East St. John junior wide receiver
Deszman Broussard knew this was going to be a big game, and reminded himself
that he had to “do what a player’s got to do.”
He did just that, scoring all three
of the Wildcats’ touchdowns against John Curtis, two on spectacular plays.
Despite Broussard’s individual heroics, East St. John fell short to John
Curtis, losing a highlight-filled game 27-18 Friday night at Joe Keller Stadium
“The difference in this game?” East
St. John coach Phillip Banko repeated when asked that question following the
Wildcats second loss in three games to start the season. “Third down. They
converted and we didn’t.”
Both teams exchanged first-half
touchdowns, the Wildcats scoring on a Darion Monroe 6-yard touchdown pass to
Broussard, while Monroe’s counterpart, Patrick Morton, scored on a 1-yard run
leading to a 6-6 halftime score.
It didn’t take long for the big
plays to unfold in the second half. Broussard fielded the opening kick at the ESJ
9-yard line, cut back to the near sideline, then exploded past the Patriots’ coverage
unit on his way to a 91-yard touchdown return.
“My teammates always told me, ‘Dez,
run behind me, it’s always open,’” said Broussard. “I put that in my mind and I
never gave up, and I read it.”
The extra point was no good, but
East St. John’s 12-6 lead caught the attention of the Patriots. “It got tight,
I can tell you that,” said John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis. “But I’m glad we
And did they ever. After converting
a fourth down on a fake punt, John Curtis got a 16-yard run Morton that put the
Patriots at the East St. John 1-yard line. On the next play Morton again kept
it, and scored the tying touchdown. As impressive as his runs were, Morton’s
next play was every bit as important. On the extra point Morton latched on to a
high snap, and placed it down just in time for kicker Austin Linden to convert
the go-ahead extra point as John Curtis took a 13-12 lead with 8:46 remaining
in the third quarter.
Although East St. John came up with
four John Curtis turnovers, it was one of its own that led to the next score.
On a third-and-10, Monroe rolled to his right and fired a pass intended for
Marcus Robinson, but Curtis defensive back Brandon Porter stepped in front of
the pass, picking it off in stride and returning it 30 yards to the Wildcats’
Two plays later, again it was Morton
calling his own number scoring from a yard out and the Patriots had built a
20-12 lead with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
Turnovers, penalties, and big plays
dominated play in the fourth quarter, and it was East St. John capitalizing on
a Patriots turnover that led to the next score. Wildcats defensive lineman
Jared Campbell forced Morton to fumble, and ESJ linebacker Justin Anderson had
the ball when the pile was uncovered.
It appeared that the East St. John
drive had faltered at the John Curtis 42, but Banko went for it on fourth-and-13,
and he’s glad he did. Monroe rolled to his right, bought some extra time, then
unleashed a high-arcing pass toward the nearside front corner of the end zone.
Broussard timed his jump perfectly, leaped over the Curtis defender land atched
on to the ball as his momentum carried him past the goal line for a spectacular
“They told me to do a basic route,”
said Broussard. “But I converted to the defensive coverage.
A penalty pushed the Wildcats back
for the potential game-tying two-point conversion, and Curtis defensive back
Leonard Davis deflected a Monroe pass just in front of Broussard in the end
zone and John Curtis still led 20-18 with 7:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It stayed that way until John Curtis
delivered the final blow on another big play when Sherman Badie took a handoff,
bounced off right tackle, and exploded past the Wildcats’ defense on his way to
a 65-yard touchdown run. The kick was good and it was now a two-possession game
with John Curtis leading 27-18 with 6:42 left in regulation.
The Wildcats didn’t threaten again,
and the Patriots ran out the clock, defeating East St. John 27-18.
After the game, there were some
emotional moments for Banko, who served as a defensive line coach for Curtis
“Its family, that’s all I can tell
you,” said an emotional Banko after sharing hugs and warm embraces with many former
fellow assistant Curtis assistant coaches, and even with J.T. Curtis himself.
“J.T. and his family are like my family. They made us better.”
It was clear that the respect was
“Phil and I go back along way,” said
J.T. Curtis. “I’m proud of the job he’s doing here. You can see the improvement
from his team from Carencro in the first game (35-7 loss) to now, and that’s
the mark of good coaching. They’ve done a great job at coaching to
get their team to improve. They’ve also done a great job at featuring No. 6
(Monroe). I’ll tell you, (Monroe) is a heck of a player.”
Monroe was 17 of 27 passing for 223 yards, with
two touchdowns. Broussard had nine receptions for 148 yards and two
touchdown catches to go along with his 91-yard kickoff return touchdown.