DUTCHTOWN — All year long St. Amant High had its way with opponents by winning the crucial turnover battle. The Gators met their match Friday night.
Dutchtown High parlayed two third-quarter turnovers into touchdowns on the way to a 31-17 victory over St. Amant in a District 5-5A opener played at DHS.
“You’ve got to give them (Dutchtown) a lot of credit,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “They’re well-coached, they’re physical. I’d have to say those two mistakes we made in the second half were the difference.
“Usually, in games like this the team that has the fewest turnovers wins. We made the mistakes, and they didn’t have any (turnovers).”
The score was tied at 10-10 at halftime. Big plays were not plentiful.
But that changed in the third period. Alex Thibodeaux recovered a fumble to set up one TD and Tevin Reed returned an interception 41 yards for another for the seventh-ranked Griffins (4-1, 1-0). It was the first loss for St. Amant (4-1, 0-1).
In between, Torrance Mosley scored on a 40-yard run that gave DHS an overwhelming 31-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Mason Nickens ran for 115 yards on 17 carries and scored one TD for the winners. Nickens also passed for 55 yards.
Mosley added 58 yards on seven carries for DHS. Trey Washington led St. Amant with 78 yards on 16 carries. Washington also caught seven passes for 73 yards.
“At halftime we told them (DHS team) this was what we expected,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “St. Amant was unbeaten, and they were coming in here after us.
“We won the turnover battle, and I thought that was the difference. And it was a total team effort.”
Dutchtown drove 65 yards to score on its first possession. A 22-yard run by Nickens was the biggest play in the methodical 11-play drive. Nickens did the honors, scoring on a 1-yard run up the middle with 3:46 left in the first quarter. Serrazin’s point-after kick gave the Griffins a 7-0 lead.
“We knew St. Amant wanted to keep the ball away from us,” Nickens said. “We knew we needed to make every play count. I tried to get as many yards as I could on every play.”
St. Amant countered. The Gators marched 80 yards, mixing running and passing plays. Two encroachment penalties against Dutchtown also helped SAHS.
Washington caught a 10-yard pass and also had a 9-yard run on the drive. But the biggest play came on third-and-9 at the DHS 15. Backup quarterback Tyler Dixon took the shotgun snap and lofted the ball just beyond the outstretched arms of two Griffins defenders. Ryan Cardinale caught the pass in the end zone. Trey Belleu’s PAT tied it at 7-7 with 10:36 to go in the half.
A 24-yard punt return by Kirk Elisar put St. Amant in position to take the lead a little more than three minutes later. The Gators drove from midfield to the DHS 16 before their drive stalled. Belleu booted a 30-yard field goal, giving St. Amant a 10-7 with 4:24 remaining in the half.
Dutchtown used up the remainder of the clock. The Griffins drove from their 16 to the SAHS 11. A 20-yard pass from Nickens to Torrance Mosley was the biggest play in the game. The Griffins got a boost a late hit penalty against St. Amant. Serrazin tied it at 10-10 with a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
The Griffins scored on their second possession of the third quarter after a 19-yard St. Amant punt. Nickens busted a 16-yard run up the middle, setting up a 9-yard TD run by Austen Brown. The second of four Serrazin PATs made it 17-10 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
Six plays later, Thibodeaux pounced on a St. Amant fumble near midfield, setting up Mosley’s 40-yard run on fourth-and-1. Suddenly, the Griffins led 24-10 with just 54 seconds remaining.
There was time for one more big play, however. Reed intercepted a Beau Nickel pass and raced down the SAHS sideline to the end zone, making it 31-10.
The Gators scored once more on a 2-yard run by Cody Raffray and just missed converting an onside kick. Ultimately, Dutchtown’s lead was too big to overcome.
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