East Ascension has district title in sights after emotional victory
“We turned one over and missed a late kick. Those will certainly be pointed at as big plays, but we had several other opportunities and just lost a close ball game.” David oliver, St. Amant coach
GONZALES – Football is a game of inches, and a precious few tilted East Ascension’s way in a 21-19 victory against arch-rival St. Amant on Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
Chad Hill scored three touchdowns, two on passes from Layne Trahan, and the Spartans survived a 30-yard missed St. Amant field-goal attempt with 47 seconds remaining to secure an emotional triumph.
“Right now, my heart is full for our community, our school and our kids,” EA coach Paul Bourgeois said. “They needed this for some good, positive reinforcement.”
The Spartans (8-1 overall, 3-1 District 5-5A) now face a winner-takes-at-least-a-title-share matchup with Catholic to close the regular season.
St. Amant (6-3, 2-2) nearly came all the way back from a 21-7 third-quarter deficit, but the Gators couldn’t overcome a blocked extra point, a fumble in the end zone, a two-point try that fell less than a yard short, and the errant, final-minute field-goal try.
“It was senior night for Chad Hill, and we won’t be sorry to see him leave,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “We turned one over and missed a late kick. Those will certainly be pointed at as big plays, but we had several other opportunities and just lost a close ball game.”
Tyler Dixon completed 20 of 30 passes for 198 yards and three TDs, two to Justin Duhon, for the Gators.
EA grabbed a 21-7 lead when Trahan found Hill, who had 109 receiving yards, near the left sideline of the end zone. Hill’s nifty tap-dance completed the 17-yard TD and Adam Bosworth added the extra point with 6:51 to go in the third quarter. St. Amant quickly responded to cut into the lead. A big 33-yard catch-and-run by Evan Matheny moved the Gators to the EA 9.
Three plays later, Trahan hit Matheny on a quick-timed out pattern near the left sideline. Matheny scampered across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown as the Gators pulled within 21-13 with 4:47 to play in the third quarter.
But the extra-point kick was blocked in an ominous precursor of what would haunt the St. Amant special teams in the fourth quarter.
Defense kept St. Amant in the game by producing an interception and holding EA to one first down after the midway point of the third quarter.
Dixon’s crisp 29-yard pass to Duhon on an inside route with 4:52 remaining sliced EA’s edge to 21-19.
But again, the Gators were on the short end of the stick when EA’s defense kept the ball, if not Marquise Hampton’s feet, out of the end zone on the two-point conversion.
The close finish was bookended by a scoreless first quarter. On the first play of the second period, Trahan launched a pass to Hill, who caught the ball of a deflection by a leaping St. Amant defensive back and raced to the end zone with a 44-yard touchdown.
EA built its lead to 14-0 on Hill’s 30-yard run off a reverse with 5:40 to play before halftime.
St. Amant jumped back into the game with a big special-teams play just before the 2-minute mark of the first half.
Jonavon Lewis’ 53-yard punt return gave the Gators the ball at the East Ascension 3. Three plays later, Dixon hit Duhon for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Trey Belleu’s PAT pulled the Gators within 14-7 with 1:21 to go in the first half.