punt return by Amani Martin set up the Wildcats at the Capitol 13-yard line. ESJ scored on the next play on a pass from Davis to Jared Jackson.
ESJ boosted its lead to 34-0 with Davis’ third touchdown pass of the half — a 7-yarder to Gerard.
“He’s exploding every week as a quarterback,” Banko said. “He’s growing. He’s been doing what he’s done the last three weeks. We just hadn’t won.”
Capitol got on the scoreboard shortly before the end of the half with an 11-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. Thomas scrambled into the end zone from 15 yards out. He also completed four passes on the drive for 58 yards.
“He’s a first-year kid,” Mills said. “He didn’t get any time last year. I think he grew up a little bit.”
ESJ opened the second half much like it did the first. The Wildcats forced a Capitol three-and-out, then mounted a seven-play, 53-yard drive to jump ahead 41-6 midway through the third quarter. Vance scored from 11-yards out on an option run.
Capitol tacked on two more scores in the fourth quarter. Davis converted two third downs passing, then found James Miskell for a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to cut the deficit to 41-14.
The Lions then recovered an onside kick and drove 54 yards for a touchdown. Davis converted another third down on the drive, this time a 36-yard screen pass to Robertson, who caught the 4-yard touchdown pass later in the possession.
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