At the end of the third quarter Friday, Jewel Sumner had six first downs and five touchdowns.
The Cowboys handed St. Michael the Archangel its first loss of the season, 34-17 at Louisiana Leadership Academy’s Doug Williams Stadium, but they didn’t win with long, methodical drives.
Jewel Sumner won by converting turnovers into points. One Warriors punt was blocked, and another one returned 40 yards by LSU commitment Jeremy Cutrer. Those types of plays led to huge momentum swings, allowing Sumner (2-2) to pile up points without sustaining a long drive until the fourth quarter.
“In my four years here, I’ve never been dominated like that on special teams,” St. Michael coach Eric Held said. “I didn’t do a good enough job preparing our team — and give them credit; they did a great job.”
Also notable was the defense of Jewel Sumner (2-2), a growing Class 3A school that was perhaps overlooked after tough losses to Class 1A No. 3-ranked Kentwood and Mandeville, a Class 5A semifinalist last season.
Playing against a usually high-powered St. Michael offense, the Cowboys intercepted quarterback Brandon Fields three times, sacking him six times and holding St. Michael to 203 yards.
“When we looked at them on film, we saw nobody had really gotten physical with them,” Jewel Sumner coach Zephaniah Powell said. “That’s what we wanted to do with them.”
It worked. Fields never got comfortable in the pocket, and Sumner was prepared for a short-passing package St. Michael tried early, turning two screens into losses. Fields completed 10 of 25 passes for 119 yards, but most of his yards came in the fourth quarter after the Cowboys built a big lead.
“They had a great scheme,” Held said. “They outschemed us. I take full responsibility.”
An interception of Fields by linebacker Tony Wooldridge on the game’s first play set the tone. The Cowboys took advantage with a 5-yard touchdown run by Freddie Moreno, who pushed a pile the last 3 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Sumner upped the lead to 14-0 when Brandon Jynes blocked a Christopher Reid punt and recovered it in the end zone.
St. Michael responded with an 11-play, 55-yard touchdown drive capped by an 8-yard toudhown by C.J. Okpalobi, who had 80 rushing yards on 20 carries.
But Jewel Sumner answered with a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rhett Travis to Brian James. Then, after Okpalobi lost a muffed punt, Travis hit James for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it a 28-7 game with 7:32 left in the first half.
The two touchdowns were the only completions of the game for Travis.
Jewel Sumner took a 28-10 lead to halftime. Sumner was quiet on offense in the third quarter, but used Jeremy Cutrer’s 40-yard punt return to set up Travis’ 1-yard touchdown run, upping the lead to 34-10.
Cutrer, a senior safety who was one of LSU’s earliest commitments for 2013, later added an interception and a 50-yard return that helped ice the game to the delight of the visiting crowd and LSU coach Les Miles, who was in attendance.
“I think LSU saw what kind of things he can do for them,” Powell said. “We moved him around. He played some corner, some safety, even some linebacker and we got him in at (wildcat) quarterback. I think they saw the kind of player they are getting.”
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved