Sione Palelei injures knee in East Ascension’s win over Lutcher

East Ascension pulled out a road win to remain unbeaten but may have lost its star tailback Friday night.

The Spartans overcame an early 11-point deficit to an undermanned but game Lutcher squad by outscoring the Bulldogs 41-12 the rest of the way en route to a 44-26 victory.

The game turned on a second half-opening 89-yard TD return by East Ascension’s Chad Hill after Lutcher (1-4) had a 20-16 halftime edge.

But EAHS running back Sione Palelei, an LSU commitment, suffered what medical personnel called a knee injury at the 6:26 mark of the second quarter.

East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois said an MRI would likely be performed this weekend and that “it doesn’t look good.”

“We were making big plays in the first half, but we weren’t really consistent,” Bourgeois said. “I think the injury to (Palelei) had an effect at first. We needed something to happen, and the return got things going. The big thing is, Lutcher ... will always play hard. And we had to match that.”

Lutcher appeared poised to cut into a 30-20 EA lead when the defense recovered a fumble at the EAHS 11 with 2:38 left in the third. But Tanner Roussel’s field goal try was blocked. Hill struck again on the next possession for EA (5-0), taking in a 17-yard strike from Trahan to make it 37-20 with 11:19 to go.

The Lutcher offense got things off to a promising start. The Bulldogs took the game-opening kickoff at their 38-yard line and marched to the Spartan 11 in seven plays.

That set up Nick Bourgeois’ 11-yard TD run to put the home team ahead 7-0. Lutcher’s first three plays on the drive netted first downs, including a 17-yard reception and 10-yard run by Bourgeois.

EA took the ensuing kickoff and mounted its own sustained drive. The Spartans moved to the Bulldog 7 while heavily featuring the run.

Palelei received four of the first five touches for a combined 40 yards. But the drive stalled, leading to a 25-yard Adam Bosworth field goal that drew the Spartans within 7-3 at the 4:18 mark.

“I can’t ask my team to play any harder,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “We’ve battled through injuries and bad breaks. ... But take nothing away from EA. They’re the best team on our schedule.”

The Spartans scored the next 13 points, the first six coming in quick order as receiver Joshua Walker gallivanted 53 yards for a TD that made it 14-10 Lutcher with 11:27 left before the half.

After forcing a Lutcher punt, East Ascension took over at their own 33 and drove to the LHS 1 in 10 plays. The Bulldog defense stiffened for three plays before Walker ran off right guard into the end zone for a 16-14 lead. The extra point attempt was blocked.

Lutcher answered the EA run with what appeared to be a game-turning, 9-play, 57-yard drive capped by receiver Al’Dontrae Davis’ 5-yard TD grab from Matherne. The extra point failed, leaving Lutcher with a 20-16 advantage at the half.