Penalties pile up, but St. Amant still tops John Ehret

ST. AMANT — After a chippy first half, St. Amant settled down and took over the second half for a 31-16 victory against John Ehret in a Class 5A nondistrict matchup Friday night at The Pit.

Quarterback Tyler Dixon rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Gators (4-1) notched their fourth consecutive victory. St. Amant overcame 11 first-half penalties totaling 110 yards.

“We tell our kids you either control your emotions or your emotions control you,” said St. Amant coach David Oliver, who chided himself for picking up a 15-yard penalty in the second quarter. “Once we started focusing on the things we could control, things took care of themselves.”

Quarterback Theron Williams rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and Arizona State commitment Darrel Williams ran for 75 yards and a score for John Ehret (3-2).

But Patriots coach Corey Lambert expressed disappointment in his team’s passing game.

“We just didn’t finish strong,” Lambert said. “Quarterback play, we’ve got to get better with those guys. We can’t make those mistakes.”

St. Amant led 17-16 at halftime, and the Gators defense held strong in the second half.

On the other side, St. Amant’s offensive line opened up holes for its running game, especially in the second half. The Gators rushed for 249 yards.

Dixon dragged several tacklers into the end zone to complete a 14-yard TD run as St. Amant took a 24-16 lead with 3:34 to go in the third quarter.

The Gators got breathing room early in the fourth. A leaping 23-yard reception by Evan Matheny led to Cody Raffray’s 1-yard run and a 31-16 lead for St. Amant with 8:46 to play.

St. Amant never trailed. The Gators scored first on Trey Belleu’s 38-yard field goal with 7:28 to go in the first. Dixon’s 47-yard pass to Marquise Hampton put St. Amant ahead 10-0 with 5:32 left in the period.

Ehret got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter, helped in part because of three penalties worth 44 yards against St. Amant after an apparent Gator interception.

The play was ruled pass interference, and St. Amant was hit with two more personal fouls.

On the next play, Theron Williams rushed 14 yards for a TD. On the PAT, holder Taris Shanell caught a high snap and rolled right into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.

That bit of wackiness helped Ehret cut St. Amant’s lead to 10-8 with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

Dixon raced through an open hole for a 26-yard TD as the Gators went up 17-8 with 8:52 to go in the first half.

Ehret shook off a personal-foul penalty on the ensuing kickoff that knocked the Patriots back to the 10. Williams’ 2-yard run capped a 90-yard drive aided by two more 15-yard penalties against St. Amant.